UAE: Insurance not approved? Vehicle repairs may cost up to Dh40,000 after heavy rains

Automobile experts highlighted that they can estimate the cost of repair only after thorough diagnosis and tests


SM Ayaz Zakir

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A stranded car is recovered following heavy rains in Dubai, on April 19, 2024. Photo: AFP
A stranded car is recovered following heavy rains in Dubai, on April 19, 2024. Photo: AFP

Published: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 10:42 PM

Garage owners and mechanics in the UAE have been overwhelmed with vehicles in need of repair, with estimates suggesting that repairs could amount to as much as Dh40,000 for some unfortunate motorists, whose insurance claims have been rejected.

In the aftermath of heavy rainfall on April 16, numerous cars across the UAE were stranded on roads, with motorists facing significant repair bills due to damages. With thousands of vehicles requiring extensive repairs, concerns arise as many may struggle to secure insurance coverage for the vehicles damaged by flood waters.

According to Sony Rajappan, co-owner of Car Lynx garage, if the damage is severe, certain car parts require expensive imports from the vehicle's country of origin. “The floods may have damaged critical components such as the electrical circuit and engine. Water may have entered the engines leading to hydrolock, transmission failure, and engine breakdown,” said Rajappan.

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“These damages are not only costly but also pose logistical challenges, with recovery trucks fully booked and garages at maximum capacity,” said Rajappan, adding that the capacity of their garage is full, and they are struggling to accommodate more vehicles. “While some owners are fortunate enough to have insurance coverage, many others face the daunting task of covering repair costs out of pocket as their insurance claims remain pending.”

Automobile experts highlighted that they can estimate the cost of repair only after thorough diagnosis and tests. The estimates on repairs can also depend on the make of the vehicle, components damaged, replacement of spare parts, and the number of days taking to repair it.

Joseph, from Falcon Garage, said that repair costs vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage and the make of the vehicle. “For some, the repair bill may be as low as Dh500, but for others, especially Italian and German-made cars, the expenses can be exorbitant going above Dh30,000,” said Joseph.

With an influx of inquiries and vehicles arriving for repairs, garage owners are bracing themselves for an intense period of work ahead. “We have been receiving over 300 inquiries daily, and our phones are ringing non-stop,” said Sony Rajappan.

“At our garage, we are receiving at least five vehicles daily, and we anticipate being fully occupied with repairs for the next ten days,” said Joseph.

Furthermore, the rise of electric cars presents additional challenges, as specialised expertise and facilities are required for repairs. “For electric cars, the damage can be extensive, affecting both digital and mechanical systems, including the steering,” said Joseph, adding that repairs for electric vehicles are limited to authorised centres currently, further complicating the situation for affected motorists.

Why could your insurance claim be rejected?

Maintenance expenses for flooded vehicles parked in designated parking lots and subsequently towed to garages are typically covered by insurance, provided they have comprehensive insurance.

However, insurance claims may be denied if vehicles were parked in waterlogged or partially submerged areas, and attempts were made to start the engine, resulting in damage.

Furthermore, damaged vehicle wipers could lead to claim rejection by insurance firms. Insurance coverage may also be denied for vehicles parked or driven in submerged waters during heavy rains. Intentional driving on flooded roads during rainstorms could also result in insurance claim rejection.


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