If you are heading into the desert on your favourite off-road route anytime soon, you might want to check your motor insurance policy.
While, you may have packed a tow rope, plenty of water and ensured a friend is coming in their own 4×4 to haul you out if your car gets stuck, the key thing to consider is whether or not your insurer actually covers your adventuring. Simply assuming that because you have a 4×4 with the capacity to go off-road your insurer will automatically cover you, is not the best way to go about it.
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What you need to do first is compare all the policies that do provide off-road cover and then choose the right one for you. For some policies, off-road cover is an optional extra such as Arab Orient Insurance Motor Plus that comes with an AED 350 excess and includes GCC cover. At RSA, off-road cover is provided on some of its products, such as RSA Comprehensive Cover – Standard with an AED 1,500 excess, and not on others such as RSA Comprehensive Cover – Saver Plus. This highlights how you need to be clear what type of insurance you want when you first arrange your policy.
So what is the best way to ensure you are covered?
Firstly, check your existing policy. Some policies automatically cover off-road damage if your car has off-road capabilities.
The second is to be clear whether off-road cover extends to you. While some insurers cover off-road damage under their policies, there may be restrictions on that cover. These can include the age of the vehicle and only driving the car off-road within city limits or within a certain distance of a paved road. A policy may also limit cover if your car was used in an off-roading race or trial when any damage occurred. It means you not only need to be careful when you go off-roading, you need to be sure that what you are actually doing while you are out in the desert is supported by your insurance.
Finally, don’t assume that getting off-road cover in place is just an unnecessary precautionary measure. Passionate off-roaders advise residents to have 2 cars – 1 for their home and work life and 1 for off-roading. Why? Because the vehicle doing the off-roading is going to spend a lot of time in the garage having repairs carried out. Ultimately if you want your car to stay dent-free, it might be wise to avoid off-roading altogether.