The insurance services market in the UAE is developing rapidly. There are dozens of local and foreign companies operating in the country, as well as agents, consultants and brokers providing this type of services. Most types of insurance are voluntary. Before the onset of the pandemic, they also included travel insurance. Now it is impossible to cross the border without a policy providing for treatment from Covid. This article is a detailed overview of mandatory and optional types of insurance, as well as the leading insurance companies in the UAE.
Since 2020, the availability of insurance is one of the conditions for crossing the state border. At the same time, the document will be checked several times at all stages of boarding: without a policy, you will not receive a boarding pass. If a visa-free regime is established between the countries (as between the Emirates and Russia), then the medical center will be checked during passport control.
The second point is related to Russian legislation, according to which every tourist entering and leaving must have a minimum medical policy. Therefore, they are usually issued at a travel agency together with a voucher. Many tourists try to save on the policy by purchasing the cheapest. This is a big mistake, especially if the destination of the trip is the Emirates. The referral is expensive, the cost of medical services is very high, it is possible to get medical care for a non-citizen only in a private clinic, where a simple consultation will cost a hundred dollars, and treatment will cost several hundred or even thousands.
Therefore, it is worth taking the policy seriously, taking care of sufficient coverage (at least 50,000 dollars, preferably 100,000), specifying the point about the treatment of covid, observing all formalities and acting for the entire period of stay in the country. Coverage should also include medical repatriation and emergency evacuation to the homeland.
Medical insurance is especially important when traveling with children, elderly people with chronic diseases, pregnant women. For such categories of travelers, flight, climate change and time zone can cause a significant deterioration in health, requiring hospitalization or at least consultation with a medical professional.
How the insurance system works in the UAE
Currently, 60 insurance organizations (35 local and 25 foreign) are accredited on the territory of the Principality, in which you can insure yourself and your property against various troubles. The market is developing rapidly, but this type of service is not in great demand among the local population. Auto and medical insurance are mandatory, all other types are voluntary. Local insurers are cooperative enterprises providing services based on Sharia – takafur.
The entire insurance system is tightly controlled, and by several authorities at once:
- Insurance Association, whose members are the majority of specialized organizations;
- Health departments of the capital and Dubai;
- Abu Dhabi’s global market regulating this segment of commercial activity within the emirate;
- Dubai Financial Services Supervision Authority;
- By the State Administration for Insurance Supervision.
Mandatory types of insurance
A vehicle is a potential source of danger. According to the laws of the Emirates, the driver of the car is obliged to issue a car insurance policy, the amount of which will cover the damage caused to third parties or their property in the event of an accident. Without this document, movement on the roads of the country is prohibited. However, car insurance also provides other services that can be included in the policy if desired. For example, you can add items in case of theft or damage to a car, emergency medical care in case of an accident, compensation for damage to an emergency or other incident on the road.
As a bonus, insurance companies often offer the possibility of reducing the insured amount for accident-free: the longer the driver drives without getting into an accident, the lower the price of the car insurance policy. At the moment, the average annual cost of car insurance is from 400 to 540 US dollars. The amount depends not only on the duration of accident-free driving, but also on:
- customer driving history;
- vehicle type;
- list of insurance claims.
For residents of the capital and Dubai, the availability of medical insurance is mandatory. Registration is usually handled by employers: they insure their employees for an amount covering basic therapeutic care, as well as hospital treatment. The employer also insures the dependents of its employees, contributing 50% of the cost of the policy, the remaining amount is paid by the employee.
Consultations of narrow specialists – ophthalmologists, dentists, otolaryngologists – are not included in the basic package, but can be included with an increase in insurance costs. Lack of insurance is punishable by a fine: in Abu Dhabi it is 300 AED monthly, in Dubai – 500 AED. In Ajman and Sharjah, health insurance is mandatory for all employees.
When applying for a private health insurance policy, the client receives a number of advantages: a wider range of coverage and no penalties if the document is not extended on time.
In other cities, you can apply for a policy for service in private medical institutions on a voluntary basis.
Optional types of insurance
This applies to residential buildings, premises and property located in them. But you can also insure office complexes. What exactly to insure against, the client decides for himself, since this option is optional. The most common items are from:
You can insure a separate room, separate property or all together. Property is insured against damage, theft, loss.
Some contracts prescribe actions that the client is obliged to perform in order to preserve the property. If it is proved that the item has deteriorated because the owner did not perform the specified actions, then the losses will not be reimbursed. These nuances need to be carefully studied from the very beginning.
Landlords insure real estate and property not only against damage or theft, but also in case of additional risks. For example, in the event of an emergency (fire or flooding), people will need to be urgently relocated somewhere. The initial cost of insurance is $ 95, the full depends on the set of options.
Insurers offer a variety of life insurance programs. The most popular are those that allow the family to receive a lump sum payment in the event of the death of the policyholder, as well as options that provide payments after retirement due to age, disability or due to premature loss of work. Contributions depend on the program and the amount of coverage.
Expats are more likely to insure their lives locally, but they do it in international agencies. Employers often offer their employees life insurance as an additional option to health insurance.
Those who live on the territory of the principality often go on trips, so travel insurance is relevant here. Anything can happen on the way:
- loss of baggage;
- flight delay;
- accident requiring urgent medical care;
- emergency, as a result of which you will have to evacuate (for example, natural disasters), etc.
The cost of the contribution depends on:
- term of registration;
- list of covered cases;
- area of coverage (local or global).
When concluding a contract, it is necessary to clarify which cases are not covered by the insurance. Usually extreme sports are included in the exclusion lists: skiing, diving, rafting or traveling along a dangerous route known in advance.
In case of job loss
This type of insurance is aimed only at employed persons, the absolute majority of whom are foreigners. These people are not legally protected from losing their jobs, for example, in the event of a reduction, illness, increased unemployment, etc. Target insurance solves this problem. The insurance can include clauses providing for the loss of work due to temporary disability, disability that has occurred, as well as insure any time period when a person will not go to work. The last point will require additional costs.
This type of insurance can be issued as a supplement to medical insurance, real estate insurance, or it can be a separate contract. Entrepreneurs use it more often, but private individuals can also sign a contract for compensation for damage received as a result of the actions of third parties.
Persons engaged in large or small commercial activities, as well as the self-employed, need targeted insurance. Mandatory include civil liability insurance. It is required when working in almost all areas of industry. If we are talking about hazardous production, such as construction, then the insurance contract is aimed at increasing the employer’s responsibility for the safety of employees, for example, when working at height. In other industries, coverage of product quality liability or coverage of negligence situations is provided.
Optional types include insurance:
- property, including buildings, individual premises, warehouses, goods to be sold, equipment;
- from industrial accidents;
- financial risks, involving compensation for losses caused by subordinates or the manager.
In many industries, there are narrowly focused insurances that provide for situations that can only happen in this industry. Employers prefer to issue insurance policies to employees with a package that includes most of the above options.
TOP 10 best insurance companies in the UAE
Founded in 1982, it is recognized as the best in its field in the GCC countries. Emirates offers very high insurance premiums, which brought it to the 4th place in the world in this indicator.
AXA Gulf BSC
Positions itself as one of the world’s largest providers of insurance services. It has been operating on the market for almost 70 years, offering a wide range of insurance products for entrepreneurs of any scale: from large players to merchants and the self-employed. Recently, AXA Gulf BSC has become a leader in its segment in the Persian Gulf countries: UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait.
Us Admin Service LLC
The headquarters is located in the capital. Nas Admin Service has been operating on the market since 2002, specializing in medical insurance. It is very popular with customers, because it always finds dynamic, adapted solutions for them.
Chartered Insurance Institute Group
It serves the region of Africa and the Middle East. Thanks to the continuous professional development of employees and the constant expansion of the list of services offered, the company’s rating is growing, and the customer base is increasing.
Oman Life Insurance
On the market for more than 50 years. It is one of the leading service providers in the Middle East market and the most in demand in the Emirates. It has 15 branches, the headquarters is located in Dubai, in the Jebel Ali frizone. Provides medical and auto insurance services, as well as insurance of commercial and personal interests.
Al Dhafra is a state–owned company located in Abu Dhabi and registered in accordance with the Regulations on State Insurance. Has a huge customer base, enjoys a high reputation among entrepreneurs of all levels.
It offers a Takaful product, i.e. services based on Sharia law. Watania is part of the Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company, whose sphere of influence is finance. The services of Watania are used by orthodox Islamists, for whom compliance with Sharia law is in the first place.
Al Fujairah was established in 1976, the central office is located in Fujairah, but branches are open in all major cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Dibbi, Sharjah. Al Fujairah specializes in insurance of all types of vehicles, including aircraft and sea vessels. In addition, life insurance, responsibility of port operators are insured here, and medical insurance is issued.
Takaful Abu Dhabi
It has branches in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, has been operating since 2003 under a license from the Ministry of Finance, enjoys authority among local residents who strictly observe Sharia law.
The insurance company was established in 1979 by the late Vice President of the UAE and is registered with the State Department of Economy and Trade.