Dubai: The case of a classic car owner, whose car was written off in an accident by an insurer, brings to light the grey area of classic car valuation in the UAE.
Sharjah resident Dr Ahmad Moufti approached Gulf News, claiming that his 1977 Mercedes Benz SLC was considered a write-off by an insurance company with the assigned garage estimating the car’s value at Dh5,000.
Dr Moufti said he disagrees with the estimate.
The value of the Mercedes Benz SLC was approximately Dh30,000 before the accident, according to him. His car was parked when it was hit by a speeding 4x4, overturning it on the sidewalk; the driver at fault had third party insurance.
Specific to Dr Moufti’s case, Gulf News requested the insurance company for a statement on its valuation process of classic cars. However, the company spokesperson wasn’t available for a comment.
To understand the insurance policies regarding classic cars, Gulf News spoke to a couple of motor insurance experts.
Mustafa Vazayil, managing director of Gargash Insurance Services, Dubai, said that there is recognition for classic cars. He explained that if a client can prove the value of his car through reputed valuation websites, he or she can select a motor insurance policy accordingly.
“Specialised brokers will tailor a policy for a classic car,” he said.
Pointing to the current insurance market, Vazayil said, “In this market, it is more common for insurers to consider depreciation rather than vintage value. The concern is also to do with lack of awareness on the classic owners’ part who may not know how to go about insuring a classic car.”
George Ashkar, managing director of Gateway International Assurance, Dubai, said that there are loss adjuster companies in the UAE that have classic car valuators.
The valuation is based on the car model; number of similar model cars manufactured, and how many of these are still available worldwide; state of interiors and exteriors; and mechanical parts. Once the value of a classic car is ascertained, a classic car owner can approach an insurer.
In terms of advice to classic car owners, Ashkar said, “It is best to select comprehensive insurance that would cover all types of damage.”
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Moufti explained that the absence of an official classic car valuation authority in the UAE compelled him to fall back on online estimates.
“There are several recognised sites that list vintage cars with their estimated values. I used one of these US-based sites and approached United Insurance; it wasn’t considered,” he said.
He added, “It is unfortunate. I have spent thousands of dirhams towards maintenance. I was even going to register my car with the Sharjah Old Cars Club and Museum before the accident. I am saddened to know that insurance companies do not differentiate between an old car and a vintage one.”