With the long National Day holidays approaching, most residents are likely packing their bags for a trip outside the country. While some might be flying out, a good number are expected to drive across to neighbouring countries. With the lush green mountains of Salalah and the stunning seascapes of the Musandam Peninsula, Oman has always been a favourite destination among travellers during the holidays, and things are not going to be any different this time around. So, if you happen to be among those choosing the long drive option this long weekend, there are a few things to bear in mind to avoid annoying complications.
Even if you’ve gone through the drill of getting your car overhauled, oil changed, brakes, tyres and wipers inspected, there is one very important thing that needs to be checked before you set out; your vehicle’s insurance. Below are three essential points you need to know before crossing borders.
1. Get the Orange Card
Well, you might have paid extra to get additional geographical areas such as Oman and the GCC added to your insurance policy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eligible to cross over. While a mention of this extra cover in your policy document was sufficient earlier, a circular issued by the UAE Insurance Authority in 2011 made it mandatory for all companies licensed to engage in motor insurance in the UAE to extend this cover only through the ‘Orange Card’. This circular was specifically for vehicles licensed in the UAE intending to cross over to Oman, as the country was not a member of the group of Arab countries that are signatories to the 1975 Arab Insurance Card Convention before that. So make sure you visit your motor insurance company’s office and get the Orange Card issued because this rule is being enforced much more strictly now.
2. Avoid temporary insurance coverage
Most people will tell you that temporary insurance coverage can be arranged at the border. However, if you’re doing this, there’s a very important factor to consider. At the border, you’ll only be offered a policy that covers third party liability. While it is a cheaper option, and is often seen as just a necessary evil to get across the border, what many vehicle owners do not realise is that if your car is NOT insured comprehensively, then the entire responsibility falls on you if anything happens to the occupants of your car. Not only will you be on your own to get your car repaired, but you will also be liable to cover damages of all the occupants and the driver of your vehicle in the event of a collision. It is definitely worth getting comprehensive insurance before setting off.
3. Take the multinational route
While there are several great local companies to get your motor insurance cover from, experts suggest that those planning to cross borders any time of the year will be better off getting their policies issued by multinational companies at the time of registration itself. This is especially important when you travel during public holidays. “To get your vehicles insured locally, there are many reliable local companies that offer the same quality of cover as their multinational counterparts,” says Fawaz Ebrahim, business development manager at Gargash Insurance. However, he says global brands have an edge as they have a wider network of branches and helplines in case you need assistance abroad. “Multinational companies have international toll-free numbers that are not affected by local public holidays. So even if you need help or advice including road-side assistance while in another country, these firms will be better placed than their local counterparts,” adds Fawaz. Just remember to keep all the essential numbers saved on your phone, with copies in your wallet or the car’s glove box.