Ambareen Musa, founder of Souqalmal.com, talks about why it’s wise to consider coverage for your home-helper.
September 16, 2013 6:05 by kippreport
Hiring a maid to help run the home and look after children is a common occurrence in the UAE.
When someone first hires a maid, they will have to budget for the visa, annual flights to the maid’s country of origin, salary, accommodation (if there is no maid’s room in the villa or apartment) and living expenses. However, many employers forget to include insurance for their maid – which could cost them further down the line.
Insurance for a maid comes in many forms; health insurance, in particular, is vital, as you want your home-helper to be in peak physical form, so that she can carry out all of the tasks necessary to keep the home running smoothly.
But it’s not only the maid’s health that is important, protecting your home and your finances in the event of the maid having an accident and/or theft from the home or outside is also key.
For this, you need a policy that not only covers the maid accidentally injuring herself on your premises, but also the risk of her accidentally destroying someone else’s property. An example of this is when the maid is out with your child and she pushes the pram into a neighbour’s car, damaging it in the process. Similarly, the maid accidentally starts a fire, causing damages to neighbouring properties could also be cause for concern.
Compare all the home insurance policies available on the market and you will see that many offer cover for domestic helpers. This tends to be an optional extra, but if you have a maid, it is wise to add it on. After all, when a maid first comes into your home, you often know very little about them and, sadly, there is a risk that they might steal from you. On Chartis’ Home Contents Gold policy, for example, you can choose to insure your maid for up to AED30,000 – this includes covering costs associated with your maid getting injured in your home.
How about health insurance for your maid?
It’s also very important to insure your maid’s health. After all, a maid who is sick will cost a lot, if you are paying for every doctor’s appointment. The first thing to remember is that the rules differ between different emirates. While you need to take out a private policy in Dubai and the northern emirates, in Abu Dhabi, basic insurance is subsidised by the government – mainly because it is compulsory.
Looking at Abu Dhabi first, all employers must apply to the government’s scheme, Daman. To do this it needs copies of the maid’s and employer’s work permit, visa and passport, as well as a photograph of the maid, evidence of the employer’s personal health insurance policy and a document stating the maid’s salary. Take all of this to your nearest Daman office and apply for the basic plan, which starts at approximately AED600.
In Dubai, employers can rely on the government medical card, which entitles the maid to treatment at a government hospital. This costs a few hundred dirhams, but there can be additional costs every time the maid visits a doctor and medicines are charged on top of this as well. This is why signing the maid up for her own health insurance policy might be a wise move. The best option is to find a basic plan that suits your maid’s needs. Ask her about any pre-existing medical conditions she may have, so that you can be sure that they are covered too if they arise again.
To apply, you will need copies of the maid’s passport and visa, as well as copies of your own documents. The insurance fee will depend on the maid’s medical history and her age.
By Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of financial comparison site Souqalmal.com.