Dubai: A Dubai woman has been left severely injured without coverage despite having comprehensive car insurance after a horrific road accident.
Ilvina Khayrullina, 29, a compliance officer at an investment bank, was travelling to work at around 9.15am along Jebel Ali Road towards Shaikh Zayed Road on August 21 when she claims another car hit hers and sent it spinning into a barrier.
As the other car left the scene and there was no CCTV or witnesses, she said police recorded the incident as having had no other vehicle involved.
Khayrullina, originally from Uzbekistan, was transferred to the nearest hospital with a shattered pelvis and ruptured intestines, along with what would later be discovered was broken ribs and a punctured lung, which was denying her brain oxygen.
The fact that Khayrullina’s husband Vikram Naik has since filed a complaint against the private hospital for their alleged 12-hour delay in transferring her to the specialist trauma centre at Rashid Hospital, is a separate story.
However, the wider case of insurance has also come back to haunt the couple as not only did her medical insurance not cover road traffic accidents, but also because the other car allegedly left the scene and the accident was “deemed her fault”, her car coverage was also minimal.
Despite being comprehensive, it capped personal accidents at Dh3,000 with the view to only later taking a percentage off a total Dh200,000 limit, after a medical evaluation upon her discharge.
Based on this, Khayrullina could get a 25 per cent cut of the Dh200,000 limit (Dh50,000) due to paralysis in her leg, but that doesn’t help if her full hospital bill is Dh275,000 and mounting, as she is still in Rashid Hospital. (The bill from the first hospital was also Dh30,000).
“Third party liability insurance of the other vehicle would have covered her, but since it was deemed her fault by police her own insurance only covers her for personal accident, which is a percentage of a fixed amount deducted once treatment is over,” said a Dubai-based insurance specialist, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Personal accident insurance
“The insurance company is paying out properly as per terms and conditions that are similar to Europe. If they knew who the other car was they would be able to get coverage on the other car’s liability, but in this case there is no liability insurance. Motor insurance does not respond to your treatment at all if you are at fault and most insurers embed a small personal accident coverage in the motor policy.
“It’s a very good example of why people should buy personal accident insurance and get good medical coverage. Standard medical insurance does not cover car accidents but depending on what medical plan you choose it will,” added the specialist, who is head of claims at a leading insurer.
Khayrullina’s husband now has to foot the bill before the insurance company will even consider evaluating that claim and in any case the full amount won’t be covered.
“What’s the point of having insurance then?” said Naik. “None of this was clear when we bought the coverage. There were different levels that didn’t give specific details of what they did and didn’t include. For that reason the consumer has to jump hoops and often doesn’t get a clear picture,” he added.
“So far the insurance company hasn’t paid out anything stating that clauses in the insurance policy that she bought didn’t fully cover medical expenses, which they didn’t inform us of when we bought it,” he claimed.
Another insurance specialist Frederick Bisbjerg of Noor Takaful, said, “To my knowledge health insurance not covering road traffic accidents is not unusual. They are only meant for illness and [non road traffic-related] accidents.
“With car insurance however, fully comprehensive should cover you for medical expenses of up to Dh200,000, but read the fine print before it’s too late, understand up to what limit you’re covered and ask for explanations of the coverage, don’t just buy blindly.
“The biggest issue is understanding the difference between comprehensive and third party liability insurance, where the latter only covers what damage you do to others and not anything to you or your things. It can also be important to understand what is excluded and in what cases no policy will cover, i.e. if you cause an accident overspeeding or crossing the red light.
“People should spend just a little time to understand what is actually covered and how much they can expect to get paid,” he added.
Loan on vehicle
Thomas Edelmann of awareness group Road Safety UAE, said, “I’d be very surprised if such accidents weren’t fully covered on either car or medical insurance. In fact I’d say it’s unethical if this is the case because road accidents are the second biggest cause of death in the UAE, and there are thousands of road accidents every year. If insurance companies pull away from this responsibility, it’s extremely unethical.”
The fact that even fully comprehensive insurance hasn’t covered all of Khayrullina’s hospital stay in this case is a concern, as on top of this the couple are still paying for a loan on a wrecked vehicle, which has around Dh20,000 left to pay, a figure they hope to settle with the car insurance payout, which is still pending.
According to naik, the police also impounded their written off vehicle at a cost of Dh100 a day reaching Dh4,800 before Naik was informed he had to collect.
The couple have contested that there was a second vehicle involved, whose insurance might have covered Khayrullina’s injuries, but as there was no evidence of this, the police have closed the case as a straightforward loss of control.
The couple are now appealing for public support to help pay their mounting bills.