We often just sign up for the first car insurance policy that comes our way without giving much thought to the extent of coverage it offers. This approach, though convenient, can result in hefty losses that can be easily avoided through a comprehensive car insurance policy.
On the other hand, if you include too many unnecessary add-ons in your policy, then you would end up paying more for it than you need to. Here are some of the most important car insurance add-ons to help you make an informed decision.
Comprehensive versus third-party liability (TPL): This one is a no-brainer. Since TPL only covers the other car and passengers in case of an accident, you would have to pay for any damage to your car out of your own pocket if the accident was caused by you. So it's recommended that you should opt for comprehensive insurance, which will cover your car as well. Not only do comprehensive policies cover accidents, but also any damage caused by vandalism, fire and theft. The coverage even extends to the driver and passengers who require medical assistance after the accident. You're also likely to be paid faster because the provider will pay no matter who caused the accident, whereas TPL policy holders would have to wait while the provider investigates to find out whose fault it was. Most banks in the UAE require you to get comprehensive insurance for a car loan.
Roadside assistance: This add-on can prove to be a lifesaver if your car breaks down. Help will be just a phone call away round the clock. Your insurance provider will send someone to your location to repair your car or tow it to a shop, or assist if you have a flat tire or ran out of fuel.
GCC coverage: If you travel frequently across borders in the GCC, then you should definitely consider this one. With this add-on, you can enjoy coverage even if you are driving in another country in the region. However, not all insurance policies offer this option.
Off-road coverage: Most standard insurance policies will not cover you if you are in an accident while you are travelling off-road. So it stands to reason that every adventure buff and owner of a 4x4 vehicle who likes activities like dune bashing would want to have this coverage.
Agency repair: If you want your official dealer to repair the car after it has been in an accident, then you should sign up for agency repair. Your insurance provider will pick a repair shop of their choice if you don't opt for this. A lot of providers don't offer this add-on for cars that are older than 2 years.
You should consider how likely it is that the add-ons listed above will prove to be useful and customise your policy accordingly. Not all insurance providers might offer all of these so you might have to do a bit of comparisons. Many UAE residents don't realise that if their existing insurance provider does not offer these options or is too expensive, then they can switch their insurance provider when it's time to renew their car insurance. Don't forget to get a 'no claims' discount at the time of renewal if you are a safe driver and have not been in any accidents recently.
Be sure to read the fine print to fully understand what's included in the policy, such as types of natural disasters. It's also helpful to know the limits and conditions for each type of coverage.
The author is senior writer at ServiceMarket.com. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
By Obed Suhail