Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 July 2019

Renting in the UAE? Don’t skip home contents insurance

With only 9 per cent of UAE residents signing up for home contents insurance, the recent fire in the Palm Jumeirah apartment building highlights why it is so important for everyone to take out a policy.
The Oceana complex on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai caught fire this week, and woe to those tenants who did not have insurance on their belongings. Courtesy Gary Barnett
The Oceana complex on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai caught fire this week, and woe to those tenants who did not have insurance on their belongings. Courtesy Gary Barnett

The tenants and home owners affected by this week’s fire in the Palm Jumeirah Adriatic building, part of the Oceana complex, may be finding out for themselves the costly mistake of not having home insurance in place.

While many assume, this is purely a landlord’s responsibility, this is not the case. According to a survey, released this week by ServiceMarket and Qatar Insurance, only 9 per cent of UAE residents have home insurance. With the majority of residents (70 per cent) preferring to rent a property over buying one (according to a survey this year by propertyfinder.ae), it means few renters have adequate cover to protect their possessions in times of emergency. Here, Souqalmal.com reveals why home contents insurance is as relevant for renters as it is for owners:

Still on the fence about home contents insurance?

Tenants mistakenly assume it to be the landlord’s responsibility to insure the property. Legally, your landlord is only required to have home insurance in cases where the property is mortgaged. And even if your landlord does have home insurance in place, this will only cover the physical premises of the property and not the contents of the house. So as a tenant, your contents and possessions are still not protected, should there be an unfortunate incident such as fire, flood or theft.

Considering the worst-case scenario, if you lose all your personal possessions, contents insurance is a must to be able to minimise the monetary loss. While it isn’t compulsory, consider the cost of replacing everything you own and compare it with the nominal cost of getting a home contents insurance policy.

How exactly does home contents insurance protect you?

Insurance providers define contents as household goods and other items such as clothing, valuables, furniture and fixtures, electronics that are located within your premises. However, these policies can be customised to include additional cover, such as for personal belongings, accidental damage, domestic help and others.

Fire, explosion, lightning and earthquakes

Home contents insurance typically covers you against incidents such as these. It will also insure against water leakage, storm or flood damage. One of the main reasons why home contents insurance is not considered a priority by UAE residents is because many think that the country is not exposed to such risks. However, the recent incidents of fires in many residential towers has increased awareness and highlighted the importance of home insurance.

Theft or attempted theft

Even though burglaries are less likely to occur here, it’s better to be protected for complete peace of mind. Insurers define theft or attempted theft as an act of stealing which involves the use of force or violence when breaking into or exiting from your premises. The occurrence of such an incident can be quite disturbing and the cost of fixing the damage and destruction can make it even more troublesome. Home contents insurance also covers damage due to acts of vandalism or malicious persons. Keep in mind, in such events it is important to register a police report before to be able make a successful claim.

Rent and alternative accommodation

Events such as fire or flooding often cause much destruction and make your house unfit to live in. In difficult times like these, home insurance can be a big relief. Most policies will provide you with the lost rent or cost of alternative accommodation while your house is undergoing repairs.

Legal liability

You may find yourself in trouble if something were to happen to a visitor or an employee in your premises. You will be held legally responsible for any loss, damage or injury caused to a third party or their property. However, there is less reason to worry if you have a policy in place. The legal liability cover includes all such liabilities that may arise. Another major concern that tenants have is to keep their landlord’s furniture and fittings in good condition. Tenants/occupiers liability cover of your home contents insurance covers you against loss or damage to these.

Replacement as new

Most home insurance companies will settle your claim on a “repair or replacement as new” basis. This means that home contents that are damaged will be repaired (if there is scope) or replaced (if completely destroyed). This holds true for most household articles except for clothing and household linen.

pf@thenational.ae

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Updated: December 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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