Risks of Renting a Motorcycle in Thailand and How to Insure Yourself

  • A Malaysian couple was demanded of RM 400,000 in Thailand after a traffic accident.

  • They hit and killed a local on a rented motorcycle.

  • It is customary in Thailand where the foreigner is made to pay up regardless if it’s his fault or otherwise.

This line is oft-repeated, we know, but Thailand is such a hit with Malaysian bikers. However, do remember the risks when you consider renting a motorcycle there. Thailand is the second most dangerous country to drive in.

Our friends at reported about a Malaysian couple who rented a motorcycle in Krabi. Unfortunately, their plans for the perfect vacation was dashed when they hit a local pedestrian. The pedestrian was killed in the accident.

As with local customs, the family of the deceased must be compensated. This is even more true if the party involved is a Farang (foreigner), and it didn’t matter even if it’s not your fault. The couple kena pao (was demanded to pay) more than RM 400,000! The sum was brought down to RM 200,000 after some intense negotiations. The couple needed to also pay for the damaged motorcycle.

This incident wasn’t the first and isn’t likely to be the last, honestly.

We have seen and heard of our riders kena pao for exorbitant amounts throughout his many trips into the Kingdom. Just like the incident above, you are at fault, as long as you are a Farang.

So, how to avoid getting skinned and skimmed?

The best way is not to rent a motorcycle in Thailand. Let’s be realistic, though. Renting one is the easiest way to getting around. But rent it from a shop which offers insurance coverage. The insurance doesn’t break your wallet and you should always get it.

What insurance should I buy when I rent a bike?
  • Compulsory Motor Insurance (Por Ror Bor): This is a compulsory insurance which covers hospitalization. The shop ought to have insured the rented bike as it is required by the Thai authorities. Try asking for the certificate.
  • Voluntary Insurance: This insurance covers the vehicle you’re driving, or the third-party vehicle involved, depending on price.
  • Travel Insurance: Travel insurance has always been overlooked by many Malaysians when they travel to anywhere around the world and not just Thailand. It’s not expensive and is easily obtained online. Check with your insurance agent but get one which covers your personal liability against claims from the other party involved in the accident.
What insurance shall I get if I ride my own motorcycle in?
  • Compulsory Motor Insurance (Por Ror Bor): This is the insurance we pay for at border crossings, along with the Temporary Import Permit, etc. (Please click here for our article on the documents required when riding into Thailand.) It ought to cost RM 18 to RM 20 for 9 days. It usually covers up to THB 80,000.
  • Voluntary Insurance: It can be purchased along the way to Thailand. Stop at a shop with “INSURANCE” signboard, along the road in Changlun and all the way into Dannok (if you are entering via Bukit Kayu Hitam or Wang Kelian). It’s available at Betong, too.
  • Endorsement 101: This extends your Malaysian comprehensive insurance to Thailand. However, do note that it covers damages to vehicles only but not bodily injuries. Additionally, it’s only applicable to motorcycles and commercial vehicles. Lastly, the limit of liability of RM 100,000 is only applicable to third party property damage.
  • Personal Travel Insurance: Please buy it! This writer usually purchases the AIG Travel Guard during his trips, but you may Google for “travel insurance Malaysia.” It usually costs from RM 30 per trip.

In conclusion, it’s always better to be over-insured than not at all.

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

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