Car Insurance: 11 things to check before buying a policy

April 6, 2022

Car insurance is essential, not only because it is mandatory in the UAE, but it is something that should not be taken lightly or entirely overlooked. Hundreds of automobile insurance policies are sold every day. But the truth is, how many of us take the time to weigh our alternatives before purchasing one? More importantly, how many of us read all the paperwork?

The fine print contains the minute details of how your insurance operates and its restrictions, exclusions, and terms and conditions. If you aren’t aware of these factors, your claim may be denied, or your insurance may be invalidated without your knowledge. For this reason, you must read the policy terms carefully before purchasing auto insurance.

Here are 11 essential car insurance-related terms in the UAE to help you buy your next policy.  

Off-road cover

If driving over dunes and drifting through the sand is your hobby – this one’s for you. Choose an off-road add-on that is worth the extra cost. Familiarize yourself with your policy’s off-road coverage restrictions and look around the market for the best deals. Some plans may have certain conditions, such as a cap on the distance you off-road from the main road, with a permissible top limit of ten meters to one kilometre. 

Depreciation 

Your car depreciates or starts losing its value the very minute you drive out of the dealership. In fact, in the UAE, your car loses around 20% of its original value within the first year. After the first year, it depreciates approximately 15% every year. That means your car loses around 60% of its value within five years. 

Did you know that insurance companies calculate your car’s current worth using this depreciation rate? In some circumstances, the insurer’s depreciation percentage is higher than necessary. Inquire with the insurance about the percentage they use to compute depreciation. Remember, this is a critical aspect that directly impacts your payment if your automobile is declared a total loss following an accident.

Deductible 

Whether you choose a high, low, or no-deductible policy, is entirely up to you. But it’s important to understand what ‘deductible’ means. A deductible is the fixed amount you pay “out of pocket” on a claim to get your car repaired, and your car insurance will cover the rest. It is crucial to remember that a low insurance rate might not necessarily mean a good thing. In fact, a low insurance rate might occasionally result in a higher deductible. When filing a claim, the bigger the deductible, the more your out-of-pocket payments will be. If you notice coverage with a cheap premium but a high deductible, examine the deductible.

Did you know? Hala offers the lowest deductible in the market. You do not have to worry about out-of-pocket charges when your car is entitled to many benefits.

Modifications 

So, you decided to modify your car and spruce it up a bit. Nothing wrong with that. But in the excitement you forgot to notify your insurer about the modifications done throughout your policy. In this case, your policy may be cancelled, and any claims filed can and will be denied. It sounds a little harsh, but these little things matter to insurers and should matter to you. 

It is up to the insurer to incorporate the updated modifications in your current policy when you notify them. Expect to pay a higher rate for the additional coverage.

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Car value 

When you enter the model number and the make of your car to generate an insurance quotation, the insurer determines the car’s worth. But here’s a handy thing to know: You have the option of changing the value of your automobile within a specified range rather than relying on what the insurance provider determines. This is particularly useful when insuring second-hand sports or luxury cars, which the insurer may value at a fraction of its market worth.

Repairing at garages

You may find this surprising, but when it comes to certain insurance policies, there can be a difference between garages where your car is repaired. Agency repairs involve getting the car repaired at the original dealership with genuine parts, making it significantly more expensive. On the other hand, Premium garages offer quality repair services but not necessarily with the original parts from your car’s manufacturer. It is critical to determine which garage the insurance covers and the quality of the repairs performed by this garage. The insurer’s responsibility is to ensure that all repairs are completed to a high quality. When comparing plans, it’s also a good idea to see if the insurance company offers premium garage repair.

Reliable insurance providers (like Hala) have a network of highly reliable garages that make the entire process a breeze.

Higher renewal premium 

For reasons like past claims for incidents at which you were at fault, a bad driving record is shown in the RTA penalties. This may cause your insurance rate to increase. In such cases, it might make more sense to select a different insurance policy rather than renew with the same company. 

Cover against unforeseen calamities  

One of the significant benefits of opting for comprehensive insurance coverage over a basic third-party liability policy is that your vehicle is protected against natural catastrophe loss or damage. However, do not assume that the insurance covers all-natural disasters. Before you finalize any policy, go over the fine print and cross-check the coverage terms with your insurer. 

Filing a claim 

Was your vehicle involved in an accident? It’s in your best interest to raise a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Any undue delay in submitting the claim may compromise the claims procedure and cause your claim to be denied. Ask your insurance company to know how long you have to report any damage.

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Paperwork 

The majority of us speak with car insurance agents over the phone to discuss the specifics of our policies. But don’t just take the insurance agent’s word for it. Make sure you have all the information about your policy written down. You might not obtain the advantages you’re paying for if you don’t have adequate documentation or proof of contact. 

Auto-renewal

The convenience of automating everything can sometimes come at a cost. Many car owners automate policy renewals through their banks to save time and effort. While this may appear to be the most convenient alternative, it may cost you more in the long run due to increased insurance costs. On the other hand, comparing insurance coverage can help you get more bang for your buck.

That’s all, folks! Familiarize yourself with car insurance jargon and read the finer details of all your insurance paperwork. Need more guidance on selecting the right insurance policy for your car? Let Hala help you through the process and protect your vehicle for you!

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