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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Can I insure my pets in the UAE?

The new Abu Dhabi resident wants cover for their two dogs

Two dogs go swimming at pet resort My Second Home. The readers is looking for pet insurers in the UAE. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Two dogs go swimming at pet resort My Second Home. The readers is looking for pet insurers in the UAE. Chris Whiteoak / The National

I recently moved to Abu Dhabi, bringing my two pet dogs with me. I would like to insure them, but am having problems finding a company that does this. Can you give me details of any companies that offer pet insurance in the UAE? LL, Abu Dhabi

There are currently no insurance companies offering domestic pet insurance in the UAE. The providers that have in the past offered such a contract have withdrawn their policies and say they have no plans to reintroduce them. One option may be some of the more localised options offered by a number of veterinary clinics across the country. These are not insurance policies but a way of making a regular payment to one clinic that covers a number of health checks and vaccinations at a discount from the standard rates. As the costs are spread, and discounts are offered for additional treatments, this can be a way of making essential pet care a little more affordable. Ask at your local veterinary practices to see what they offer.

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I used to live in Dubai and took out some credit cards. Currently I am back in Pakistan and cannot repay them so how can I tell the banks to stop the interest and the legal action? I spoke to them and they would not reduce it or listen. AA, Pakistan

When anyone borrows money, and using a credit card is borrowing money, they have a legal obligation to repay the debt. It is very clear that repayments must be made each month, based on the total amount outstanding and that interest will be applied on any balances that are not repaid in full each month. The rate of interest will have been in the small print, which everyone should always read, together with any penalties for late payment. If you do not understand the terms, then it is the responsibility of the individual to ask for clarification.

If someone leaves the UAE, the liability for repaying any money they have borrowed does not disappear and they are still legally liable, and morally too. The banks will expect payment in line with the contract that was signed when the credit cards were taken out.

If the repayments stop then the banks are going to chase someone for the money owed, whether or not they are in the UAE, even if they have little or no jurisdiction in the country in which a person resides. If payments are missed for three months then the bank has the option to file a police case and this will usually result in the individual being unable to re-enter the UAE without being detained, so they will not be able to work here again until a debt is paid off in full. Until payments recommence, or the debt is paid off, any bank can continue to make requests for payment.

The banks can get rather heavy handed but as too many people fail to repay what they owe, and many of those have no intention of doing so, this causes an unfair knock-on effect, especially for those who are struggling due to no fault of their own. Financial absconders are part of the total problem.

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My employer is based out of a free zone in Dubai and my basic salary is just 37 per cent of my gross salary. I would like to know is this correct in law? After 10 years with the organisation, I am planning to leave in the next few months, but this will have a bad effect on my end of service payment. Is there anything I can do? SP, Dubai

There is nothing in UAE Lab­our Law that specifies the split between basic salary and allowances, so it is down to the discretion of the company but it is expected to be reasonable and justifiable. The end of service gratuity is calculated on the final basic salary, so companies should not keep this artificially low to reduce their future liabilities. The general expectation is that the salary would not be less than 60 per cent of the total, but if it is less than 50 per cent the employee could have a claim for unfair treatment.

If the visa has been issued in the name of the employer, queries should be directed to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, either to their helpline (800 665) or via one of the Tas’heel offices. If the visa is issued by the free zone itself, then contact them directly.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only