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Fundamentally, insurance is mainly a financial service which is designed to reduce risks. An insurance product transforms the cost of your potential large liabilities or expenses into regular premiums. An insurance product “ensures” that your situation is more stable/less risky than what it would otherwise be, but it is certainly not a way to evade the liabilities you are potentially responsible for.
Do not wait for problems to arise before reviewing your insurance arrangements. Once you have a problem, it is already too late. Being poorly insured is risky whereas being over-insured is expensive.
There is a wide range of competing insurance providers in Thailand, and it is advisable to shop around and compare before taking out an insurance policy (premiums, levels of coverage, no-claims discounts, etc.). It’s also good to check the financial strength and the reputation of your insurer.
If you are unclear about your cover or your needs whilst you are in Thailand, you might wish to check your existing insurance arrangements in your country of origin. This is important if you want to avoid double coverage.
Insurance isn’t necessarily a country-specific issue, but how much insurance you need may vary from one country to another. This is because your potential liabilities, such as medical bills, are specific to a jurisdiction.
Thai insurance market
In Thailand, the insurance business is regulated by the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC). You will usually see insurance products divided into the following three categories:
Your home insurance needs depend on whether you own your home, or if you rent it.
For homeowners, your home insurance policy protects you against damage to your building, and is generally required to secure a mortgage. This may cover the costs of rebuilding your property from scratch, legal fees or the costs of certain exceptional repairs. Home insurance may also cover you against third party liability if an accident happens in your home.
For tenants, home insurance can be much cheaper than home insurance, as tenants only need to be insured against their belongings and public liability if an accident happens in their home.
As for all insurance policies, it is up to you to decide how generous you want your cover to be, what the excess amounts are, which unexpected expenses are covered (e.g. alternative accommodation), etc. If you are letting your property, homeowner insurance may also be used in order to be insured against losses of rents.
Premiums can be as low as USD50 per year.
Home insurance and mortgages
In general, home insurance is a requirement when you apply for a mortgage. For expats in Thailand, this argument is unlikely to be any relevant though, as they are generally not awarded a mortgage.
Going away from home
If you expect to be away from your home for more than one month, you should let your insurer know. Failure to do so may result in a claim being rejected if something happens to your home whilst you are away.
Car insurance is mandatory in Thailand, and your policy must generally include at least third party liability. This should insure you against potential liabilities for third party death or bodily injury, but not damage or theft of your own car. If you need your vehicle to have more than just third party cover, you might wish to take out a comprehensive vehicle insurance policy.
Private health insurance in Thailand is essential for expatriates, as Thailand’s public healthcare system does not necessarily fully cover expats.
Expatriates may consider an international cover in order to ensure coverage both in Thailand and in their home country. International covers tend to be more expensive, but they are straightforward and very helpful if you need to “bridge the gap” between Thailand and your home country. Expats who frequently move across borders are more likely to need an international cover to achieve peace of mind.
Life insurance can be particularly helpful if your family is financially very dependent on you, as it may guarantee a lump sum payment to your family if you die.
Do assess carefully the burden of retaining foreign life insurance while you are resident in Thailand. Do also check the geographical extent of your existing life insurance policy when you move across borders.
If you run a business in Thailand, you probably need personnel insurance and public liability insurance.
Personnel insurance protects you in case one of your employees has an accident or an illness in connection with his/her employment duties.
Public liability insurance covers you against certain third party claims against your business. This may also include legal costs.
Sections in FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS IN THAILAND:
» Money Transfers for Expats in Thailand
» Foreign Exchange for Expats in Thailand
» Banking for Expats in Thailand
» Pensions for Expats in Thailand
» Investment for Expats in Thailand
» Wealth Management for Expats in Thailand
» Property Investment for Expats in Thailand
» Insurance for Expats in Thailand
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