Auto Insurance for Foreigners

Category : Career/Business / Visa/Legal Issues/Tax
Nov 28, 2014

You can’t drive without insurance. That’s a given in any country. The better question then would be, how do you get auto insurance in Korea? There are plenty of companies both foreign and domestic that offer insurance packages. It’s a matter of how much the options cost and what you want included in your insurance. If you are driving a motorized vehicle with a tank smaller than 50cc, you do not legally need to buy insurance, although it is of course recommended. For anything over 50cc insurance is required by law.


So how do you choose?

Most companies issue insurance for a one year long period and it can be easily renewed after that. Insurance packages offer different degrees of coverage and different options. Basically insurance is based around the following areas of coverage.

  1. Loss and damage coverage: That means if you smash your car to smithereens recovering the damages will be paid for or at least partially.
  2. Personal coverage: This covers injury caused to you by your own fault. It also covers fines you may be forced to pay.
  3. Liability coverage (Third party): If you hit someone or damage something, you need insurance to cover the hospital bills and the repair fees.
  4. Emergency roadside assistance and/or onsite insurance representation: This means someone will come help you if you get in an accident and/or someone will be sent from the insurance company to assess damages and vouch for the total damages (and not more) caused by you. This is not always included.


Insurance prices are based on:

  1. Your age (a young adult male will pay the highest fees)
  2. The year, model and brand of your car (insurance for a 2011 mid-size Mercedes will be much more than the insurance for a 1997 small Kia).
  3. Your driving records and experience driving in Korea (the more experience driving here without problems, the lower your insurance will be).


About Liability

The scope of liability in Korea makes it is extremely important to have driver’s insurance. It works a little bit differently than you may be familiar with. Even if the accident is 100% the fault of the other driver, you will still be required to pay a portion of the damage. The only instance in which you can claim 100% no responsibility happens when they rear-end you, otherwise you’ll also be responsible. As well, claims are based on how much damage one person can prove the other person did.


After the accident you should make a claim with your insurance provider right away. You will need to provide the following documents:

  • Alien registration card (ARC)
  • Your driver’s license
  • Your insurance certificate or proof of purchased insurance policy
  • Vehicle registration documents
  • The police report from the accident
  • A completed claims form from your insurance company


Advice from the field

  1. Many driver’s recommend not necessarily going with the cheapest insurance option because the limited coverage will not even be worth the amount you pay.
  2. Shop around. There are SO many companies! Many foreigners complain about getting ripped off. They pay high premiums their first year in Korea accepting what the first English speaking company offers. You don’t have to buy insurance from the dude who sells you your car. Get a price comparison and contact multiple companies.
  3. Keep in mind most car insurance packages do not provide full coverage. You will pay a percentage and the company with pay a percentage.
  4. Most companies don’t have English services. It’s helpful to choose one with English speaking representatives.
  5. Onsite insurance representation can be very helpful and is usually more costly. They will assess the damages and determine who is liable. Without a representative the other person’s insurance provider can pin you with a larger percentage of the damage (more than you actually caused). In the end, that means you will be paying more and your insurance will be covering less!


Major Insurance Companies

  1. AIG
  2. Allianz
  3. AXA
  4. Chartis Auto Insurance
  5. Clements Worldwide
  6. Dongbu Life Insurance
  7. Educar
  8. Hanhwa Life Insurance
  9. Heungkook Insurance
  10. Hi-Car
  11. HSBC Insurance
  12. Hyundai Life Insurance, Hyundai Marine and Fire
  13. Kyobo Life Insurance
  14. LIG
  15. LG Magicar
  16. Lotte Insurance
  17. Meritz
  18. Prudential
  19. Samsung Anycar, Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Marine and Fire


Sample Price Comparisons

The following sample price comparisons have been given by Sami. Sami is an expat living in Korea and he provides auto insurance price comparisons for foreigners living in Korea. He is a great person to get in contact with if you have questions or want quotes. He can be reached on Facebook or at


Sample 1
Driver's age: 34, female
Car: Hyundai Sonata - 1995
Conditions: main driver, age limit: 30, roadside service
Premium: Company Premium Driver, Age Limit, listed in KRW
à Driver has got no driving history in Korea.

  1. CHARTIS: 610,738 - All drivers, all ages
  2. Heungkook: 621,380 - Only main driver, 30
  3. Lotte: 631,460 - Only main driver, 30
  4. LIG: 641,290 - Only main driver, 30
  5. Hanhwa: 653,300 - Only main driver, 30
  6. Dongbu: 697,770 - Only main driver, 30
  7. Meritz: 715,160 - Only main driver, 30
  8. Hyundai: 764,800 - Only main driver, 30
  9. Samsung: 800,850 - Only main driver, 30

à Notes: In old cars, Own Damage is not included, since the value of the car is very low. Own Bodily Injury is included. Companies providing direct products not included above (like Educar, Axa etc.)


Sample 2
Driver's age: 24 , male
Car: Ford Mustang GT - 2010
Conditions: main driver, age limit: 24, roadside service
Premium: Listed in KRW
àDriver has got no driving history in Korea.

  1. CHARTIS: 2,049,000 (all drivers, all ages)
  2. LIG: 9,066,050
  3. Hanhwa: 9,159,530
  4. Samsung: 9,330,050
  5. Heungkook: 9,618,170
  6. Lotte: 10,706,760
  7. Hyundai: 10,956,820
  8. Meritz: 13,600,380
  9. Dongbu: 14,081,320

Notes: Since the driver is very young and his car is a monster, the premiums were unbelievably high except Chartis.


Sample 3
Driver's age: 33 , male
Car: Carens (LPG) - 1999
Conditions: main driver, age limit:30, roadside service
Coverage: BI,PD,OBI,UC,RS - Excluding Own Damage.
Insurance Period: 1 year

  1. LIG: 563,010
  2. Heungkook: 572,250
  3. Dongbu: 580,370
  4. Samsung: 601,040
  5. Hyundai: 606,260
  6. Meritz: 614,170
  7. Lotte: 631,320
  8. Hanhwa: 637,610
  9. Chartis: 641,433

à Notes: The driver had a two year driving history in Korea without any claims. Before he was using Dongbu, however this time LIG offered the best price. We chose LIG. He continues driving safely.


Sample 4
Driver's age: 23 , male
Car: Matiz - 1998
Conditions: main driver, age limit: 24, roadside service
Coverage: Only compulsory insurance (liability insurance)
Insurance Period: 3 months
Premium: Listed in KRW
Driver has got no driving history in Korea.

  1. CHARTIS: 224,670 (all drivers, all ages)
  2. Heungkook: 359,020
  3. Hyundai: 366,370
  4. Lotte: 369,220
  5. LIG: 375,710
  6. Dongbu: 422,720
  7. Samsung: 422,880
  8. Meritz: 435,580
  9. Hanhwa: 446,250


Tags : Insurance. Cars. Driving.

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.