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Essential car insurance advice for border crossers

Anyone who fancies a trip outside the United Arab Emirates but would rather not go on a plane might be considering a neighbouring nation that they can simply drive to by car, such as Oman.

However, anyone planning such a trip with their motor vehicle would be well advised to undertake a few preparations beforehand.

Even if you have ensured that your car has been given a thorough service, with its brakes, wipers and tyres inspected and oil changed, one thing remains to be checked: your car insurance.

Your UAE car insurance policy may seem to include geographical areas such as the GCC and Oman, but this does not necessarily mean that you are eligible to cross over the border.

In 2011, the UAE Insurance Authority issued a circular forcing all motor insurance companies in the UAE to have this cover extended only with the ‘Orange Card’.

This was specifically for cars licensed within the UAE that want to cross over the border into Oman, because that nation is not among the Arab countries that were signatories of the 1975 Arab Card Insurance Convention.

It is therefore important to pay a visit to the office of your car insurance company before you head off and ensure that you have the Orange Card issued to you, as this rule is now being enforced more strictly.

It is possible to arrange temporary car insurance coverage when you actually get to the border.

However, third-party liability is the only policy you will be offered at the border, and although this is a less expensive option, many car owners do not realise that it does not constitute comprehensive car insurance.

This means that if anything happens to your vehicle or its occupants while outside the UAE, the responsibility will be wholly yours.

This includes the cost of car repairs and liability for any damage to occupants of the vehicle should an accident take place.

This means that getting comprehensive car insurance prior to crossing the border is definitely the smart thing to do.

Although there are a number of great car insurance companies located in the UAE, those intending to cross the border with their vehicle would be better off if their policies are issued by multinational firms during registration, according to experts.

Gargash Insurance’s business development manager Fawaz Ebrahim says that there are many reliable companies in the UAE that offer coverage quality that is no different to their multinational equivalents.

However, Ebrahim admits that these international firms do have an edge because they come with a larger network of helplines and branches in the event of assistance being required while you are outside the UAE.

International companies also provide multinational toll-free numbers that continue to be available even on public holidays, which makes them better options in the event that you need advice or roadside assistance while away from home, according to Ebrahim.

Whether you choose an international or local car insurance company to keep you covered on your road trip outside the UAE, make sure that your phone has all the essential numbers saved, with copies in the glovebox of your car or in your wallet.