Insurance companies in the UAE are starting to receive claims from car owners whose vehicles were damaged in the flash floods that caused widespread damage in the Northern Emirates last week.
Insurers told The National that they are expecting more claims from customers once they receive a police report for their damaged cars.
Seven people died and at least 870 were rescued after torrential rain overnight on July 27 led to flash floods in parts of Fujairah, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Julien Audrerie, head of consumer lines at Oman Insurance, said the company had received claims from motorists, but no home insurance claims arising from the floods.
However, he said there has been a surge in interest from customers planning to take out home insurance.
“We have received some motor-related claims recently due to the flood,” Mr Audrerie told The National.
“We expect some more, as people get a police report for their damaged cars. People should have comprehensive insurance for their claims.
“[We have had] no claims so far for individual home-related claims, as most likely home insurance is less prevalent in the Northern Emirates.
“People can opt for tailor-made covers based on their needs and budget, to ensure complete protection for their home and assets.”
Al Fujairah National Insurance said it has received claims from clients whose vehicles were damaged in the floods.
“We are expecting more claims after the recent floods, although the exact figure is still unclear,” said Antoine Maalouli, chief executive at Al Fujairah National Insurance.
“We are covering all vehicle damages from the floods for our customers with motor comprehensive insurance policies. We urge people to go with comprehensive insurance.”
Some motorists from Fujairah whose vehicles were badly damaged as a result of the floods are facing costly repairs or having to scrap them altogether, because of a lack of insurance cover.
Many have third-party insurance, which does not cover any damage caused to the policyholder’s vehicle in cases of natural disasters.
Comprehensive insurance policies often include natural disaster cover, but Mr Audrerie advised motorists to check that flooding is included.
“Clients need to take comprehensive insurance and make sure flood is one of the covers, as few insurers cover it. It is one of the cases where looking at the policy covers pays off,” Mr Audrerie said,
Hassan Ibrahim, a Fujairah resident from Egypt, said his Toyota car was damaged in the floods last week.
He took his car to a garage and contacted his insurance company but was advised he had only third-party cover.
“I didn’t know that third-party policy won’t cover me in case of floods. The cost of repairing the car is equal to the value of it. I’m thinking to sell it as scrap,” Mr Ibrahim said.
On Tuesday, Fujairah's government asked residents to report damage to their homes, vehicles and possessions as it seeks to record the scale of last week's deadly floods.
Residents and motorists can document damaged items on Fujairah Police website here.
Authorities have not said whether there will be a compensation plan. However, the federal government has said all efforts would be made to help those affected by the flooding.
Rashid Mohammed, an Emirati resident in Fujairah city, has comprehensive insurance for his Nissan car but the insurance company said they won’t pay for repairs as natural disasters were not included in his policy.
“My car was parked inside my house in Al Faseel area but the water went inside the car. I checked my insurance policy and it didn't include floods,” Mr Mohammed said.
“The insurance company told me they can’t cover the cost of repairs as per the contract. I will be more careful on renewal of insurance policy and make sure to include natural disasters.”
Mr Mohammed said that he has also submitted the damage to his car and home on the police website.
“Water didn’t reach inside my home as I built it higher than the ground. My front yard was damaged and hope the committee will consider this,” said Mr Mohammed, a father of five.
Legal adviser Mohammed Najeeb told The National that there is no clear definition in the Civil Transactions Law relating to a natural disaster.
He advises people to make sure natural disaster is included in the insurance policy to be financially protected.
“As per article 1026 of the law, insurance is a contract according to which the insured and the insurance company co-operate to face the risks or accidents that may face the insured,” Mr Najeeb said.
“People should take time to evaluate the insurance policies and add any additional coverage to their motor or home insurance.”
He said the insured can register a dispute with the UAE Insurance Authority if they believe the insurance company has failed to fulfil their rights.
“It is an attempt to solve the dispute in a friendly manner. If the settlement didn’t happen then the dispute will go to the civil court,” he said.