There's no escaping it: car insurance is mandatory in the Emirates and you can't register your vehicle without it. If it's time to renew your policy or you have bought your first car and don't know what you need, there are a few issues you need to be aware of. It's best to start by doing your homework and working out the type of cover you need before signing on the dotted line. But if you are still unsure about what to choose, Rumi M Sanjana, the director of general insurance at Nexus Insurance Brokers, says an independent financial adviser can offer guidance.
1) Don't get overwhelmed
Sit back, take a deep breath and don't get overwhelmed by the huge range of deals available across the UAE. From insurance companies and brokers, banks and even the car dealers themselves keen to pair you off with their provider of choice, you will be presented with plenty of automotive food for thought.
2) Don't go it alone
The best option is to consult an independent financial adviser who can guide you with regard to the appropriate policy. This will ensure that the adequate motor, liability and accident cover is in place to provide protection against claims arising from a motor vehicle accident.
3) Understand the maths
Premiums are calculated according to the year, make and model of the car, size of the engine, age of the driver, claims history and value of the motor vehicle. Rates ranging between 2.7 per cent and 7 per cent per annum could be on offer in the market, but this would depend on the above factors. Policies from reputed insurers normally include 24/7 accident and recovery service, liability to members of family, personal injury cover for the driver, repairs at authorised dealers (depending on the age of the vehicle), off-road cover and medical expenses in an emergency situation.
4) Third-party only insurance
This might be a cheaper option, but it will only cover injuries or death to third parties, as well as damage to their vehicle or property. You and your car are not insured. If you have taken out a loan to buy your car, most banks will insist that you have comprehensive cover because it protects the asset - in this case, your car - and they will insist on their name being incorporated as mortgagor in the policy.
5) No-claim discounts
Driving safely does have its advantages and motorists who can present an original no-claims bonus certificate from their previous insurance company could be eligible for a discount on their motor insurance premiums. The discount can range from zero per cent to 40 per cent. But this, of course, depends on your claims history.
6) Mind your health
You should also remember to reassess coverage related to health insurance. Although comprehensive car insurance will cover you for any accidental emergency, long-term injuries that require continuing treatment would be better covered by a separate medical insurance policy. The chance of sustaining a permanent disability may also lead you to review your injury cover, which should pay out if you sustain an injury that prevents you from working, and earning, at your original capacity.
7) Drive carefully
Don't drive under the influence, don't text or chat on your phone, don't speed and keep your eyes on the road. Driving can be a pleasure, but there is no need to be distracted or to take any chances.