Perhaps in the past you clocked up speeding points like kilometers, safe in the knowledge that the way you drive has no bearing on your insurance premium in the UAE.
But it’s time to take your foot off the gas, because the way insurance companies calculate your quote is changing, and it could be about to get stricter still.
A number of factors are taken into account by insurers when calculating a premium in the UAE – the age of the driver and type of vehicle, for instance, with the RSA saying a sports car can expect a higher quote than a standard vehicle and that a driver below the age of 25 is often charged a higher premium.
Nevertheless, it is generally acknowledged that, in the UAE, the cost of car insurance is based overwhelmingly on the value and age of the car you drive.
Standardizing motor policies
This is completely different from the way it works in a country like the UK, where the cost depends on a long list of factors including the value, model and horsepower of the car, as well as the driver’s safety record and age.
But in October, a database was launched in the UAE to allow insurers to distinguish between good and bad drivers – and adjust their premiums accordingly.
The system has been developed by eData Management Solution in Dubai. There are 62 insurance companies in the UAE and, of them, 35 offer motor policies. So far, 20 have agreed to share data. It is not clear when the system will go live.
However, the way premiums are calculated could change again if a draft law is approved.
The UAE Insurance Authority prepared a proposal last year to standardize motor policies, which could bring car insurance more in line with other parts of the world.
A car accident or speeding fines could significantly add to the cost of an annual insurance premium, while young drivers of high performance cars could be charged more to reflect their risk.
Improving road safety
Previously premiums would rise for a driver who had had an accident but, according to Fareed Lutfi, secretary-general of the Emirates Insurance Association, many people would get around that by approaching another insurer (who had no way of knowing the driver’s history) to ask for a quote.
Both the database and proposed standardization of policies will help catch these drivers out. And it could also improve road safety if bad drivers are refused insurance on the basis of their risk.
But everyone has been feeling the pinch this year after the cost of policies climbed after years of declines.
According to Emirates 24/7, companies increased their premiums by between 15 to 20 percent in the first half of the year after the rates charged by workshops and maintenance service companies began rising faster than the cost of vehicle premiums.