Today I picked up my car insurance, which is not as easy as it sounds! In the UK its relatively easy to get quotes in a few minutes even without having to leave the comfort of your own home. You can just log on to any of the car insurance websites and get a quote by simply putting in your number plate and they’ll send you a quote.
In Thailand I don’t think there is an option to ensure your car online, what I normally do is to get one of my Thai friend phone up some insurance companies to see gives the best quote. This time was the same, I got my good friend Joy from to call up a few places and also retrieve a quote from the previous insurer. I think I must have got some no claims discount from the previous insurer as it came in with a really good price. I think it’s advisable for a foreigner to get Thai person to help them in setting the coverage up as a lot of the insurance companies have people who can speak English but not really that many as they cater mainly to Thais.
As crazy as it may sound the collection of the money for the insurance is not done by a bank or by cheque it was actually done by courier. The courier did not speak English and did not know where my house was so we had to arrange to meet somewhere else. When he called he told me it was at the 7-Eleven in my district. Now there are literally thousands of 7-Eleven’s in Thailand and also several shops near my area. So I had to find out which one he was at first one I went to could not see anybody waiting there who look like they worked for insurance company. I called the number that he called me on and it turns out that he was not at the same 7-Eleven is me. I used my limited Thai to try and get a landmark near his 7-Eleven I found out that he was at a 7-Eleven which had a bridge nearby. Okay I think I know where he is! I drove over to the next 7-Eleven and he was not there again.
I eventually found the courier by passing my telephone to a guy who spoke Thai and I got him to describe where I was. Another point in the story is that the guy who had passed the phone to was a tarot card reader (I saw a pack of cards he had) and he gave me a flyer for having my fortune read! I may do at a later stage if I can get one of my time friends to come and interpret what he’s saying.
So anyway I managed to get the insurance documents from the courier and paid a deposit of 3000 baht then he passed me an envelope and I carried on to my home. In the envelope he also left me with some discount vouchers to various places in Bangkok such as medical check-ups, car cleaning centres and hotels. This is standard as I got the same bonuses last year when I got my insurance then.
So in the end I got my insurance documents for another year and the total cost of buying the insurance with deposit will be 11,800b, this is for first-class insurance for a 2005 1.5cc Honda Jazz. I think this is much cheaper than buying insurance in the UK as I’ve just done an online quote the same car with no, no claims bonus discounts (as I have let my no claims discounts expire now) and the total cost the same policy which is fully comprehensive in the UK was the equivalent of 19,500 bhat. When you take into consideration that petrol is also much cheaper in Thailand at 82p a liter with the UK coming in at 140 p per liter you can guess that motoring is much cheaper here. Other factors to take into consideration are car tax which I also bought this week and it cost me around about 2500 bhat compared to the UK which can be up to 21000 bhat a year. Getting a car serviced here is also much cheaper as well because labor is less expensive than the UK. The major difference between Thailand and the UK is the cost of purchasing a car that is about three times more expensive in Thailand to purchase the same car.
Overall I would suggest buying a car in Thailand even though most foreigners end up with a motorbike I know of several people who’ve died on motorbikes, I myself fell off three times the space of one year one accident is pretty bad it was not so bad it still made me decide to buy a car. If you are considering living in Thailand would definitely recommend purchasing a car as it is so much safer than riding a bike.