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FNC to debate car insurance coverage over rainwater damage

On 21st January, a Federal National Council (FNC) member will put a question to the Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, over car insurance coverage pertaining to rainwater damage.

The question will ask what motorists in the United Arab Emirates need to know as well as the right policy to get and the processes that need to be in place before insurance payouts will be provided by insurance companies. 

The First Deputy Speaker of the House, Hamad Al Rahoumi, says that clarification is required over car insurance coverage for rainwater damage, whether it covers vehicle damages caused by flooding, and whether rainwater is judged as a natural disaster. 

Al Rahoumi adds that clarification is also needed in regard to the steps that need to be taken before repairs to vehicles can begin. 

The issue of insurance coverage as it pertains to rainfall damage remains controversial and needs to be finally settled, according to Al Rahoumi.

The recent heavy rain in the UAE has seen many motorists turning to talk radio shows and social media sites to try to find out if the cars damaged by the rainwater are covered by their insurance policies. 

Experts say that damage caused to a vehicle by rainwater may only be covered by specific kinds of car insurance coverage. 

The Unified Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy states that comprehensive insurance policies must cover damages to vehicles unless competent authorities have declared a weather pattern to be a natural calamity. 

Damages caused by the recent heavy downpour will be covered by car insurance firms unless that declaration is made by authorities, according to the UAE Insurance Authority. 

However, only comprehensive car insurance policies cover such damage. 

The kind of repairs that a vehicle will need after being damaged by rainwater will not be covered by third-party insurance, which only covers damage caused by the motorist to other vehicles. 

There are some insurance companies that do include natural calamities as an extra benefit for certain car insurance policies. 

Experts say that residents should take out car insurance policies that do cover natural calamities because they tend to be very unpredictable at the best of times. 

Policyholders should check the policy schedule of benefits for coverage of natural calamities and examine the fine print to ensure that they would be covered. 

Many car owners just see car insurance as a box that needs to be ticked and fail to check the fine print, says the co-founder of Dana Insurance Brokers, Sanjay Kalia. 

In order to claim even from a comprehensive car insurance policy, the car must have been parked and not been driven through the streets in the middle of a flood. 

There should also be a police report on the condition of the vehicle and the circumstances that led to it.

Car owners should also be aware that a number of insurance companies request that the vehicle not be opened or moved after being damaged. 

Many insurance companies in the UAE have already been inundated with scores of damage claims after the heavy rainfall, according to the owner and co-founder of insureatoasis.com, Sridhar Subbaraman.