Dh2,000 in rental fees, buying second car: UAE residents face commute issues one month after record rains

Most residents anxiously await payouts from insurance companies for their damaged cars


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Thu 16 May 2024, 2:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 May 2024, 6:19 PM

“It feels like I no longer own a car,” Mounia El Fadili, a retail executive at Dubai Mall, told Khaleej Times.

El Fadili was forced to abandon her Infiniti Q30 in the middle of the road in Oud Metha on April 16 – the day record rains wreaked havoc across the UAE. Now, one month on, residents are still reporting significant commuting issues.

Vehicles, particularly those in low-lying areas, bore the maximum brunt during the unprecedented rainfall. Many encountered engine failures and electrical defects and came to a standstill on flooded roads.

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“My car stood in the middle of the road for two days due to unavailability of recovery trucks and lack of response from the insurance company,” El Fadili said.

She could finally arrange for a tow truck on April 19 that dropped her car near her residence in Jaddaf. It cost her Dh 500. “I was deeply concerned for the safety of my car. It took me two weeks to establish contact with the insurance agents, who then arranged for the car to be towed to a garage.”

Even after 12 days since her car was taken to a garage, El Fadili remains in the dark about the issues in her car. “I am unaware of the specific problems in my car, and the garage is also delaying in providing the necessary fitness report."

As her insurance claim remains pending approval, El Fadili has no choice but to rent a car for her daily commute, incurring an average expense of Dh 100 per day. So far, she has spent over Dh 2,000 on rental alone.

“If my car indeed has significant issues, I may be forced to sell it and buy a new one, which would mean additional financial strain on my family,” said the Moroccan expatriate.

Buying another car

For some, selling their damaged cars has emerged as a solution though it comes with a considerable financial burden. Ismail Ruknuddin, a resident of Al Nahda, working as a marketing executive at a high-end boutique, faced this predicament.

“I returned home navigating water puddles on April 17. I parked my car in my building's parking lot and went to pray at a nearby mosque. As I was returning, people told me that my car was on fire,” said Ismail, who has a Nissan Qashqai.

Emergency services were pressed in to douse the fire and Ismail called the insurance firm to inform about the problem. “My car was taken to the garage by the insurance firm after two weeks. I still don’t know what the problem is. However, experts have told me that this was due to rain entering electrical components,” said Ismail.

Ismail had been carpooling since the incident and finally decided to buy another car, a Nissan Xtrail 2020 model, for over Dh80,000.

Most residents are anxiously waiting for payouts from insurance companies for their damaged to their vehicles.

“This is an excessive financial burden on me. Delayed responses from the garage as well as insurance companies have forced me to buy another car. I am eagerly waiting for payout from the insurance company as the car would be catogorised under total loss,” said Ismail.

Hiring cab daily

Jassem El Sami, a resident of Liwan, has been hiring a cab everyday to his work. It costs him about Dh 60 both ways.

“My office is close by and thankfully I don’t have to spend much on the commute,” said El Sami who works at the head office of a supermarket chain in Silicon Oasis.

El Sami’s car was damaged in the floods near Warsan when he had gone to pick his children from their uncle’s place on April 19. The car was towed the same day from the flooded streets and was parked near his house.

It's been a logistical nightmare for El Sami as his car has been in the parking lot near his home for over 25 days. “Thankfully, parking fees aren't an added worry as it is free near my place,” said El Sami.

Like others, El Sami is also hoping that his insurance claims woes would be over soon.

“When I first contacted the insurance agents on April 20, I hoped for a swift resolution. Unfortunately, my car remains untouched, waiting to be towed to the garage,” said the Algerian expat.


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