If, like many expats living in Thailand you are considering buying a car, then it is very important to understand not just the road and driving laws of Thailand, but also the legal and financial ramifications if you unfortunately end up in any form of accident. Whether a small fender bender, or something more serious it is vital that you know your legal rights.
Car Insurance in Thailand
From the most basic CTPL (Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance) to the most comprehensive and expensive insurance there is a huge difference in costs. The average annual costs of CTPL are around 650 baht. Level 1 insurance on the other-hand is a staggering 18,000 baht, on average.
We strongly recommend that you stay clear of basic protection. Usually used by the lower income Thais, often with old cars this type of insurance just ensures they can drive legally. Yet, if they do have any accidents they will have to cover most medical and repair bills by themselves.
The most comprehensive option though is a huge step up in price, and when you consider that it only covers a little extra than the second tier option you may find that the extra cost (over double the price) may not be worth it.
Level 2 car insurance covers:
- 3rd party vehicle damage
- 3rd party injury costs
- Fire / flood / terrorism
- Medical expenses of you, your passengers and others involved in the accident
- The cost of repairs (To a limit)
- Collision cover (L2+ only)
- (It does not cover accidents where others are not involved)
Level 2 Car Insurance Costs
There are two types of level 2 insurance which you can find here: ประกันชั้น2. L2 and L2+ There is relatively little difference in price, and L2+ insurance covers collisions, where standard L2 does not. For this reason we would highly recommend L2+.
The average level 2+ car insurance costs are around 6,500 baht a year, compared to the vastly more expensive level 1 insurance which is, on average, around 18,000 baht a year!
So what are you getting for this extra money?
The main difference is that level 1 insurance covers self-accidents. That’s where you have been involved in an accident where there were no other people involved. For example, reversing into a wall or veering into a ditch.
So what insurance should you choose?
I think to begin with you have got to decide what is best for you? Are you happy paying over double the costs just to cover self-accidents? If so, then maybe you should go with L1 and have that peace of mind. I though believe that the extra costs are not worth upgrading, and the L2+ cover is enough for my financial means. I consider myself a careful driver and imagine if I do get into any self-accidents they will be of minimal damage and a lot cheaper to fix than the L1 fees.
What I said above is entirely my own personal view and it is very important that you feel happy with the insurance you decide to go for. Level 2 car insurance does offer a huge discount in annual fees and still has extensive legal cover on top of the medical and repair expenses it covers. For any cheap to mid-priced car I would highly recommend it, but if you do have an expensive car where the costs of any minor repairs can be expensive than you may want to consider the full L1 option.