Vehicles changing lanes with merging traffic after coming out of an underpass on Shaikh Zayed Road. Officials plan to take stern action against reckless drivers. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: Insurance companies have warned motorists not to drive vehicles with an expired registration as they will not be able to claim insurance in case of accidents.

The warning came as the number of vehicles with an expired registration increased by at least 20 per cent this year. There are now more than 100,000 vehicles with an expired registration compared to 80,000 last year in Dubai. There is a total of 1.1 million registered vehicles in Dubai.

Audio: Drivers with an expired registration will not be able to claim insurance. Malak Harb reports

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A Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) spokesman said: "Efforts to force motorists renew their vehicle registration have apparently not yielded any positive results".

Insurance companies said motorists driving with an expired registration may lose their insurance claims in case of an accident.

No claim

AXA Insurance operational excellence programme manager Hassan Bennour said: "We are not liable to pay accident insurance claim to a motorist who drives a vehicle with expired registration and it is clearly mentioned in our insurance contract".

However, Karl Gray, Director of Personal Lines, Middle East at Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance, said a motorist's insurance claim could be limited if he drove with expired registration.

"Insurance accident claims can be restricted if a motorist meet an accident in a vehicle with expired registration," he said.

In such cases, the insurance company would only pay the third party damage claim, he said.

"You can really face complications in claiming insurance if you do not renew car registration," he added.

The RTA, in co-operation with the Dubai Police, has been urging drivers to renew their vehicle registration on time. Police have been issuing fines for vehicles being driven with an expired registration.

The RTA has also been sending SMS messages to motorists when their vehicle registration is due for renewal.

Ahmad Behroozian, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Licensing Agency at the RTA said: "We need to increase the fines for not renewing registrations".

He noted that the major reason for not renewing registrations was non-payment of fines. "We even introduced instalment plans to pay heavy fines but the problem still exists. We are also facing problems in getting payment as cheques given by some motorists to pay fines have also bounced," he told Gulf News.

He said motorists should be given incentives such as the 50 per cent discount on fines offered by the Abu Dhabi Police to encourage drivers to pay fines and renew their vehicle registration.

Every vehicle in Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE must have its registration renewed every year after a technical inspection to ensure the vehicle's roadworthiness. There is a grace period of one month, after which a fine of Dh20 per month is charged if registration renewal is delayed. Some motorists obtain only insurance and keep driving their vehicle without paying fines or renewing registration.