Given how many car insurance policies are arranged through us, you can imagine we get some pretty good insight into the sort of coverage that UAE residents are looking for.
But what often surprises me is that, sometimes, our users will say they want a certain type of coverage, but actually mean they want something else.
This isn't the fault of our users; it's more to do with the fact that the definitions around insurance are often opaque and confusing for anyone not involved in the industry. Obviously, our advisors are always on hand to ensure that our users aren't buying things they don't need, but it's pretty clear that there are some reasonably pervasive myths about insurance in the UAE.
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So I figured I'd use this month's column to address some of those myths. Obviously, the more you know about the insurance industry, the better-placed you'll be to make a sensible decision about the sort of coverage you need. And if you take this advice on board, you won't be caught out with less coverage than you need in the event of an accident.
MYTH 1: Personal accident cover pays for your medical bills in the event of an accident
When you tick the box for additional personal accident cover when buying car insurance, you may (quite understandably) assume that this will cover your medical bills in the event of an injury from a car accident. Unfortunately, that's not the case; personal accident cover only amounts to lump-sum payouts in the event of very specific injuries.
Here's how it works: if you lose your life in a car accident, your personal accident cover will typically award your family up to Dh200,000. In the event of blindness, you'll typically be eligible for up to Dh100,000 per eye, and if you lose a limb, it's Dh50,000 each. These are one-off payouts that are given to you in a lump sum once a diagnosis has been confirmed. As a result, you can't simply show a copy of your policy document at the hospital if you're injured during an accident - you'll have to rely on your health insurance policy to cover your medical care.
Myth 2: Oman cover means you can drive in Oman
GCC-wide cover is a pretty common feature on most gold car insurance packages - it's one of the key things that people ask for when they're looking to buy decent coverage. But the catch here is that this type of cover doesn't actually allow you to legally drive in another GCC country.
What this feature actually offers is protection against 'own damage' - i.e., damage to your car that you're responsible for - in another GCC country. For example, if you hit a tree in Oman, you can claim back the cost of the repairs to your car that are needed from that. However, with this sort of cover, you're not insured for third-party damage, which is a legal requirement in every GCC country. This means that, if you're going on a road trip to another Gulf country, you should buy basic, third-party cover from a local insurer at the border, and then you'll be covered for both own damage and third-party damage.
Myth 3: Your insurance policy covers mechanical repairs
A lot of people assume that their fully-comprehensive policy will cover the costs of mechanical repairs in the event that the car breaks down. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. The job of the insurer is to, in the event of an accident, return your car to the state it was in when the policy was issued. This means that mechanical repairs may be covered if they're needed after an accident.
What's not covered, though, are general mechanical repairs that are needed if your car breaks down or has fallen into a state of disrepair. For that, you'll need a warranty, which may be included when you buy a new car, or can be purchased from your dealer. Either way, it's important to remember that your insurer isn't responsible for your car's general maintenance.
Myth 4: My car dealer will give me a good insurance deal
This is a pretty big one. It's always tempting when buying a new car to have the dealer arrange everything for you. You simply pay your deposit, fill out some forms and the dealer will take care of the finance, insurance and registration for you. But insurance is one thing you should keep under your own control, as the margins that dealers charge on these insurance policies are out of this world.
By Jon Richards
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