15.7 C
Doha
Friday, February 26, 2021

Despite recent fires, awareness of home insurance remains low in Qatar

-

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Despite a spate of high-profile fires in Qatar and the region, many residents here neglect to insure their household belongings – which could cause significant financial hardships if an incident occurs, a local expert has said.

This weekend’s massive fire in a Dubai skyscraper has once again highlighted the problem, raising a discussion about the low rates of home insurance among tenants in the region, and the economically devastating consequences.

On Saturday, a fire on several floors of the 79-story Torch Tower in Dubai prompted a mass evacuation of residents. While there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, several people said they lost all their belongings in the dramatic blaze.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Here in Qatar, government statistics show there are approximately 1,000 fires annually.

The cause is unknown in the vast majority of cases, but the Ministry of Interior has repeatedly warned residents to take steps to protect themselves from the electrical shortages that most commonly lead to home fires.

Several industry experts say that while it is easy to convince prospective customers to insure their personal belongs, the overall level of awareness is low.

“Many people are not aware that this should be an essential policy for them,” said Elie Saade, a Qatar-based account manager at AXA, which provides insurance services.

Without it, “No one will cover your contents, your belongings,” he noted.

He said there is limited awareness of the importance of tenant’s insurance in Qatar. Most of the demand for the service from his firm is concentrated in the Pearl-Qatar and West Bay areas.

Why not insured

Saade said it is difficult to know why relatively few people insure their personal belongings here. He conceded that his industry could advertise the service more, as some expats come from countries where home insurance is uncommon.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

He also noted that rising rents in Qatar mean that many residents many not have much money left over at the end of the month.

Still, Saade estimated that QR50,000 worth of coverage would only cost between QR500 and QR700 annually in premiums, depending on the nature of the contents in one’s home.

Others in the industry speculate that the transient nature of expat life plays a role in not getting insured.

According to a government household survey, the majority of Qatar’s expats – nearly two-thirds – live in rented accommodation.

“A lot (of expats feel) they’re not here for long, or they buy furniture from Ikea, so they don’t think about how important insurance is, or the risk of theft is low. They think, why spend money on home insurance when they could spend it on something else,” Zahir Sharif, UAE manager of insurer Zurich, told The National.

His firm commissioned a survey in 2013 that found only 6 percent of UAE residents took out home insurance, compared to 75 percent in the UK.

No comparable figures for Qatar were immediately available.

Anecdotally, however, some in the industry said the policies may be more popular here than in the UAE, as it is easy to demonstrate the value of insuring personal possessions such as computers and clothes to potential customers.

“It’s not difficult to convince people to protect the contents of their home,” said Abdul Samad, who works with Qatar-based Damaan Islamic Insurance Co. He told Doha News that he sells about 40 policies each month.

Why it’s needed

Sapish Gurrala, an assistant manager at Qatar General Insurance and Re-Insurance Co., said they had a considerable number of clients who buy housing insurance every month, but he didn’t have exact statistics.

Gurrala said that housing insurance is very important for tenants, even in the case of small accidents.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

He explained that if a tenant accidentally broke a glass window in a rented residence, the insurance company can cover it for him. The same thing applies for all the contents of the house, including the tenants’ belongings in the case of a fire or a plumbing problem.

He expressed sorrow for the residents of Dubai who lost their homes and belongings in the fire.

“They suffer (from) great loss,” he said.

He said that “alternative housing insurance,” that provides accommodation for tenants who lost their “rented apartments” in accidents could help a great deal in cases of fires, like the one that took place in Dubai.

He added that his clients haven’t been subjected to many fires or big accidents.

“The number of fires is very limited,” he said.

Do you have home insurance? Thoughts?

14 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

If car insurance wasn’t mandatory, I’m sure many wouldn’t insure their cars…

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Yes, elsewhere its mandatory but not so much in the Arab world. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

It’s mandatory to register your car – even in the Arab world.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Why would you buy an insurance for something that doesn’t belong to you? Let the landlord insure his building.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago

landlord’s not going to insure your property though

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Being here only temporary, I don’t collect valuable items. If everything goes up in fire it won’t hurt much. The building, however, will be destroyed. If that doesn’t hurt the landlord, well, then nothing’s going to hurt anyone. And, in the end, it’s Allah’s will. What can you do? Insurance is basically wasted money and it only serves the insurance companies. Just have a look at their buildings.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

I don’t know how it works in other places around the world, but in the states you have homeowners insurance and rental insurance. Your rental insurance covers things caused by you (like accidentally flooding the washing machine or starting a fire) that pays for your stuff and the damage to the apartment. It also covers if you have been robbed. If it wasnt caused by you usually its out of the building (owners) insurance depending on the details.
Some apartment complexes make renters inusrance mandatory if you want to rent in their complex. You might not have a lot of stuff but most people tend to have enough stuff to make it worth it especially if they bought all their furniture. I didn’t know this existed in Qatar, they don’t advertise it at all.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

“He explained that if a tenant accidentally broke a glass window in a rented residence, the insurance company can cover it for him.” That’s ridiculous. For a broken window pane you should pay premiums throughout the year? It’s cheaper to pay the broken glass.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

People still manage to find ways to circumvent

yesjay
yesjay
6 years ago

In my view, one should be more concerned about accidental insurance in Qatar, than fire insurance. I could be wrong if not terribly mistaken.

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

Landlords ..are GREEDY…and will never pay for this so long as there is NO LAWS ENFORCED…the laws of Qatar only look good on the “pretty pages” they are printed on.

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago

I’m insuring myself against the possibility of dying of boredom whilst reading dull articles regarding insurance.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Insurance companies have an image problem. Most car insurances are perceived as cheaters. They don’t pay the actual damage, they pay only what meets THEIR policies. No wonder that nobody trusts them.

Kassem Hamad
Kassem Hamad
5 years ago

We would like to advise you that Almaha Insurance Agency is delighted to offer Home Care Insurance that provides protection for the individual’s homes,including but not limited to contents, personal belongings, liability, domestic
helpers.

Almaha Insurance Agency offer a comprehensive range of insurance products to fit all your personal needs.

Contact us on : M.: +974.66841308 ; T: +974.44122768

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Student scammed for QR 6,000 while ordering pizza online

0
With scam attacks on the rise, it's essential to protect yourself from fraudsters.  A Qatar University student who ordered a pizza worth QR 31 was...

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.