Majority of UAE residents don’t sign on to travel insurance

travel insurance UAE

Despite over 38% of UAE residents having seen an incident while travelling in the past 12 months, the majority do not take out travel insurance when flying internationally, according to a survey from yallacompare, the Middle East’s leading comparison site.

The survey revealed that the most common travel-related incidents faced by UAE residents are lost/stolen baggage and flight cancellations, with 25.5% and 18.2% of respondents respectively claiming to have experienced these setbacks while travelling in the past 12 months. And 5.5% said that they have had cash stolen while on holiday.

Despite this, when asked about their attitudes towards travel cover, 60% of survey respondents said that they do not take out travel insurance when they travel away from the UAE.

“There’s an almost perfect correlation in the data between those who have seen incidents while travelling and those who take out travel insurance when leaving the UAE. The 60% of respondents who do not regularly take out travel cover are almost exclusively made up of respondents who have not seen an incident while travelling, and vice versa,” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO of yallacompare.

“This attitude is understandable – if you’ve never seen an incident while travelling, why bother covering yourself for one? However, our position is that, given enough time, and enough journeys, seeing a travel-related setback such as lost luggage or a flight cancellation becomes more and more likely. Not being covered for this is like not wearing a seatbelt just because you’ve never been in a car accident.”

This sentiment is not shared by the majority of UAE residents; of the survey respondents who stated that they do not take out travel insurance regularly, just 35% said that they assumed they should, but never get around to it. Indeed, 30% of respondents said that they do not see the point in travel insurance at all, while others said that cover was either too expensive (13.6%), or too difficult to arrange (6.1%).

These attitudes are worrying because over 76% of survey respondents said that they travel away from the UAE at least twice a year, with just over 27% saying that they travel four or more times every year.

“Given how often UAE residents tend to travel, it’s astonishing that so many respondents do not even see the point in travel insurance at all. Some respondents may have provided this answer because they have complimentary travel insurance included with their credit cards – a common feature on air miles credit cards. Unfortunately, many of these policies make it difficult for cardholders to claim. For example, one card on our site requires cardholders to fill out a difficult-to-find form, without which the cardholder isn’t covered. Another would only offer insurance if the flight ticket for the journey was bought with the credit card,” explained Rawling.

“What’s more, these policies tend to offer lower levels of coverage than an individual travel insurance policy would. For instance, the travel insurance policies available for purchase on yallacompare offer emergency medical expenses of up to $1 million, personal liability of up to $1 million, and one economy-class ticket for emergency family travel if needed – among other benefits. With the policies included on credit cards, the limits tend to be lower, or the benefits simply aren’t included at all.”

Earlier this year, yallacompare announced that the number of people looking for travel insurance in the UAE had skyrocketed ahead of the summer holidays. However, given the results of this recent survey, it would appear that the majority of UAE residents are still happy to carry on travelling without cover.

This survey was conducted between June and July, 2017, and took responses from over 300 UAE residents.

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