One of the big advantages of choosing a Comprehensive Insurance Policy instead of a no-frills Third-Party Liability one, is that your car is covered against loss or damage due to natural disasters. But does your coverage extend to all natural perils?
Flooding caused by a burst water main caused mayhem for UAE residents living near Dubai’s Ibn Battuta a couple of years back. But the biggest casualties were their cars. So did car insurers pay for the damage? Our team at Souqalmal.com dug out the details.
A burst water main sent gallons of water cascading into the streets around Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai at that time. This forced dozens of drivers in the area to flee as their cars were flooded.
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Almost a week after the incident, many car owners were wondering if their car insurance policy will cover the cost of the damage.
According to The National, DEWA has told those affected they could be eligible for compensation from the authority. But there is no guarantee this will happen, so residents should turn to their car insurer first.
Comprehensive vs Third Party Liability
This is where it gets tricky. Whether or not they are covered for the damage depends on their particular car insurance policy. While flood damage is generally covered when it comes to the home, the story can be very different when it comes to cars.
Now it’s wise to remember that any flooding due to a rain storm, cyclone or some other water disaster such as the one seen in Dubai that year falls under the comprehensive coverage option of an auto insurance policy.
Comprehensive cover should protect a car owner against anything that can happen to a vehicle other than an accident. The problem here is that car owners often eliminate elements of their cover to save money. One of the first things to go is comprehensive insurance – particularly on older cars.
Instead owners opt for third party liability insurance, the minimum requirement that protects them against legal liability resulting from an accident caused by your vehicle.
In addition to these two polices you can also choose optional extras, effectively tailoring your policy to suit your needs. While some policies such as Orient Insurance’s Company Motor Plus, clearly states it offers protection against flooding, storms and hurricanes, others do not and you need to request this as an add on.
The other thing to consider is deductibles. If a policy does cover flooding, car owners should then look at their excess fee or the amount the car owner pays out of their own pocket on a claim before the insurance company pays the rest. Depending on the policy you have, that excess could be zero or it could be as high as AED2,000 or more.
For example, if you have an excess fee of AED2,000 and a bill for flood damage of AED1,500, you are still going to have to pay for the damage yourself.
Remember the exact cover you have varies between policies and the different insurers. If you want to be covered against all eventualities, you need to shop around for the best car insurance policy.
Paying Attention to the Small Print
To ensure you are completely covered, even for flooding, read the small print when you sign up for a new policy. After all there is no guarantee you are automatically covered and the UAE has a history with this type of issue.
In the spring of 2010, following days of heavy rain, Arabic newspaper Emarat Al Youm reported that insurance companies in the UAE refused to cover damage to vehicles caused by the heavy rain.
Companies dismissed the claims on the grounds that the policyholder standard imposed by the UAE Ministry of Economy did not cover natural disasters. The newspaper added that only 40 percent of insurance polices in the country at that time covered flood damage. So, make sure you know exactly what your policy covers so that you don’t get caught out.