What to Do if You Have a Car Accident in Thailand

What to Do if You Have a Car Accident in Thailand

Car accidents happen every day and everywhere in Thailand. 

This is because the traffic in the country, especially in city areas, is quite heavy at all times. There are also reckless drivers everywhere you go and not enough police officers to enforce the driving laws.

By the end of the guide, you’ll know how to handle a car accident in Thailand should you ever have one, including what to do and what NEVER to do at the scene of an accident, how to deal with other parties involved, and how to make a claim. 

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Key Takeaways

  • When you have a car accident in Thailand, calling an insurance agent should be your first step.
  • Do not move your car unless it’s necessary.
  • You may not need to call the police unless there are fatalities or deaths.
  • Call an ambulance at 1169 if someone is hurt or deceased. It’s free.
  • Car insurance and a dash cam can save you a lot of headaches when dealing with an accident.
  • If you are injured in an accident, regardless of whether you have insurance, you can claim up to 30,000 baht from Por Ror Bor. This is essentially compulsory third-party liability insurance. Every car and motorcycle in Thailand must have it.

What to Do at the Scene of the Accident

At the accident scene, here’s what you need to do: 

  • Never flee the scene.
  • Never argue with the other party about who was at fault.
  • If you get into an accident while driving a rental car, contact the rental car company immediately. 
  • If you have car insurance, contact your insurance company immediately.
  • Don’t move your car until the insurance agents arrive.
  • If you have a dash cam, don’t turn off your car unless it’s an emergency. Let the dash cam record everything.
  • Turn on your car’s emergency lights.
  • If it’s safe to do so, take photos of every part of your car, especially in any damaged areas. 
  • Exchange contact details with the other driver(s). 
  • Wait for the insurance agents.
car accident in Thailand
When you have a car accident in Thailand either big on small, turn on your car’s emergency lights, keep your dash camp on, and call an insurance agent.

Calling for Help: Ambulance and Police

If you’re involved in an accident and either you or someone else is hurt or deceased, someone should call an ambulance and the police right away.

  • You can reach an ambulance at 1669. 
  • You can reach the police at 191.
  • You can reach the tourist police at 1155.

Never move a seriously injured person because it might worsen his or her condition. 

Most times, witnesses will call an ambulance or traffic police on your behalf. This is what happened with one of our contributors when he had a motorcycle accident in Thailand

Documents

After you’ve had an accident, the only document you need to show is your international driving permit or Thai driving license and perhaps your passport.  

Contacting Your Insurance Company 

Thai car insurance companies might not always have English support available. So, if you have someone who can speak Thai with you, it’s better to ask that person to contact the insurance company for you. In either case, when you contact your insurance company be prepared to give the rep the following info:

  • Your car’s registration number (to check whether you’re insured with them)
  • Whether you were driving
  • The location of the accident 
  • A summary of the accident 

After you contact the insurance company, an agent should arrive on the scene within 15 to 30 minutes.  

Dealing with Insurance Agents

When your insurance agent arrives, all you have to do is wait and let the agent take care of everything, including communicating with other parties.

  • Gather information: The agent will ask for all the information about the accident and talk to all parties involved. 
  • Check for damage: The agent will walk you around your car, check for damage, and take photos.
  • Make a summary: The agent will ask you for a detailed explanation of the accident and possibly record your voice in this process. 
  • Issue a claim form: The agent will list the cause of the accident and any damage to your car on a form and give you a copy of the form so that you can make a claim later on.
Thailand car insurance claim form
You will get this claim form from an insurance agent. Keep it safe since you will need it when making a claim.

Do You Have to Call the Police? 

In most cases, you don’t have to call the police because the insurance agent will handle everything. But you do need to call the police if there were any fatalities or someone has been injured due to the accident.

Do You Have to File a Police Report? 

This depends. You have to go to the police station in the area of the accident and file a police report if:

  • No one at the scene of the accident admits fault
  • There’s a hit and run 
  • You want to make a claim for medical expense through Por Ror Bor 
  • Both you and other party doesn’t have car insurance 

When you go to a police station, bring someone who can speak Thai with you. If possible, bring an insurance agent with you as well. 

What if You Don’t Have Car Insurance? 

If you don’t have car insurance, you have to sort everything out yourself with the other party involved. There are two paths you can take, depending on if the other party has car insurance or not. 

If the other party has car insurance:

  • Other party admits fault: If the other party admits fault for the accident, you can get a claim form from the other party’s insurance agent and make a claim later. 
  • You admit fault: If you caused the accident, the other party’s insurance agent sends you a list of damages at a later time. Depending on the situation, you might be able to negotiate for a lower cost. Either way, if you don’t pay you will probably be sued. 
reckless rider in Bangkok
There are many careless drivers in Thailand. It’s better to have at least Type 3 car insurance to help you if you have a car accident.

If the other party also doesn’t have car insurance:

  • Both parties agree who was at fault: If you and the other party involved agree about who was at fault at the scene of the accident, the party at fault can pay for damages on the spot and go on your way.
  • Neither party agrees who was at fault: If you and the other party can’t agree as to who was at fault, you need to go to the nearest police station and resolve the matter.

As you can see, if you don’t have car insurance it’s going to complicate everything, especially if you can’t speak Thai.

So, many people opt to get at least Type 3 car insurance. It costs only a few thousand baht per year and can save you a lot of money and headaches if you have a car accident in Thailand. 

What if the Other Party Flees the Scene? 

If the other party flees the scene, you have to go to the nearest police station and file a police report. If you have a dash cam that recorded the accident, show it to the police officer. If not, you have to find a nearby CCTV that (hopefully) recorded the accident. 

Emergency Numbers in Thailand

Here’s a list of useful emergency number when having a car accident in Thailand:

ServiceTelephone Number
Ambulance1669
Police191
Traffic Police1155
Viriyah Insurance1557
Dhipaya Insurance (TIP)1736
Bangkok Insurance1620
AXA Insurance02-118-8111
Muang Thai Insurance1484
Syn Mun Kong Insurance (SMK)1596
Roojai02-582-8844
Thanachart Insurance02-662-8999
Tokio Marine Insurance0-2257-8080

How to Make an Insurance Claim

Claims are usually separated into two parts: damage to property and medical expenses. 

Damage to Property

To make a claim for damage to your vehicle, you have to go to a mechanic in the car insurance’s network. You can find out who’s in their network by contacting the insurance company or asking the mechanic that you’re planning to go to.

Some insurance companies list who’s in their network on their websites. However, based on my experience, it’s not always up to date. 

When you find a mechanic, you have to submit the following documents to get your car repaired:

  • Claim form
  • Signed copy of your passport
  • Signed copy of your Thai driving license 
  • Copy of your bank account book
  • Copy of your car insurance policy 

Depending on the damage, it takes anywhere from a few days to a few months to get your car fixed. 

a tree falling on a motorcycle
If you have an accident like this, when a tree falling on your scooter, your first step is also to call an insurance agent.

Also during this time, the mechanic will list all of the damages and send them to your insurance company for approval. If the mechanic finds additional damages during the repair process, they will be fixed as well. 

Medical Expenses

If you’re injured in the accident and have to make medical claims, you have three choices:

  • Por Ror Bor
  • Car insurance
  • Health insurance

Let’s take a look at each option in more detail.

Por Ror Bor

Por Ror Bor is a compulsory third-party liability insurance in Thailand. All cars in the country must have Por Ror Bor. 

You can make a claim for medical expenses for up to THB30,000 right away, even if you don’t have a driver’s license or caused the accident.

To claim Por Ror Bor, you need a police report and a medical receipt.

Read more: Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance (Por Ror Bor)

Car Insurance

If you have car insurance, you can also contact your insurance company to claim for medical expenses. But this depends on your plan. 

Your car insurance company will ask you for the same documents you need when filing through Por Ror Bor. 

Read more: Car Insurance in Thailand: A Complete Buying Guide

Health Insurance

If you have health or travel insurance, it’s the most convenient way to make medical claims because you only have to send the medical bill to your insurance company. 

If you go to a hospital that’s partnered with your insurance company, then your insurance company will pay the hospital directly. 

Read more: Health Insurance in Thailand: What You Need to Know as an Expat

Daily Allowance 

You can claim a daily allowance of upto 500 baht per day while your car is being repaired at the garage if

  • You are not the cause of an accident
  • The other party has any type of car insurance
daily allowance claim form in Thailand
Once your claim is approved, the insurance company will send you a daily allowance claim form. You just need to enter your name and sign it.

To get a daily allowance, here’s what you need to do:

  • Tell the garage that you want to claim for a daily allowance. Once your car is fixed, they will give you all of the document you need to make a daily allowance claim
  • After that, contact a claim department of the other party’s insurance company saying that you want to claim for daily allowance and attach the following documents:
    • Document for the garage that list out all of the damage and repairing durations
    • Claim form you get from the opposing insurance company after the accident
    • Signed copy of your passport
    • Signed copy of your Thai driving license 
    • Copy of your car registration book
    • Copy of your bank account book

After that, the opposing insurance company should contact you within 5-7 business days to negotiate the amont they need to pay you. If they don’t, contact them again. 

Once everything is agreed, they will send you a daily allowance claim form. The form is going to be in Thai most of the time. Ask your Thai friend to fill in the form. After that, sign and send it back to them. 

How’s About the Knock-for-Knock Agreement? 

The knock-for-knock agreement is a convenient way that allows both parties to leave the accident wihtout having to wait for an insurance agent. 

However, it’s not that popular in Thailand since it only works if 

  • Both parties have Type 1 insurance
  • Both parties have the knock-for-knock agreement
  • Both parties can agree who’s at fault of the accident
  • Both parties understand how to use the knock-for-knock agreement

In most cases, not many people in Thailand understand about the knock-for-knock agreement. So they decide to just wait for an insurance agent. 

It is a way to make sure that the accident will be dealt with correctly by a professional and they can make a claim later on. 

What to Do if You Come Across an Accident in Thailand

You should call 191 (police) or 1169 (ambulance). 

If you witness an accident or come across an accident that has already happened, your first reaction might be to help anyone who is injured, especially if you come from the United States, where this is the cultural norm.

If someone needs CPR in the United States and you begin to administer it and the injured person passes away, you are protected by law from any wrongdoing. 

In Thailand, this most likely won’t be the case. If you try to help someone and cause more injuries, or the person passes away under your care, you can be held liable. So you shouldn’t get involved, no matter how good your intentions are or how badly you feel for the injured party.

Also, in some rare cases, some unscrupulous people could blame you for the accident and try to get money from you. Although this doesn’t happen as frequently anymore because of dashcams, you never want to take any chances.

Now, on to You

Car accidents happen in Thailand quite often. Most times, they are usually fender benders that cause any injuries or fatalities. But some serious accidents do.

In either case, it’s always best to follow the advice in this article — stay calm and never engage with the other party until your insurance agent arrives. 

Also, before you drive in Thailand, learn about the driving laws and etiquettes because they can be different from other countries. You can find out more in our guide on how to drive safely in Thailand

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Saran Lhawpongwad is a Bangkokian by birth. He loves to share what he learns based on his insights living and running business in Thailand. While not at his desk, he likes to be outdoors exploring the world with his family. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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