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Fri 6 Mar 2015 02:08 AM

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UAE residents snub insurance cover despite Torch Tower blaze

New survey reveals 67% not interested in taking out home contents cover even after high-profile fire in Dubai Marina

UAE residents snub insurance cover despite Torch Tower blaze

Two thirds of UAE residents say they are still not interested in taking out home contents insurance cover despite the recent Torch Tower blaze in Dubai Marina, according to a new survey.

The Souqalmal.com poll showed that 86 percent of respondents do not have content insurance of which 67 percent have no plans to take cover even in the light of the fire last month.

Of those who do not have insurance, 45 percent said they did not see contents insurance as a priority while 34 percent said they were not sure how to obtain it.

The findings were similar to a poll conducted following a blaze at Tamweel Tower in Dubai in 2012, indicating a significant gap in people's awareness about the importance of home contents insurance, said Souqalmal.com CEO Ambareen Musa.

"The results of today's survey confirm that this gap has not shrunk even after multiple incidents - like the recent Torch Tower fire which left 101 apartments inaccessible to this day due to the extent of fire damage. Very little has changed in attitude towards protecting home contents," she added.

The results of the survey revealed that five percent of respondents have previously been hit by loss of possessions due to a fire.

Many respondents also said they think that fire risks and therefore home contents insurance are relevant only to people who live in high-rise towers.

"The reality is that fires and floods can happen anytime to anyone's home. More importantly any damage to the property and that of the neighbour's is the responsibility of the person who caused the fire accidentally or not. So not only do you have liability towards your landlord but to the next door apartment as well," said Musa.

More than a third of respondents without home contents insurance claimed that they do not know or understand the process of obtaining cover.

Musa added: "There still seems to be room for education and awareness around protection of one's possessions and liability when renting or owning a property. There needs to be more awareness built around the cost and the process of getting content insurance."

Nearly a sixth of apartment units in the blaze-hit The Torch tower in Dubai are still not accessible to residents, the building's insurer said last week.

Oman Insurance Company (OIC), the largest insurer in the UAE, said out of the 676 apartments units in the Dubai Marina tower, 101 are still not habitable and the affected owners and tenants have been offered alternative accommodation.

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