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Tue 28 Jan 2020 10:48 AM

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77% of UAE residents don't know if their car insurance covers rain damage

Souqalmal.com's latest survey uncovers widespread lack of awareness around rain and flood coverage under UAE car insurance policies

77% of UAE residents don't know if their car insurance covers rain damage

Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of Souqalmal.com.

Following the aftermath of heavy rainfall and consequential flooding in various parts of the UAE, Souqalmal.com surveyed over 200 UAE residents, asking a very pertinent question – Did they know if their car insurance policy covers the damage caused by rain and flooding?

The shocking bit – less than a quarter of the survey respondents came back with a ‘yes’.

With the majority of car owners we surveyed claiming they didn’t know whether or not rain damage was covered under their car insurance, our team decided to unravel the seemingly mysterious topic. And we thought the best way to do that would be to list down and answer the most common and frequently asked questions about rain and flood coverage.

Here is what every car owner needs to know about rain and flood coverage within car insurance, and how insurance companies treat the damage and claims arising due to such perils.

Do all car insurance policies cover vehicle damage due to flooding?

Vehicle damage due to natural perils like heavy rains and storms is covered under comprehensive car insurance. However, the conditions and admissibility criteria can vary across insurance providers. You must review the policy schedule of benefits and go through the fine print surrounding such coverage.

For example, some insurers clearly specify that flood damage will only be covered if the car is parked and not driven during a flood. You are also required to file a police report in order to submit a claim arising due to rain damage.

Flood-related damage is not covered under Third Party Liability car insurance. By default, such policies do not cover any damage caused to the policyholder’s vehicle.

Is my car covered if it was driven during a flood, instead of being parked?

Some insurance companies will cover vehicle damage due to rains and flooding, provided the vehicle is stationary and not being operated during such conditions. This means that your claim may be denied if it is established that your car was being driven during a flood, instead of being parked. It is best to request an explanation of your policy before purchasing it. Most insurance companies will be able to tell you whether their criteria to accept a claim includes the car being stationary or driven.

What happens if the flood is declared a ‘natural disaster’?

Any loss or damage caused due to perils of nature is generally covered by most comprehensive insurance policies, unless such a weather phenomenon is declared a natural disaster by the country’s concerned authority. However, an insurance company can extend coverage to natural disasters and consider claims on a case-to-case basis. Refer to your insurance policy document for specific information about what’s covered.

Is the damage covered in case of an accident on a flooded road?

As per the Unified Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy Against Loss and Damage issued by the Insurance Authority of the UAE, comprehensive car insurance excludes any loss or damage as a result of accidents caused due to natural disasters like floods, tornados and hurricanes. However, the best thing to do is to read the policy details in your insurance contract, as each insurance company has its own conditions.

What is the maximum financial coverage for such claims?

The maximum financial coverage is limited to the insured value of the car or the market value (whichever is lowest). However, if the damage to the vehicle is extensive and deemed difficult to repair or if the cost of repairs exceeds 50 percent of the car’s current market value, the insurance company may consider it a total loss and compensate the policyholder according to the terms of the policy.

Is there an excess/deductible payable by the policyholder?

The standard policy excess or deductible (policyholder’s out-of-pocket expense) usually ranges from AED250 to AED2,000 depending on the car insurance policy chosen. This excess is payable by the policyholder when making a claim, irrespective of whether the claim arises due to natural calamities or not.

What is the procedure to file a claim resulting from flood damage?

In order to file a flood-related car insurance claim, you are required to submit copies of your vehicle registration card and valid driving license, along with the original police report describing the damage sustained by the vehicle.

All insurance companies require a police report, so make sure you contact the police to report the damage immediately.

What should you do if your car breaks down in a flood situation?

Experts recommend that you do no re-start the engine, as doing so can cause serious water damage to the engine. On top of this, many insurance companies request that you do not move or open the car when damaged by the flood.

You should file a police report and request for a roadside recovery agency to tow your car out. If your insurance policy covers breakdown recovery, you can call the insurer to request the service.

Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of Souqalmal.com