A view of the fire. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman / Gulf News

Dubai: The majority of residents in the UAE are putting themselves at risk of huge financial losses during fires because they don’t have the necessary insurance, experts have warned.

A survey conducted by a comparison site showed that about seven in ten UAE residents have no insurance coverage that can protect them against damage and financial losses during incidents of fire and other disasters.

According to compareit4me’s survey, 69.1 per cent of people in the UAE are still not signed up to a home contents insurance policy, despite repeated reminders from financial advisors.

Disasters such as fires, which have occurred frequently in the UAE in recent times, can lead to loss of lives, dwellings and substantial damage to property.

Between April and July 2017, at least four fires broke out in different parts in Dubai, damaging two warehouses, ten labour caravans, a restaurant and a building under construction. One of the biggest fires to hit an already occupied residential tower was reported in July last year, when a skyscraper in Dubai Marina went up in flames.

UAE laws mandate that buildings should be insured, but such insurance doesn’t extend to the contents in every single apartment or villa.

So, without home contents insurance, tenants in the UAE will be left on their own to shoulder the cost of replacing any damaged item, from the TV set in the living room to the microwave in the kitchen, in an unfortunate incident that their flat is engulfed in flames.

“If disaster struck and all of your belongings were either lost or destroyed, replacing everything would mean parting with an awful lot of money. A home insurance policy would protect you against that expense, with the insurer footing all, or at least part, of the bill. Of course, we live in a relatively safe part of the world, but accidents and upsets can and do happen, meaning it makes sense to protect yourself,” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO of compareit4me.

It’s not that UAE residents are completely clueless about home insurance. The majority (84.5 per cent) admitted that they would have peace of mind if their belongings are insured.

More than a third (35.5 per cent) of UAE residents said they understand the importance of home insurance, but they prefer to simply take the chance that nothing will happen.

However, financial experts have expressed concern that a significant number (35 per cent) of residents don’t see the point in home insurance.

“What this survey illustrates is a need for greater education on home insurance in the UAE. It would appear that, while UAE residents associate the idea of home insurance with safety and protection, many don’t understand the practical benefits that come with having your belongings covered by a home insurance policy,” said Rawling.