Video: UAE businessman loses Dh5 million worth of cars due to hailstorm in Al Ain

Luxury vehicles had their windows smashed, bonnets and bodies dented, with some even submerged in water

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Angel Tesorero

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Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 7:14 PM

Last updated: Sun 18 Feb 2024, 3:45 PM

An Emirati businessman said he lost about Dh5 million after 47 of his brand new and second-hand cars were damaged during the rain, hailstorm and flooding that hit Al Ain at the start of the week.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on Friday, Mohammed Rashid Abdullah, 51, owner of Al Motamad Car Showroom at Al Ain industrial area, said never in his 22 years of doing business has he ever experienced his entire fleet of cars damaged by a natural calamity.


Hail — some the size of golf balls — poured down like white rain in Al Ain, where many areas were flooded and covered in thin sheets of ice on Monday, February 12, as many parts of the UAE were battered by incessant downpour.

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Residents who have been living in Al Ain for decades said what they experienced “was the heaviest hailstorm (they) have seen in years.”

For Abdullah, the inclement weather condition adversely affected his business, with damages estimated at Dh5 million. Luxury sedans such as Continental Bentley, Lexus Mini Cooper; Range Rovers and other top-of-the-line SUVs; full size pick-up trucks, compact and mid-range sedans were heavily damaged. Their windows were smashed, bonnets and bodies dented and some were even submerged in water.

Abdullah said despite warnings about rain, he never imagined that things would escalate to strong winds, flooding and hailstorm. "We hope that after what we have witnessed, there will be designated areas in Al Ain that will be made available for car showroom owners to display their cars and be protected from natural disasters,” he said.

What made things worse, according to Abdullah, was the lack of insurance to compensate for the car damages. “Insurance companies only insure cars after they are sold. The insurance for the car showroom only covers fire and other incidents in the showroom, but the cars themselves are not insured,” he pointed out.

What is covered by insurance?

According to an insurance platform, there is a form of insurance that covers ‘force majeure’ or events such as natural disasters, civil unrest, or any other unforeseeable events that could harm individuals and properties. But the coverage does not include individual motor vehicles at a car showroom.

Toshita Chauhan, business head - Health and Motor Insurance at PolicyBazaar.ae, explained: “Assuming the vehicles are held in commercial capacity and, in this case, Abdullah sells new and used cars, but the regular motor insurance policy will not be applicable here as the cars are in storage and waiting to be sold. The vehicles are part of the inventory.”

Toshita Chauhan
Toshita Chauhan

“(Abdullah) should have taken what is known as ‘property all risk’ insurance — which could have covered the current and future inventory of such vehicles,” Chauhan noted.

“The insurance company at the time of quote would require a list of vehicles — make, model and car values which are being stored. A surveyor would typically come in and assess the risk and quote the premium and sum insured/sub-limits accordingly. Customers should always ensure that natural calamities like floods and hail storm damage cover is included as part of the policy cover.”

Minimising loss

Abdullah is grappling with the huge loss. He said he will salvage what he can and still sell the vehicles at 20 to 40 per cent of the actual price. He will be strictly transparent with the condition of the vehicles to maintain his credibility and gain customers' trust.

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