Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

UAE residents advised to get home insurance after widespread flood damage

Tenants and homeowners could be hit with bills for tens of thousands of dirhams in the event of a flood or fire

UAE residents have been urged to insure their homes and contents after heavy rain caused widespread flooding and damage across the country.

Residents have been left counting the cost of damage caused by leaking homes or flooded cars.

Some neighbourhoods suffered temporary power outages and malfunctioning air conditioning.

Though the heavy rain took many by surprise, insurance experts say the frequency of these storms meant it was worth protecting homes now to prevent significant financial losses in future.

Many people assume that home insurance is expensive because it protects valuable items but this is not the case

Zia Ul Jaweed, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance

“It’s important to protect the things that matter to you,” said Zia Ul Jaweed, claims director at Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance.

“Many people assume that home insurance is expensive because it protects valuable items but this is not the case.”

A survey by yallacompare.com in 2018 found only 11 per cent people in the UAE are subscribed to a policy, compared with about 75 per cent in the UK. Insuring home contents up to Dh100,000 costs about Dh1 a day, said Mr Ul Jaweed.

He also suggested some tips for residents to minimise property damage during stormy weather.

“Water can easily collect around your property because of a lack of proper drainage system and may seep in through doors and other openings,” he said.

“Sandbags help absorb water and it’s always a good idea to have some handy to place near areas where water collects if your property suffers from poor drainage.”

He said it was also vital to check drains frequently and remove any leaves or dirt to prevent them from becoming blocked. Another potential hazard during a storm is a falling tree, he said.

He said residents with a garden should secure their outdoor furniture as damage to patio doors is a common claim following storms in the UAE.

“A loose chair, a planter or even a table can do considerable damage to your home or car if it drifts away in the wind and hits something," he said.

“Bring your loose items indoors and put your outdoor table on its side or upside down to prevent it from being dragged by the wind.”

Mr Ul Jaweed also warned people to be aware of their vehicle’s limitations when driving through flooded roads.

“Not everyone in the UAE drives an SUV but sometimes people forget this and they suddenly believe their car is capable of driving through a flooded road,” he said.

“It’s best not to risk it, but if you do decide to take on the challenge of driving through a flooded area, don’t stop.

“Keep the momentum going as much as possible, don’t accelerate or break suddenly as water may find its way into your car and cause damage.”

He said it was important for motorists not to restart their engine if they stall when driving through heavy water as this could heavily damage the car.

“If your car has broken down or you are unable to drive, contact your breakdown recovery service provider for assistance.”

Updated: January 14, 2020 09:07 AM

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