Complex Made Simple

Does Your Car Insurance Policy Have The Right ‘Add-Ons’?

As part of its initiative to spread awareness among insurance buyers in Bahrain, the Souqalmal.com team uncovers the additional value provided by optional car insurance addons being offered by insurers in the Kingdom.

Did you know that car owners in Bahrain collectively claimed BD 75 Million against their car insurance policies in 2017 alone? Motor insurance is unarguably the biggest and most popular insurance business in Bahrain, making up 30 percent of the industry’s total insurance premiums.

Given the large number of insurance companies operating in Bahrain (36 as of today) and an even wider range of car insurance plans on offer, car owners are quite literally spoilt for choice. Specifically for those car owners interested in opting for comprehensive car insurance, there are dozens of options available at varying price points, with varying grades of coverage.

According to Souqalmal.com Founder & CEO Ambareen Musa, “What if we told you that your comprehensive car insurance plan could be made even more comprehensive and all-inclusive in terms of coverage? And the way to do this is as simple as choosing the right ‘add-ons’ or optional coverage features when you sign up for a new car insurance policy.”

The Souqalmal.com team analyzed multiple car insurance policies being sold in Bahrain to uncover exactly what features are available as optional add-ons.

No Claim Discount Protection

Traditionally, insurance companies reward policyholders for not making any claims during the policy term. This financial reward is available in the form of a No Claims Discount, which effectively reduces your insurance premium for the next year. And in case you make a claim, this discount may go down significantly or get wiped away completely depending on the step-back scale used by the insurer.

The optional No Claim Discount Protection feature, also known as ‘Renewal Discount Protection’, protects your No Claims Discount and therefore your potential savings at the time of your car insurance renewal. This benefit is usually subject to the maximum claimed amount during the policy term. However, this feature will fail to protect your No Claim Bonus if you make even a single claim that’s due to your own fault. In fact, in such a case, your premium will most likely go up at the time of renewal.

Personal Accident Cover 

This elective cover compensates the insured vehicle’s driver and passengers in case of accidental death, permanent and total loss of eyesight, as well as permanent and total loss of use of limbs. The scale of compensation under this feature varies across insurance companies. Financial compensation could range from as low as BD 1,000 to as high as BD 15,000 each for the driver and passengers, depending on the policy chosen.

It is important to note that the compensation for passengers is significantly lower or nil, if they are below 16-18 years of age, or above 75 years of age. The financial benefits will also be withheld if the number of passengers at the time of the accident exceeds the licensed seating capacity of the car. Agency Repair

The optional Agency Repair cover guarantees that your car will be repaired at the car manufacturer’s authorized workshop in case of an accident. Most comprehensive insurance policies may either require you to opt for agency repairs as an add-on benefit or may automatically cover agency repair for an insured car that is up to three years old. Some may even allow you to extend your agency repair cover to five years (from the date of car manufacture), for an additional premium of course.

Vehicle Assistance Services

The nomenclature may vary on this one. Also advertised as Accident & Breakdown Rescue or Roadside Assistance, this particular feature covers you in case your car breaks down or becomes impossible to drive due to an accident or any other reason (flat tire, dead battery, keys getting locked inside or running out of fuel). The insurer agrees to provide the required assistance, or tow and transport the car to a garage.

Little known fact – Depending on the insurance company, the geographical coverage within this category may extend to Saudi Arabia, other GCC countries, as well as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. So that’s something to look out for.

Cover Against Natural Disasters

Contrary to popular belief, your car insurance policy may not automatically cover loss or damage to your vehicle caused by natural perils like floods, storms, earthquakes and hailstorms. To avoid being stranded with a rejected claim and a hefty bill for repairs, you may consider opting for this add-on cover.

Apart from the ones mentioned here, car owners in Bahrain also have the option of selecting add-on features like Windscreen Protection, Replacement Car Hire, GCC Cover, Worldwide Emergency Travel Assistance and Spare Parts Depreciation Cover. Some insurers also offer VIP Services as part of policy add-ons offering car owners complimentary drop-offs at the Airport, pickup and delivery of the car for routine maintenance, traffic inspection and registration.

It is also important to note that while one insurance company may include some or all of the abovementioned add-ons within their standard car insurance benefits, another might require you to opt and pay for each of these separately. And there may still be other providers that don’t offer some of these add-ons at all.

The onus is ultimately on customers to compare apples-to-apples and not get swayed by lower premiums. And the right way to go about it is to compare the value offered by different insurance providers, and tailor their policy coverage based on their specific requirements.

Musa adds, “This is the primary reason why Souqalmal.com urges customers to read through and review multiple car insurance quotes, policy benefits and coverage details before signing up for a car insurance policy and making a year-long financial commitment.”

About Souqalmal.com

Souqalmal.com is the biggest and most-trusted insurance and banking comparison website in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, allowing users to compare personal finance products such as credit cards, loans, bank accounts and insurance. The company has now become the first-ever insurance aggregator in Bahrain. Envisioned as a highly transparent marketplace, Souqalmal.com empowers consumers to make the right choice by bringing together on one convenient platform all the latest details on more than 3,200 banking, insurance and education products offered by providers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Souqalmal.com won “Best Technology Firm” at the 2017 MENA Insurance Awards, which further solidifies the role that it is currently playing in the InsurTech arena. The company also ranked second among Forbes’s “Top 20 Most Disrupting FinTech Startups” in the Middle East. Most recently, International Business Magazine recognized Souqalmal.com as the “Best Comparison Website UAE 2019”. For more information visit: https://www.souqalmal.com/bh-en/car-insurance/