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A question that is often asked around us is whether it is safe to rent a scooter on Phuket. The short answer is yes, generally speaking, it is safe to rent a scooter on the island. But there are several things you should consider and keep in mind when looking for a safe scooter rental. We advise to avoid any small and unknown shops and choose a trustworthy scooter rental instead. There are some scams you should be aware of when looking for a rental shop on Phuket. In this article, we will discuss those and give you some tips on how to safely rent a vehicle on the Island.
An introduction to safe rental on Phuket
When you are looking for a safe scooter rental on Phuket it is good to know that most of the time it is safe to rent from a trustworthy rental. There are a small number of scams throughout the island that targets tourists looking for a rental scooter. On the island of Phuket, being scammed for a rental scooter would set you back about 10.000THB (which is around 300 USD) But outside the city of Phuket, this can be higher as scooter scams are organized by larger groups.
Phuket police forces are known to be supportive of the local community. While some tourist websites suggest that the police on Phuket may be corrupt, this is not the case. There is no known case where the police were involved in any scams on Phuket. Supporting the local community also means supporting safe tourism as the community greatly benefits from that, so you don’t need to worry about shady police involvement around safe rental scooters on the island.
There are a few large and trustworthy rental companies on Phuket that are considered very good rental companies. Providing both safety and excellent service. It is recommended to find a trustworthy rental company on the island. While the chances of getting scammed when trying to rent a scooter are slim, you simply don’t want to risk it as it can be quite a damper on your holiday experience. Choose the safe option instead and look for trusted rental shops.
How to rent a scooter safely
Finding trusted rental shops
A good way to tell trustworthy rental companies from a less reputable one is by looking up reviews online. Check several websites for reviews on the rental company including google, Trustpilot and other travel websites. Another thing you can do is ask a friend or someone that has already been to Phuket for help on finding trusted rental shops. That way you can verify whether a rental is trustworthy or not.
Insist on a rental agreement
Another very important factor is the contract. A safe scooter rental will always have a contract or rental agreement for you to sign. Read the rental agreement properly including any fine print they may include as you don’t want to be surprised by them in hindsight. It is also normal for a trusted scooter rental to take one or more pictures of your passport or driver’s license to add to the agreement. If a rental company does not offer you a rental agreement, walk away and find another one that does. Trusted rental shops will always provide you with a contract or rental agreement.
Inspect your vehicle and take pictures
Always be sure to inspect the general technical condition of the scooter itself before taking it out. Check whether the tires are good and if the brakes are functioning properly for safety reasons. It’s also wise to inspect the general look of the scooter and report any damage before taking it out. Take detailed photographs of any damages you find and of the entire vehicle before taking it out for a drive. That way you can prove that any damage already existed before renting the vehicle. It can always happen that a rental shop employee thinks the damage is newly made, but that doesn’t mean you made it. Having pictures makes that easy to rectify for both parties. This is why we always recommend you take pictures, just like you would if you rented a car in your home country.
Read more about this in our post: How to check scooter before rent?
We have included a checklist of parts that you should take detailed photos of before renting the vehicle:
- All plastic parts (and all scratches that exist before renting the scooter).
- The tires and rims for any (curb) damage.
- The front reflector (this can be a very expensive part to replace).
- The rear light/brake light.
- Turn signal indicators.
- The ends of the handlebar (These often damage if the scooter gets knocked into something or falls over).
- The windshield.
- The seat.
Generally speaking, if the bike has no damage that stands out, you will be ok if you just take a detailed photo of each side including front and back.
Putting down a deposit
We cannot stress this enough: NEVER leave your passport at a rental shop for any reason. Not even as a deposit. A safe scooter rental will not ask you to leave your passport as you need it to identify yourself and to travel. The deposit for a rental scooter should be between 3000THB and 10,000THB (which is about 90 to 300 USD) depending on the model and year of the scooter. For motorcycles, some rental companies will require a deposit of up to 50,000THB.
Many trusted rental shops accept foreign currencies such as EUR, USD, CAD and AUD as a deposit. They will return your deposit in the same currency, although payment to the rental company should be in THB. A lot of rental companies are not able to accept credit cards for deposit payments. However, our company does accept cards for deposits.
Read more about prices and deposits in this post: How much is it to rent a motorbike on Phuket?
What is the procedure in case a bike breaks down?
Renting a scooter from a safe scooter rental will lower your chances of encountering technical issues while you are out with a rental scooter on Phuket. If you do happen to run into trouble and you rented from a non-reputable company, you will be responsible for any repairs necessary to the vehicle.
A trusted scooter rental will not be responsible for the following situations;
- Tire – If you get a flat tire, you must change the tire yourself or pay for support services to come and change it for you. Read more: How to repair a flat tire on Phuket?
- Battery – If your battery runs out of power you must charge the battery yourself or pay for support services to come and charge it for you. Read more: What to do if I discharge my rental scooter’s battery?
- Keys – If you lose your key you must pay for a replacement and the delivery of it. Read more: What to do if I lose the key to my scooter?
A good rental company will provide free support during working hours if none of the above is the reason your vehicle broke down. Outside of working hours, they may charge an additional fee to come and aid you. A rental employee will also either come and exchange the vehicle for you or send a mechanic to fix the problem. Make sure you are back on the road in no time. Read more about it here: What to do if my rental scooter breaks down?
What is the procedure in case of an accident?
In case of an accident always call emergency services or the police if necessary. It is important to know that most rental companies on the island, even well-known rentals, have no insurance on the property. That means there is no insurance for yourself, or to a 3rd party that may have sustained damage to their vehicle during the accident.
You can read more about rental insurance on Phuket here: Insurances for a rental bike in Thailand
If an accident should occur, contact your rental company about how they handle repairs and repair costs. Also ask if there is payment needed for extra days, whether the repairs are done in an official Honda / Yamaha garage and if they will present you with the repair bill? Or if you can repair the scooter by yourself.
You may be interested in following topics:
- How to deal with an accident in Thailand.
- How much is the cost of repair for my rental scooter?
There are several documents that you are required to have on you whenever you drive around with a bike from a rental company. Having these documents with you will ensure you don’t get fined by the local authorities should you be stopped for inspection:
- A rental agreement or contract.
- An insurance sticker.
- A copy of the green book.
- A copy of insurance.
Read more on the documents you need to keep on you here: What documents do I need to have on me when I drive a rental scooter in Thailand?
Popular scams when renting a scooter on Phuket
As we mentioned before, most of the companies are good rental companies. And as long as you choose a trustworthy rental company, you won’t have to be afraid of scams. Beware of small rental shops as they can be a scam. Sometimes, to be labelled a scam, there is only a simple misunderstanding where the shop employee thinks you damaged the vehicle, and you think you didn’t. Therefore we recommend taking pictures before you leave with the scooter, that way you always have a way to prove you took it out with any damage existing before your rental period. When a rental employee sees you taking photos of your vehicle before taking it they will be less inclined to scam you, knowing you have proof of what the scooter looked like before taking it out.
Several other scams you will want to avoid when renting a scooter ion the island may include:
- Old and worn tires, batteries and other costly parts that need to be replaced immediately.
- Renting out a vehicle with preexisting damage in hopes to pin the damages on you.
- Stealing your scooter for someone from a rental company (this is very rare on Phuket)
- Overcharging you for a vehicle’s repair bill.
In the most popular scams, the result would be that the owner of the rental will make some quick cash by making you pay for repairs or damages you are normally not responsible for. This is why it is so important to find a safe scooter rental and only rent from a trustworthy rental company As you don’t want to have to worry about scams on your holiday.
Read more about scams on Phuket here: Most popular scooter scams in Thailand and how to avoid them.
Summarizing safe scooter rental in Thailand and especially on Phuket is safe if;
- If you follow the general rules that help you with rental everywhere in Southeast Asia as Phuket is one of the safest places in the region.
- When you rent from reliable and trustworthy rental companies that provide you with a rental agreement or contract and documentation for the rental of the scooter.
- You take the time to check reviews and opinions of previous customers online to make sure other people have had good experiences with a company before renting a vehicle.
- You take pictures of the vehicle from all sides to determine the presence of any (or none) damages that existed before rending the vehicle.
- You thoroughly check the technical state of the vehicle and the functionality of the brakes before taking it out.
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