Flooded cars – will the insurance cover the damage?
Founder of Souqalmal.com discusses insurance options of recent flooding in The Gardens.
July 24, 2013 2:03 by kippreport
Flooding caused by a burst water main caused mayhem for the UAE residents living near Dubai’s Ibn Battuta last week. But the biggest casualties were their cars. So will car insurers pay for the damage? Our team at Souqalmal.com finds out.
A burst water main sent gallons of water cascading into the streets around Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai last week, forcing dozens of drivers in the area to flee as their cars were flooded.
Now, almost a week after the incident, many car owners are wondering if their car insurance policy will cover the cost of the damage.
According to The National, DEWA has told those affected that they could be eligible for compensation from the authority. But there is no guarantee if this will happen, so the residents should turn to their car insurers first.
And this is where it gets tricky. Whether or not they are covered for the damage would depend on their particular car insurance policy. While flood damage is generally covered when it comes to houses, the story can be very different when it comes to cars.
Now it’s wise to remember that any flooding due to a rain storm, cyclone or any other water disasters, such as, the one seen in Dubai last week falls under the comprehensive coverage option of an auto insurance policy.
Comprehensive cover should protect a car owner against anything that can happen to a vehicle other than an accident. The problem here is that car owners often eliminate elements of their cover to save money and one of the first things that they go for is comprehensive insurance – particularly on older cars. Instead, they opt for third party liability insurance, the minimum requirement that protects them against legal liability resulting from an accident caused by the vehicle.
In addition to these two polices, you can also choose optional extras, effectively tailoring your policy to suit your needs. While some policies, such as, Orient Insurance’s Company Motor Plus, clearly states that it offers protection against flooding, storms and hurricanes – others do not and you need to request this as an add on.
The other thing to consider is deductibles. If a policy does cover flooding, car owners should then look at their excess fee or the amount that the car owner pays out of their own pocket on a claim before the insurance company pays the rest. Depending on the policy you have, that excess could be zero or it could be as high as AED2,000 or more.
For example, if you have an excess fee of AED2,000 and a bill for flood damage of AED1,500, you are still going to have to pay for the damage yourself.
Remember the exact cover you have varies between policies and insurers, so if you want to be covered against all eventualities, you need to shop around for the best car insurance policy.
To ensure that you are completely covered, even for flooding, read the small print when you sign up for a new policy or ask your insurer directly. After all, there is no guarantee that you are automatically covered and the UAE has a history with this type of issues.
In the spring of 2010, following several days of heavy rain, the Arabic newspaper Emarat Al Youm, reported that the insurance companies in the UAE refused to cover the damages to vehicles caused by heavy rains.
Companies dismissed the claims on the grounds that the policyholder standard imposed by the UAE Ministry of Economy did not cover natural disasters. The newspaper added that only 40 per cent of insurance polices in the country, at that time, covered damage specifically caused by flooding. So, make sure that you know exactly what your policy covers so that you don’t get caught out.
Ambareen Musa is the founder and CEO of Souqalmal.com. Having moved to the Middle East in 2008, Ambareen worked as a consultant for Bain & Company – Middle East and focused on the financial services sector, before joining MasterCard Middle East and Africa to set up their consulting arm, before leaving two years later to become the founder of Souqalmal.com in 2011.