If you are currently enjoying life in the Royal Kingdom of Thailand and are thinking about investing in a car to help you get around this beautiful country, there are certain procedures you must go through when buying any motor vehicle. Being in a non-English speaking country can make life difficult. In Thailand, when you get outside of tourist areas, the majority of Thais do not have a good command of the English language and this can cause problems when doing things like registering a vehicle with the Department of Land & Transport.
If you buy a brand-new vehicle, you won’t have to concern yourself with vehicle registration. The car is given a set of temporary red plates owned by the dealership, which allows you to drive (until 7pm) until your new registration plates arrive. If you buy the car on finance, it actually belongs to the lender until the loan is paid off, so they handle the registration, while they also insist that the vehicle has Class 1 insurance.
If you buy a used car from a citizen, you have to meet them at the local Land & Transport Office, where you will both sign the vehicle log book. There is a small fee which is usually split 50-50 by buyer and seller. Once the log book (green book) has been stamped by the officer, the vehicle now belongs to you and you must keep the green book in a safe place.
Of course, by law you must have at least Class 3 insurance or ประกันรถยนต์ 3. For the best value for money, offers you many benefits, such as the following:
- Own Vehicle Cover – Typically, Class 3 insurance only covers 3rd party vehicles, yet Class 3+ does cover the policyholder’s vehicle, up to an agreed amount.
- Driver/Passenger Medical Costs – In the event you or any passenger requires medical attention, the 3+ policy covers such costs.
- Prolonged Medical Expenses – In the event you or a passenger suffers permanent disability, they will be covered as stated in the terms & conditions. It is always advisable to read the terms and conditions of any insurance policy carefully before making a commitment.
- Bail Cover – If there is loss of life due to an accident you are involved in, it becomes a criminal investigation and in Thailand, the driver might be held in custody until the court hearing. Crazy as it might sound, that is the way of things here in the Land of Smiles. With 3+ car insurance, you are covered for any bail surety in the event of a criminal investigation.
If you are buying a second-hand car, you are advised to bring someone who speaks Thai when you go to meet the seller at the Land & Transport Office. If you are buying a new car, the dealership will handle everything and most dealers offer free 12-month Class 1 insurance on all cars on their forecourt.