Sulafa Tower, The Address Downtown, Salon Ink… there have been a spate of tower-block blazes in Dubai over the last 12 months.

But despite the damage caused to homes and residents’ possessions, up to 80 per cent of expats still don’t have insurance.

“Home and contents insurance are essential for homeowners and tenants alike as it safeguards property and valuables. However, we estimate that almost 80 per cent of expats are not protected and that is a frightening statistic,” Hamzah Shalchi, Regional Manager at Guardian Wealth Management, told Arabian Business.

“Often in home countries this type of insurance is mandatory or automatic but in this region it is often not thought about and people aren’t always sure how to go about it.”

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In a survey in Good magazine last year, 52 per cent of UAE residents questioned didn’t see cover as a priority, and 10 per cent said they didn’t even know how to get it.

However considering the things that can go awry – from electrical faults to AC units malfunctioning – insurance is a crucial thing to have in place, and residents can’t afford to be lackadaisical about the matter.

While burglary is pretty rare in the UAE, it does happen – but the risk of fires and flooding is very real. Even just minor smoke damage can destroy many of your belongings.

Contents insurance covers all of your valuables, even if you lose them outside of your home (so yes, you can claim when you misplace your phone).

Policies can be tailored to your needs, so you can either insure just your personal belongings, all contents including existing whiteware or furniture provided within a rental, or your entire building (if you’re the homeowner).

If you’re a landlord, you can also insure against a loss of rent if your property is damaged, or if you’re a tenant, insurance plans can be tweaked to include cover for alternative housing should you be forced out due to fires, flooding or the like.

However insurance does not cover issues caused by failing to look after the property with due care.

Some things you should know about insurance

– The landlord is responsible for insuring the property itself (which they must by law if it’s mortgaged) but it’s up to the tenant to insure their belongings (this is not compulsory, but very much advised).

– You can either approach insurance companies directly for a quote, or use an expert broker to save you time. They often have access to more providers too.

– If hunting yourself, use a comparison tool on sites such as to check out all the different plans. If you just enter details of exactly what you need, they’ll get back to you with options and prices later that day.

– Make sure you read that small print before you buy – check and check again that you’re getting the cover you need. Make yourself familiar with the policy restrictions, and any excesses you’ll need to pay on claims.

– In the event you need to make a claim, contact your insurance provider immediately. They may ask you to provide a police report for stolen items, or receipts for items you need replaced.

You may be eligible for a discount if you have another insurance policy (for, say, a car) with the same provider.

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Image: Getty