Home Finance Insurance An expat guide to getting car insurance in Qatar
Last update on October 12, 2020
Gary Buswell Written by Gary Buswell

Moving to Qatar and planning to drive? This guide explains everything you need to know about getting car insurance in Qatar.

Qatar has a system of compulsory insurance for all vehicles, which you will need to cover to at least a third-party level. Therefore, this is something you need to look into if you are planning on bringing a car or driving in the country.

To help you get to grips with the Qatari system, this guide to vehicle insurance in Qatar covers the following topics:

Introduction to car insurance in Qatar

Car insurance in Qatar is compulsory and it is one of the biggest insurance markets in what is a growing sector in the country. Third-party car insurance is the minimum legal requirement but you can buy extra cover if you want to.

It is the vehicle rather than the driver that is insured in Qatar. Consequently, anyone with a driving license in Qatar can drive a vehicle once it is insured. The insurance will only cover one vehicle, however, it is possible to get discounted coverage for two or more cars with many Qatari insurers.

Driving in Qatar

You need to have a minimum of 12 months’ insurance on a vehicle in Qatar before it can be registered. You can purchase insurance if you have a valid driving license and provide a Qatari address. If you are caught driving without insurance by the traffic police, you will be fined (around QR 1000) and may end up with points on your license.

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) both regulate the insurance sector in Qatar.

Can you use car insurance from another country in Qatar?

Some policies purchased in Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries are valid across the region, but you will need to check first with your insurer. Otherwise, you will need to take out insurance from a company licensed in Qatar in order to drive. You can choose from a range of Qatari national companies and international providers.

Holders of driving licenses from several countries including EU nations and the US can drive in Qatar using their existing licenses for one week. After this, you must obtain a temporary Qatari license, a full license, or a six-month international driving license. You may be able to use any existing insurance for a short time during the crossover period. Speak to your insurance company about this before traveling.

Types of car insurance in Qatar

There are two main forms of car insurance in Qatar. These are:

Third-party liability

The minimum legal requirement which covers you for any claims made by third parties for damage or injury caused by incidents where you are the driver at fault.

However, third party liability insurance won’t cover any of your own costs such as damage to your own vehicle or equipment. It’s worth considering if your vehicle is not of high value or if you don’t drive often.

Fully comprehensive

This insurance provides full coverage and will cover all costs even if you are fully at fault. It covers not only vehicle damage sustained in road accidents but also fire damage, storm damage, theft, and vandalism. Some policies also include features such as breakdown assistance.

However, there are exclusions. These often include:

  • incidents that occur when driving off-road;
  • any accidents where you have committed a traffic violation;
  • if you use the vehicle for purposes other than specified (e.g. if you insure it only for work purposes and have an accident while using it for personal use);
  • deliberate or intentional damage to the car.
car insurance in Qatar

Additionally, some comprehensive policies only provide a limited amount of medical or legal coverage and some companies refuse to offer comprehensive insurance to cars over five years old. Check your policy for exclusions and conditions before signing.

Some companies also offer a third intermediate form of insurance known in many places as third-party, fire, and theft. This covers third-party liability, accidental damage to and theft of your own car but won’t cover your costs in accidents where you are at fault.

Car insurance costs

Car insurance premiums in Qatar are based around the current value of the vehicle. Expect to pay in the region of 4-7% of the value per year in premiums, depending on the level of coverage you purchase. Some companies have minimum value premiums; for example, the lowest annual premium they offer is QR 1,000.

In addition to this, the driver profile is taken into account. For example, driver age and driving history. Premiums increase if you are considered to be a higher risk.

Most policies include an excess or deductible. This is the amount you need to pay towards any claim you make. You can choose to increase your excess in order to lower your monthly/annual premiums, which will save you money if you don’t make any claims.

Additional forms of car insurance in Qatar

In addition to the main forms of insurance, most companies offer a range of extra car insurance in Qatar. Companies may include some of these with comprehensive policies while others might not be available with certain third-party coverage (e.g., insurance for older vehicles).

Popular types of extra coverage include:

  • Off-road insurance – standard policies don’t cover driving on non-paved roads or sand dunes. This coverage extends to all terrains;
  • No-claims protection – will make sure that your no-claims bonus is not affected if you make a claim;
  • Personal accident insurance – coverage on standard policies may be limited or missing altogether. This insurance covers all medical costs;
  • Agency repair insurance – repairs will be done at your car brand’s agency during the first year of its registration, but after this, your insurer will choose a workshop. You can add this insurance to comprehensive policies if you want the right to choose where your car is treated;
  • Roadside assistance – covers towing, repair costs and replacement vehicle costs;
  • Engine protection – covers engine replacement in the event of damage due to wear and tear.

Car insurance bonuses and penalties in Qatar

Car insurance companies offer no-claims bonuses, discounting your premiums for each year you go without a claim. Each company will have its own no-claims policy. Most offer around 10% discount after one year of no claims, rising each year and reaching a maximum of 50% off for several years without a claim.

If you can provide proof of a no-claims history with other companies, insurers in Qatar will often take this into account when calculating your premium. However, there is no obligation for companies to carry over no-claims periods earned elsewhere. It is at the discretion of the company and what you are able to negotiate.

While companies may be willing to discount no-claims periods, they will also not hesitate to increase premiums if you are deemed a high-risk driver. Expect to pay higher car insurance costs if you:

  • have caused an accident through careless driving;
  • have any points on your license or have committed traffic violations;
  • are a young or inexperienced driver.

Car insurance companies in Qatar

Car insurance companies in Qatar include:

  • Arabia Insurance Company (AIC)
  • AXA
  • Clements
  • Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ)
  • Doha Bank
  • Doha Insurance Group
  • General Takaful
  • Qatar Insurance Company (QIC)
  • Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC)
  • QNB

How to choose car insurance in Qatar

When choosing car insurance in Qatar, it’s wise to shop around and find the best and most suitable deal. Things you may want to take into account aside from premium costs are:

  • No-claims policy – what discounts are being offered and can you transfer no-claims periods from elsewhere?
  • Excess/deductible policy – what is the compulsory excess and how much can you reduce your premiums by increasing it?
  • Policy coverage – are there any notable exclusions, can you pay extra to include them if needed, and how much will it cost?
  • Roadside assistance – is this included, how much extra if not, and what level of coverage is provided?
  • Company reputation – what reviews or ratings has the company got? Check feedback on the company website, social media, online review or rating sites;
  • Claims process – what do you need to do to make a claim and how long will it all take?

Applying for car insurance in Qatar

Application procedures vary among insurance companies in Qatar. Most companies now provide an online application service where you can submit any supporting documents digitally.

You generally need to provide:

  • policyholder details (valid driving license, address, and ID);
  • vehicle details (make, model, current value);
  • driving profile of policyholder (information on the no-claims history and any points on license);
  • details on what the car will be used for (e.g., business use, personal use).

Making a car insurance claim in Qatar

You can make a claim for car insurance in Qatar by phone or in person at a company branch. Many companies now also allow claims to be made by email or online, as long as all necessary documentation is provided.

When making an insurance claim in Qatar, you should provide:

  • insurance claim form;
  • police report form for accidents where the police are involved;
  • minor road traffic accident (MRTA) form for minor accidents not involving police;
  • copy of insurance certificate or insurance policy number;
  • car registration details;
  • driving license and ID details for all parties involved;
  • photos if possible.

Canceling a contract or changing provider

You need to buy a minimum of 12 months’ coverage on your car insurance policy in Qatar. You may cancel or change the provider in the last month of coverage. If you cancel before this, you are unlikely to be refunded.

If you choose to renew your policy, some companies will allow you to cancel in subsequent years if you give one month’s notice by letter or e-mail. Check your company’s cancellation policy for details.

Making a complaint about a car insurance company in Qatar

If you wish to complain about an insurance company in Qatar, the first thing you need to do is contact the complaints department of the company with details of your complaint. Each company will have its own complaints team and processes which should be explained on its website and in the information provided to you when you take out a policy.

If the complaint cannot be resolved within the company, you can contact the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) with details of your complaint. The QCB does its best to resolve your complaint within seven working days.

Roadside assistance in Qatar

If you are unlucky enough to suffer a car breakdown in Qatar, there are a number of companies providing breakdown assistance. These include the Arabian Automobile Association (AAA), Qatar Car Towing, and MG Car Towing.

Many insurance companies offer breakdown assistance policies, usually as an add-on where you can cover costs for an increase to your premium. Some vehicle manufacturers, for example, Volkswagen and Chevrolet, offer breakdown coverage in Qatar directly through the company.

Costs vary according to provider and level of coverage. The AAA offers three membership schemes that vary between QR 250 – 750 per year.

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