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Travel Insurance to UAE

UAE on the world map

The United Arab Emirate comprises of seven emirates, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi serving as its two most popular emirates. UAE is a home to some of the world's most extraordinary places like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari world, Miracle Garden, Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest tower, serving as a tourist magnet. The UAE has emerged as a tourist-friendly zone over the decades, and just in 2016; it recorded over 14.9 million visits. Several tourists visit the UAE during the period of April to May and the winter period of October to March due to its conducive weather at these periods.

Tourists and other travellers who intend travelling to the UAE are required to obtain a valid travel insurance policy. The travel insurance policy is meant for compensating some of the costs incurred as a result of sudden medical expenditures. Apart from covering inpatient and outpatient treatments, the travel insurance covers the expenses associated with medical evacuation, repatriation, search and rescue operations at an additional fee.

Why is the Travel insurance policy required?

The possession of a valid travel insurance policy is required prior to the issue of a visa by UAE consulate or Embassy to travellers from countries requiring Visas.

Besides, the medical care services at the UAE can be expensive without an insurance policy, and as such; the consulate mandates the possession of an insurance policy that meets the requirements for obtaining a visa to the UAE.

Types of Travel Insurance

The major types of travel insurance policies offered by several reputable insurance companies are:

  • Single Trip
  • Multi- trip insurance.

Cost of travel Insurance policies

The cost of obtaining a travel insurance policy is not fixed, and as such; the premium of any insurance policy depends on various factors. These factors are not limited to the following below.

Some Insurance companies may offer travel insurance services at different premiums, depending on their interests, organizational goals and business strategies. Some insurers may require the insured to pay certain amount of deductibles, while other insurers may not require the insured to pay deductibles before the actual coverage can begin to take effect.

The age of the traveler seeking the insurance policies determines the cost of the insurance policy. For example, the premium for an adult will be less expensive than the premium required to cover a child or an elderly person between the ages of 64 to 70 years.

The travel insurance policy can be supplemented at an additional cost by including non-medical options to protect the policyholder from certain event that may be financially catastrophic.

Several Insurance companies do not cover pre-existing condition, but a few of them provide policies with the capabilities of covering several kinds of pre-existing conditions at an increased premium.

Additional Options

Other options can be included by the insured to enhance the coverage capacity of the travel insurance policy.

These Additional options include:

  • Trip cancellation
  • Dental Insurance
  • Sport Insurance
  • Personal liability insurance
  • Luggage insurance
  • Accident insurance

The risk of forfeiting a fare may be associated with purchasing a ticket for a scheduled trip. After paying for a fare, the insured tourist may forcefully abandon his/her itinerary due to the occurrence of circumstantial events beyond his/her control.

It is expensive to receive dental and oral care services from a dentist in the UAE due to the expensive health care services offered in the private medical institutions. Hence, in order to perform certain kinds of dental procedures like crown, root, bridges, cavity fillings, tooth extractions, x-ray, regular cleaning and other prosthetic procedures, it is better to include the dental insurance.

The luggage of any traveller is subject to the risk of loss or damage by accidents and theft respectively. Provided this insurance is included, it will cover the expenses associated with losing the insured's luggage.

The sports insurance, if included; will provide coverage for expenses involved in treating severe injuries sustained by the insured during a sport or outdoor activity. Tourists planning to participate in one form of rigorous exercise or the other should endeavour to insure the associated risk by opting for the sports insurance option. This option is very relevant for sports enthusiasts, athletes, veterans and other military staff who intend to keep fit during their vacation in the UAE. For instance, if the insured intends to participate in the formula-one race at Dubai, it will be wiser to add this option, because, in case of an accident, the default medical insurance provided by the travel insurance will not be able to settle the expenses for treating a sustained injury. It will not provide subsequent compensational benefit, especially when the sports accident leads to certain kinds of disabilities.

The accident insurance provides coverage for treatment of severe injuries sustained due to an accident.

Will the medical insurance cover treatment for accidents, and why is the accident insurance necessary?

Yes, it will, but subsequent compensations for disabilities, dismemberment, loss of sight and extremities will not be provided by the travel insurance alone. Rather, if the accident insurance is included in advance, it will provide such compensations. For instance, if an insured tourist losses his sight and sustain multiple skin cuts during a car crash along the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. After coverage of the necessary treatment of the trauma and injuries, the accident insurance will provide compensation, due to his inability to continue his occupation.

Personal liability Insurance

An insured tourist may inadvertently destroy or inflict injuries on a third party, and get sued. And he/she may incur the cost of treating the third party or replacing the victims damaged property. Similarly, the insured may commit an offence in the UAE out of ignorance, but we know that ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law. In such an unfortunate situation the personal liability will cover the cost of settling any arising court case or punishment by the law. If necessary, the personal liability insurance will provide a competent lawyer to negotiate on the insured‘s behalf in such an unfortunate situation, provided this option is included by the insured prior to the insured event.

The basic insurance option covers the following costs:

  • Emergency call.
  • Delivery to the hospital and hospital treatment.
  • Ambulatory treatment.
  • Transportation to a medical institution.
  • Medical transportation from UAE to the insured’s country of resident.
  • Emergency evacuation to any other country with the capacity to treat the insured, especially if the adequate facilities are not available in the UAE.
  • Reimbursement for medical prescription.
  • Reimbursement of expenses for urgent telephone communication with the service center of the insurance company.
  • Repatriation in case of death of the Insured.
  • The insurance company will deny the coverage of a medical expense which arises from self-inflicted injuries.
  • Death as a result of suicide will not be compensated by the insurance policy.
  • False declaration of health status. If the insured provides false information about his/her health situation, the insurance company will refuse subsequent coverage. Therefore, it is better to present valid information about insured's health status, especially when the insured is diagnosed with a terminal illness immediately after purchasing the insurance policy.
  • Pre-existing conditions are not covered by several insurers, and only a handful of these insurers would cover pre-existing conditions at a high premium.
  • Injuries sustained from accidents as a result of drug abuse or excessive intake of alcoholic products will be denied by the insurance company.
  • The insurance coverage will fail if the accidents are experienced as a result of negligence on the insured’s part.

What to do if an insured event occurred?

First of all, contact the representative of the insurance company and provide detailed information regarding the insured event. Also, be sure to report any contraindications or allergies to certain kinds of medications. Duplicate (if possible) your appeal by sending an e-mail format of the complaint in addition.

At the time of the appeal, be ready to provide the costumer care with the following details:

  • Name of insured person
  • Number of the insurance policy and the name of the insurance company
  • Current location
  • Phone number that will be used in following up details about the insured’s situation

After this procedure the insured will receive instructions from the representative of the insurance company concerning the medical institution to visit. If the medical institution is far from the insured’s location. The insured must specify the mode of transportation required to deliver him/ her to the proposed medical institution. The insured must also make inquiries concerning who will incur the cost of such a fare.

Keep all documents and evidence concerning the payment of transport to the medical institution.

In the hospital, do not pay for any service, except it’s a copay. And don’t forget a passport or any other important documents at the front desk.

The insured must preserve all documents confirming the costs medications. If the name of the purchased drug does not coincide with the name of the medicine in the doctor’s prescription, the generic name of such medications must be obtained from the pharmacy.

Note:
If the Insured is directed by the customer care to a medical institution in which it is necessary to make cash payment, for subsequent compensation of expenses; the Insured must obtain the following documents:

  • An invoice for payment confirmation.
  • Doctor’s statement indicating the diagnosis in English.

Do not go to any medical institution, except the institutions recommended by the insurer’s customer care. Such actions may require the insured to bear the cost of the medical services without receiving compensation from insurance company in future.

Cost of Medical Services in the UAE

The cost of healthcare services in the UAE are quite expensive when compared to the cost of similar services in other developed parts of the world. For instance, the cost of coronary heart bypass surgery for several countries including the UAE are compared in the table below:

Country
Cost of Coronary surgery
United States
$130,000
UAE
$44,000
Singapore
$18,500
Thailand
$11,000
India
$10,000

In the UAE, public health facilities are highly standardized. Both the public and private sectors are equipped with modern healthcare facilities, which enables the sector to deliver basic and special health care services efficiently.

In order to receive affordable medical services, tourists and other foreigners are presented with the option of applying for a health care card from the UAE’s Ministry of Health. This card provides emergency health care services at the public health institutions. The second option for tourist and other foreigners is acquiring a private health insurance. However, several tourist and foreigners prefer to use their travel insurance policies to obtain subsidized medical services.

Tourists are advised to apply for the public healthcare cards either online or at any reputable medical centre, regardless of the ownership of an insurance policy. The insurance may not cover the cost of certain treatments, like pre-existing conditions and other chronic diseases.
The following are required for acquiring the UAE health card:

  • National Identification Number
  • Passport Details
  • Visa Details
  • Payment of approximately $87.12 (adults) and 32.66 (children)

The table below reveals the cost of some medical services in the UAE:

Medical Services
Approximate Cost
Doctors Consultation
$55 to $109
Eye correction Surgery (Lasik)
$1361.29 to $2178.06
Total Knee Replacement
$24,525
Tooth Filling
$55
Tooth Extraction
$40 to $70
Appendicitis
$2280 to $2600

Medicines

Medicines are usually obtained from pharmacies, and unlike Europe, there are so many pharmacies that offer medicines both with or without medical prescriptions. In places like Dubai, these pharmacies are opened for 24 hours throughout the 7 days of the week. Pharmaceuticals are controlled by stringent rules. And the usage of certain kinds of medications are restricted, for instance; codeine, sleeping pills and etc. surprisingly, several medications that are prohibited in other parts of the world are not restricted in the UAE. Hence, a list of these medications should be investigated to determine if it’s lawful or punishable to bring them into the UAE.

Medicines are expensive in places like Dubai, and tourists are advised to keep receipts after purchasing medications from the pharmacy if they intend to make subsequent claims concerning these expenses.

Emergency Number

Services
Number
Ambulance
998
Air Ambulance
999
Fire Emergency
997
Police
999
Weather response and Earthquake Emergency
+97126667776
Water and Electricity
8002332

Safety

Vaccinations are not required to visit the UAE. Nevertheless, doctors recommend some vaccinations for traveler heading towards the UAE. Vaccines are recommended for Hepatitis A and B, diphtheria and tetanus. Consult a doctor about administering these vaccines in the appropriate dosage. Inoculation against typhoid fever is heavily recommended for tourists who eat outdoors.

The following health issues are common in the UAE:

  • Sunburn
  • Sun Stroke
  • Dehydration
  • Hepatitis B
  • Swine Flu
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Legionnaires Disease

Tourists who intend to participate in excursions to the desert are advised to beware of unpleasant reptiles and creatures like snakes, spiders, scorpions and etc. in cases of a sting or bite, immediate medical support should be sought.

Tourist should not touch any of these creatures.

UAE possesses a desert climate, seasons of hot summers (July to August) with an average temperature of 45°C and an average humidity of 90%, and cool winters (October to March) characterized by a temperature range of 15° C to 30°C, and an annual rainfall of about 5 days. Spring lasts through the period of March to May, and autumn starts from September to the beginning of October. The days are usually sunny and pleasant, except the summer period which is characterized by a very hot temperature. Winter is the best season to visit the UAE due to the reduced temperature and humidity.

Although, the price of a liter of drinking water exceeds a litter of gasoline, due to the high demand for drinking water in the UAE. Tourists are advised to take adequate amount of water from originally sealed bottles manufactured by reputable water supply companies, and avoid excess intake of carbonated drinks due to the hot climate in the UAE.

According to Khaleej Times, 315 deaths were caused by road accidents in the first half of 2017, as revealed by the General Directorate of Traffic Coordination of Ministry of Interior. The statistics revealed 18.4% decrease in road traffic accident mortality, compared to 386 deaths recorded in the same period of 2016.

Injuries sustained due to traffic accidents in the UAE also decreased, as noted by statistics which revealed 12.5% decrease with a record of 3015 injured casualties, compared to 3,447 injured casualties recorded in the first half of 2016.

In addition, traffic accident occurrence decreased in the first two quarters of 2017, as figures indicated occurrences of 2133 accidents compared to 2,520 in the first half of 2016. In relation, a 15.4 % decline was recorded.

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