Renting a car here is fairly inexpensive compared with many countries. The cost, though, will ultimately depend on what type of car you want, and how long you rent it for. A small sedan or hatchback (such as a Toyota Yaris) will set you back around B20,000 per month, or around B1,200 per day, for a newer model. That price may drop slightly for an older one. Larger cars go up in price from there.
Where should I go?
You can either opt for the more established international rental agencies like Budget, Avis etc, or you can go for a small local rental shop, which can be cheaper, and impose less restrictions on who they rent out their vehicles to. If you want to try some of these smaller companies, start by checking The Phuket News classifieds, or simply take a stroll around some of the tourist areas until you spot a sign offering car rentals. Trust your judgement though – some of these shops are more reputable than others.
What about insurance?
All rental cars will come with insurance – it’s the level of coverage that will vary. If you’re with one of the major companies, it is probably worth paying extra to get comprehensive cover. Beware of street-side vendors with signs saying ‘with insurance’ – usually the level of insurance is very basic and would not cover the car, nor passengers – just third party injuries or damage. Some travel insurance companies will offer car rental coverage as an optional extra, which may be worth looking into in some cases. Again, just make sure you read the fine print and be aware of the limitations of your coverage.
Do I need a license?
If you rent from one of the bigger companies such as Budget, yes. But, as with a motorbike, if you rent from one of the smaller companies, you are unlikely to be asked to show a valid driving permit. Be warned though, driving without a valid Thai license or an international license may render your insurance void, meaning you could dig yourself into a very deep hole if you are involved in an accident.
What should I leave as a deposit?
You will most likely be asked to leave your passport as security. This is definitely not advisable. Talk to the renter and find out whether he or she will accept a photocopy of the passport, or something else instead. Often a cash deposit and a passport photocopy will be accepted, but make sure any cash deposit comes with a receipt. The bigger companies will usually take a swipe of your credit card.
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