Car Insurance for Non-UAE Residents

Like many other countries in the world, car insurance is mandatory in the United Arab Emirates. It makes sense too. Living in the UAE is quite expensive when you compare it to other countries. Now, imagine that you meet an accident. The expenses will offset your budget, or you might have to end up taking a loan to pay for the car repair and your injuries. If the accident is due to your fault, you will also have to pay for car repair and hospital bills of the third-party. Therefore, UAE’s car insurance  makes a lot of sense!

Depending on the insurance policy, the insurance provider will cover all or some of the expenses. In short, getting a car insurance is a must not just because the law says so but due to its various benefits. Now, an important issue which many people face is if the same rule applies to them if they are a non-UAE resident. Will they still have to get car insurance?

What does the law say?

According to the law, car insurance is mandatory for residents of the UAE. If you are a non-resident, meaning that you are in the UAE on a travel visa or anything similar, you are allowed to drive a car. The only requirement is that you hold a valid international driving license

However, when it comes to car insurance, you are not legally required to have car insurance due to your non-resident status. Nor will the insurance companies provide you with an insurance policy.

While it may sound like good news, it is anything but. The reason is quite simple. If you end up in an accident driving your friend’s or family member’s car, the insurance company will not cover any expense. Only way you will be entitled to insurance under your non-resident status is if you are driving a rental car. 

This is opposed by many in the official sphere and public alike. The police claim that insurance companies have no valid reason to refuse an insurance claim to a non-resident as long as they have a valid international driving license. However, insurance companies can refuse a complaint. The refusal can be challenged at the relevant forum.

The whole situation indicates a nexus between rental companies and insurance providers. By refusing to provide insurance to non-residents driving private cars, they are forcing them towards rental companies. Being a tourist hub, rental companies expect a lot of profits at the expense of the non-residents.

UAE residents along with the non-residents are continuously lobbying the government to change the law as it has a negative impact on the experience of non-residents visiting the UAE. As of now, there is no indication that the law will be changed anytime soon. Therefore, to avoid extra expenses, try to use a rental car or the public transport. We request you to avoid driving a private car. In case of an accident, your whole experience will be ruined. Therefore, be smart and do not play into the hands of insurance companies.