by Dr. Iain Corness
How much do you know about
If you are like me, you bought an insurance
policy when you bought the latest car, and have forgotten all
about it since then, other than at renewal, whereupon you want
a reduction because you haven’t hit anything in the past 12
months. After all, insurance is the thing you don’t want to
have to use, so we mentally deny it or forget it for the next
To find out a little more about car
insurance I asked Jack Levy, an insurance consultant, to
explain a little more about the subject. According to Jack,
basically there are four types of motor vehicle insurance
cover, with the compulsory government insurance (the square
sticker on your windscreen) called a ‘porabor’, being the
bottom of the line. Words like, "Not worth the paper it’s
printed on," were being bandied around.
Up from there is Class 3 insurance, and
this is liability only. In other words, it covers the other
guy, but not you. The premiums are cheap, but the policy does
nothing for you, other than make it such that you can ask
someone’s forgiveness and pay for the damage you have done.
Next rung up is Class 2. This is what most
of us know as the western style of 3rd Party, Fire and Theft
insurance. It covers the cars, shop windows and telephone
poles you hit and will cover you if the vehicle bursts into
flames, or crosses the border into Cambodia with a felon at
the wheel. A bit more expensive than Class 3, for the extra
risk that the insurance company is taking on board.
So to the top of the heap, Class 1. This is
equivalent to what most of us know as Fully Comprehensive, but
beware, for some are more ‘fully’ than others! According
to my mate Jack, variations can be quite marked. There is a
ceiling on the amount covered for bodily injury or death. Some
companies are up to 5 million baht, others may cap the payment
at 1 million baht, while others may set the cap much lower.
Like wise with the proviso for Bail Bond.
Do you know how much you are covered for? If your policy only
allows for 100,000 baht and the friendly policeman sets the
figure at 200,000 baht, you either have to cough up the
difference, or go to jail.
Factors that can affect the premium cost
also include the type of vehicle you are driving. If it is
bread and butter Japanese, with abundant availability of spare
parts, your insurance will generally be less than the
equivalent European vehicle, and if you have bought an ‘orphan’
like a Wartburg or a ZIL, then you probably won’t get
insurance cover at all.
Other factors cover the initial purchase
price of your vehicle (a Porsche will cost more than an Isuzu
pick-up), the capacity (a 5 litre engine will cost more than a
1.5 litre) and if your vehicle is one that gets nicked a lot,
you may find it becomes almost uninsurable! Time to stand at
the Cambodian border again and see what the felons are driving
Another trap for the unwary. Your policy
will say that you have to be the holder of a valid driving
licence. The key word here is ‘valid’. If you are driving
on a Thai licence, or on a current International, then you are
fine. However, Thai law does not recognise a UK, European or
American licence as ‘valid’ and you may be liable for a
fine of up to 200 baht in the case of an accident involving
you. That’s the cheapest part! If your insurance company
also does not accept your driving licence, then you have just
become liable for the lot! Answer? Check and ensure that your
insurance company will accept your driving licence, before you
put the key in the ignition.
That gets us to an interesting point. How
does a young person learn to drive a car and still be covered,
without having a valid licence? I believe that registered
driving schools have some sort of blanket policy, but ... this
is Thailand. There is a decided "hole" here that I
would be plugging before letting your children learn to drive
in the family car!
Last week I mentioned a very famous racing
driver who used to wave when passing the grandstands, saying,
"You may not know anybody there, but that’s all right.
Somebody will think you’re waving at him and he’ll start
waving back and if you can get a good percentage of the crowd
waving at you it’s going to impress the organizers, so when
you come back next year, they’ll pay you more money to
appear." And I asked who was it? It was one of the
fore-runners of professional race car drivers - Sir Stirling
So to this week. Wings are now commonplace
in race cars of all categories, and the company that started
the craze with wings, as we know them today, was American.
This company had really begun developing and refining an idea
that had been used over a decade previously, but not used as
an aerodynamic aid for cornering. What I want to know is what
was the item that was the forerunner of the wings, and what
was it used for - and on what cars?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be
the first correct answer to email [email protected]
Natter Nosh and Noggin
The car (and bike) enthusiasts will be meeting again this
Monday night (9th) at Shenanigans Pub at 7 p.m. This is a
totally informal meeting of like minded souls which meets on
the second Monday of every month to discuss their pet motoring
(and motorcycling) loves and hates. It is free to join and I
suggest that you bring along magazines or photographs so that
the group can get involved in the discussion. Generally we
have something to eat while we are there and wash it down with
something amber, hence the name, Natter, Nosh and Noggin. Just
ask any of the lovely Shenanigans girls where Dr. Iain and the
group are and they will point us out and give you a push.
What does the world think of
The general opinion about salesmen who are
involved in the noble art of flogging cars, is not very high.
This appears to be a universal attitude, but it is only
recently that the Gallup Poll people in the USA carried out a
survey to see which professions were considered to be the most
trustworthy. The list is interesting, but I am sure would not
reflect the views of Thailand. Mind you, it did not surprise
me that lawyers were down in position 15, but I did raise my
eyebrows when I read that medical doctors at 7th slot only
just shaded funeral directors!
Here’s the list from Gallup.
2 Military officers
3 High school teachers
5 Police officers
6 Druggists, pharmacists
7 Medical doctors
8 Funeral directors
10 Journalists, reporters
13 Building contractors
14 Business executives
16 Labor union leaders
17 Real estate agents
19 Advertising practitioners
20 Car salespeople
So there you go - to be universally popular become a
telemarketer! Now then, does anyone want to buy a car from
lekky bikes to reduce pollution
Eco-Brand, the electronic bicycle
manufacturers, have just managed to get some of their new
scooters into the Bangkok Police force, with my old mate, Paul
Markham the GM, reporting good interest from Bangkok’s
Following a request from General San, the
police chief, an exhibition of the Eco-electronic bikes, as
well as future prototype models, was given for the police
administration. This was for the various police chiefs and
generals to look at as well as individual police staff for
General San has ordered 3 Storm Police Spec
E Bikes and the Tourist Police Chief General Banyan is looking
at the possibility of the lekky bikes for various applications
nationwide as are the Immigration Bureau.
Paul reports that he is very hopeful of
great success in helping the Thai environment and reducing
pollution problems as well as cutting down running/fuel costs
for the department.
The local manufacturer has also come to the
attention of movie star Steven Segal who has ordered three
Terrain off-road Army Style scooters, one for his property in
Thailand and two for his massive ranch in the US. He is also
having an electric All Terrain Vehicle designed for his use.
Anyone want a Studebaker GT
Hawk? Only 300,000 baht
Don’t get too excited, I read it in a mag
sent to me by one of the Autotrivia Quiz regulars, MacAlan
Thompson. Unfortunately, it is an American auto-trader
magazine, but the prices would make you weep. The Studebaker
GT Hawk is dead-set col
Or what about a pair of 1965 Ford
Thunderbirds? Yes, a pair of them for $1,400! And if you’re
the ultimate Ford man, then you can get yourself a nice 1921 T
model for only $10,000.
For the hot rod fans there’s a London
taxi with a 350 c.i. Chev at the sharp end and a Ford 8"
rear, at $12,500, and the final item that caught my eye was a
folding, motorized gas scooter with F&R disc brakes,
headlight, and 12" tyres. All this could be yours for 5
cents under $700.
Unfortunately there is not the number of
old cars in this country to make it worth while trying to have
a used car magazine, and there is not the depth of makes and
models, but it was certainly nice to flick through the mag and
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