A Pakistani family residing in the UAE for the past 47 years has lost all their belongings and savings in a blaze that destroyed their house earlier this month.
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Tariq Mahmood, the head of the family, said the incident occurred on August 4, after he'd gone to bed for a nap following the Asr prayer.
“It was 6.30pm when people started banging the main door, shouting that there was a fire on the upper floor," he said. "I woke up and tried to rush upstairs. I could only see smoke, but people standing outside the house were able to see fire as well. My family forced me not to go upstairs and pulled me out of the house. Within minutes, the blaze had engulfed the entire place.”
Mahmood believes the fire started as a result of a short-circuit on the upper floor, where they had kept their clothes for the winter season and made one of the rooms a storehouse. The villa consisted of eight rooms and two halls, he said.
The expat had landed in the UAE in 1974, three years after the UAE was formed. The family of nine members had been moved to the ill-fated villa in 2014. All in all, the family estimates they lost more than Dh1 million worth of savings and belongings in the blaze.
“Every room on both floors has been badly damaged and are no longer habitable. We are now living at a friend’s place who has allocated a hall for us," he said.
Mahmood has been in the garments business for many years. "We were barely surviving after the outbreak of the Covid-19," he said. "Now, this tragedy has befallen us. I request authorities and people for support in these tough times.”
Home insurance gives peace of mind
Insurance industry executives have urged UAE residents to take home insurance, as it offers one peace of mind in case of damages and doesn’t cost much as well. On average, home insurance for a rented one-bedroom house costs between Dh400 to Dh600 per year.
Mahmood has revealed that, unfortunately, his villa was not insured.
Anas Mistareehi, chief operating officer of Al Wathba National Insurance Co, said market studies estimated that around five to 10 per cent of the UAE population holds home insurance policies.
“Though it is not a legal requirement, home insurance is the best investment you could get to secure your home from the risk of theft, damage and natural disasters that we can never fully eliminate. Home insurance offers peace of mind on a day-to-day basis, allowing you to enjoy living in your property without worry,” he said.
“Time and again, we keep hearing about unfortunate fires in different parts of the country. Unforeseen losses caused by such fires can be covered by policies that insure contents and personal belongings. Some policies also help offer alternative accommodation in case the insured's home has been affected by the fire,” said Hitesh Motwani, chief marketing officer at Insurancemarket.ae.
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