Under the new rules, the insurance provider of the driver causing a traffic accident will pay for ambulance services. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Annual automobile insurance premiums may be 10-15 per cent higher following the introduction of ambulance services fees, industry sources said on Thursday.

The fees that will take effect on February 28 will be charged to the insurance provider of the driver causing a traffic accident.

Insurance officials told Gulf News that the fees would see companies passing along higher costs of doing business to their customers.

A resolution announced on Wednesday stated that a Dh6,770 fee will be charged by Dubai Police and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services in case of a traffic accident for evacuation and emergency services from the insurance provider.

Ambulance and Dubai police officials could not be reached immediately for comment on Thursday.

However, insurance companies who spoke anonymously with Gulf News said they are reviewing the latest fee.

Insurance firm workers also said they were seeking more clarity on the issue.

“There is no specification about the scale of accident or the kind of evacuation required. Sometimes only one individual may be required to be taken to hospital, in other times there may be two to four individuals. So is this a blanket amount chargeable at all times, this is not very clear?” said an insurance official.

Another motor insurance provider confirmed that a copy of this resolution has been circulated to all automobile insurance companies.

“From this year we have added an additional annual fee of Dh50 to all new insurances being issued which is mandatory for all categories. So, for instance, if a third party automobile insurance was annually costing Dh500 previously the new rate will be Dh 550 now. This has been implemented across all types of automobile insurance covers.”

“Right now if a person is transferred from a government hospital to a private facility, the patient has to pay an additional charge of Dh300 as only emergency transfers get a free of charge facility. But the emergency parameters are very extreme. It literally means only if a person has no pulse or BP cannot be determined it is labelled as emergency,” said an insurance official.

“Once I had a case of acute shock due to septicaemia but the patient was not graded an emergency case and had to pay Dh300 for the transfer. The ambulance was already charging this fee and now automobile drivers will have to bear this additional cost too.”

Motorists expressed dismay that the insurance companies were likely to palm off this cost to the end user.

“Right now, the cost of a basic third party insurance is Dh500 annually. If the insurance provider has to pay the emergency evacuation costs, the premium is likely to go up by 10-15 per cent,” he said.