UAE insurers have tightened up claims on their motor policies. Vehicle owners who have repairs to be done after this week's water logging need to check their policies to see what's allowed and what's not. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As water logging on roads and parking basements recede, car owners and insurers in the UAE will start on the tough task of damage evaluation to affected vehicles. And what the claims will be for the repairs that need to be done.

Based on initial assessments, these costs will run high – for the insurers, it will be an immediate dent on their cash positions. And for the car owners, they will have to face up to higher motor insurance premium payments when the next renewal is due.

There could be other consequences too.

“Some insurers adapted their motor policies to cover water damage only when vehicles are stationary,” said Avinash Babur, CEO of “This way they aim to reduce claims from vehicles driven into water-logged areas.

“This strategy decreases claim costs and encourages risk-averse behaviors among drivers. However, it might lead to dissatisfaction among car owners due to perceived inadequate protection and confusion over policy terms.”

Workshops need to be able to manage the increased workload and availability of parts. It will mean that there will be delays in repairs and getting the public back on the road after a car insurance claim

- Avinash Babur of

This sure does set the stage for some heated discussions between car owners and their insurers. A similar situation had already played out during the earlier round of heavy rains and water logging in the UAE. The repair costs at the time are said to have been quite sizeable.

This is what car owners who have possible damages from this week's unprecedented events should do:

  1. Report the claim to their insurers immediately.
  2. Allow water to recede completely.
  3. Do not start the vehicle, arrange for it to be towed to a garage on the panel of their insurer and intimate them.
  4. Do not drive in severe weather conditions unless there is an emergency.

"While insurers will pay admissible claims, the time taken and inconvenience caused to the insured in the absence of their vehicles is immense," said Ranji Sinha, Chief Commercial Officer - Emerging Markets & Strategic Initiatives at Sukoon Insurance. "As they say, prevention is always better than the cure."

Do not attempt to start the vehicle or switch on the ignition as it may damage the electrical system. Arrange for it to be towed to a garage on the panel of their insurer and intimate them accordingly

- Ranji Sinha of Sukoon Insurance

UAE motor premiums have been rising

Motor insurance premiums have already seen significant increases since January 2023 after the UAE regulator – Emirates Insurance Authority – disallowed insurers from offering up to 50 per cent discount for accident-free policies.

This (the rains and subsequent water logging) could lead to an increase in premium for policies that come up for renewal towards the end of the year and over the course of next year

- Anand Singh at Al Tamimi & Company

“For the longest period of time, (motor insurance) premiums have operated around this minimum mark,” said Anand Singh, Senior Counsel, Transport & Insurance, Al Tamimi & Company. “Only in the last 12 months have we seen rates start to go up to reflect market forces.

As much as possible, avoid driving when there is inclement weather and water logging, say insurers. Any claims coverage could depend on that. Image Credit: Supplied

“Rain damage should not necessarily mean an immediate impact on insurance premium for policyholders. But if there are similar events in other parts of the world, leading to higher than expected losses (for the global insurance industry), this could lead to an increase in premium for policies that come up for renewal towards the end of the year.

"ِAnd over the course of next year...”

Pressure on workshops

Coming days will add to the workload on local workshops as the line up of vehicles needing an urgent damage assessment and insurer clearance builds. Towing services are already busy, getting calls right through yesterday (April 17) and that should continue through today as well.

Typically, insurers require such repairs to be done at third-party workshops they have associations with. But if the vehicle owner still has dealership service cover, 'then they are OK provided the claim is admissible', said Babur.

Even then, in the coming weeks, "The motor insurance system will remain under pressure due to the unprecedented volume of insurance claims related to rain damage this year on two fronts - managing claims services as well as managing claims cost increases."

More to follow...