x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

How can I insure my car back home?

Have a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

I own a car in the UK, my home country, but have an insurance question I hope you can help with. I have tried speaking to someone in the UK, but timing is awkward and calls expensive. I am trying to take out insurance, but am receiving conflicting advice about my options. One person has told me that I must declare that I am non-resident and another has said to give a UK address and tell them I live there permanently. What is the best thing to do? MF Abu Dhabi

Providing false evidence on a motor insurance form is illegal in any jurisdiction. If you read your policy, you will see that the insurance company has the right to render the agreement invalid if they discover that you have withheld or misrepresented any information. If you were involved in an accident and the insurance company and/or the police discover that you do not live permanently in the UK, not only would you lose your insurance cover and have to pay for any repairs out of your own pocket, but also you could face prosecution for driving without insurance, as well as making false statements for the purposes of obtaining motor insurance.

This is actually a more serious issue than a lot of people realise, so it is best to be aware of the potential ramifications. To my knowledge, most UK car insurance policies stipulate that all drivers on the policy must be UK residents, and expats back home on holiday do not count as residents. Some companies will allow non-residents to take out insurance, but these come with a higher premium. To have proper UK car insurance, you need to be absolutely honest with the insurance company from the outset; otherwise, even a minor accident for which you are not at fault could lead to major complications.

I am planning on resigning from my current employer to take up another job in another free zone. I have yet to take any holiday this year so am owed around two weeks holiday. Can I insist that my current employer let me take these after resigning, so that I can leave and start my new job earlier? I simply want to deduct the two weeks from the one-month notice period, but can my employer refuse this?

CF Dubai Your current employer does not have to allow you to take outstanding holidays during the notice period, although it is entirely up to the company in question. If you are not permitted to take the holiday time during this period, you are entitled to pay in lieu as part of your final salary. Even if you are allowed to take part of your notice period as holiday you may not be able to take up new employment until your current visa has been cancelled and your new one arranged.

I own a property in the UAE, as well as a number of other assets, and have been told that I need a will for these. I already have a will, which was written in the UK a few years ago. Do I need a different one for the UAE, or are the requests in my existing will valid here? I have been given conflicting information, but want to ensure that the things I have worked for go to my family per my wishes.

MC Dubai As a British National, only your final will is taken into consideration and you remain subject to UK regulations regarding your assets at time of death, as well as liable to UK Inheritance Tax on your worldwide assets. The making of a new will revokes the previous one, hence the term "last will and testament". If you made another will, your previous one would be invalid. If your assets do not include property and are not of huge value, your best option is to make some minor alterations to the existing will by way of a codicil.

But as you own property, you may need to make significant changes that would merit the writing of a new will. This should take into consideration your assets worldwide and should be written to take into account local rules regarding inheritance of the property you own here, as well as those in your home country. I strongly recommend that you use an experienced lawyer to arrange a will, as this is a complex matter and will-writing services do not have the same level of understanding of legal issues. Please contact me if you would like a recommendation.

A few days ago I bought a rather expensive camera from a well-known store in Dubai, but the following day I decided that it was not really what I wanted and that I would prefer to buy a different model. I went back to the store, with the receipt, hoping to exchange it, but it turned out that they do not stock the camera I actually want. I asked for a refund, but this was refused. The camera is still in the original box and has not been opened. I have been told that you can deal with these matters, so can you make the shop give me my money back? Can I make a complaint to somebody?

GB Dubai Retailers in the UAE are not obliged to provide a refund just because someone has changed their mind about an item they bought. There are consumer protection laws in the UAE, but these are designed to ensure that people are given refunds or replacements when items are faulty. A few stores in the UAE will offer a refund in your situation, but this is purely a goodwill gesture and not a legal obligation.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae