Home Finance Insurance An expat guide to getting insurance in Qatar
Last update on March 17, 2020
Written by Gary Buswell

Every country has different laws when it comes to what forms of insurance you legally need to purchase, therefore expats will need to look into insurance in Qatar when planning their move to the country.

Insurance is one of the key things to sort out when moving abroad. In Qatar, you can buy coverage for a variety of aspects of day-to-day life and work. This guide includes the following information:

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Cigna Global provides comprehensive health insurance to over 86 million customers in over 200 countries. They have a wide access to trusted hospitals, clinics and doctors and provide expats with help on tailoring a plan to suit your individual healthcare needs.

Overview of insurance in Qatar

Insurance is a fast-growing industry in Qatar. Annual premiums are valued at around $3 billion, which is around 5% of the market share in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Compared to many places, however, the penetration rate is modest; currently below 2%, compared with an average of 8.9% among OECD nations.

Qatari riyal

The growth of insurance in Qatar can be explained in part by the increase in expats relocating to the country. A number of insurance companies operate there, with the five largest firms accounting for 80 per cent of the market share. Because Qatar is an Islamic country, you can get sharia-compliant Islamic insurance through cooperative organizations.

The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) both regulate insurance in Qatar. In 2016, the government introduced new rules to harmonize regulation of the sector.

Which forms of insurance in Qatar are legally required?

Car insurance

You will need to insure all motor vehicles in Qatar – including motorcycles – with at least third party liability insurance. This covers you for any claims made by third parties for damage and injury. However, it won’t cover costs relating to yourself or your own vehicle.

Car accident

If you want full coverage, you can purchase comprehensive car insurance. This will cover all costs, even if the incident is your fault. In addition to cover relating to road incidents, comprehensive insurance also protects against fire, theft, and vandalism.

Some insurance companies in Qatar offer additional forms of car insurance, such as off-road cover and coverage of agency repair costs. Similar to many other countries, factors such as vehicle value, level of coverage, and driver profile influence the cost of car insurance in Qatar.

Social insurance

Unlike other countries, Qatar doesn’t have mandatory social security programs that cover all residents or employees. However, public-sector employees, as well as some private-sector workers, make compulsory contributions towards insurance-based schemes. In return, they are entitled to:

  • old-age pension;
  • disability benefits;
  • survivor pension

Qatari nationals can access other social security benefits such as unemployment cover and maternity benefit through a free program funded by the state. However, this doesn’t extend to foreign residents. If you are an expat in Qatar and want to protect yourself against unemployment, or get financial protection to cover childbirth costs, you will need to take out a private insurance plan.

Optional forms of insurance in Qatar

Health insurance

There is no compulsory health insurance system in Qatar. The government funds a public healthcare program that is available to all who have a healthcare card. This includes expat residents who meet eligibility requirements.

Healthcare

Anyone who cannot access public healthcare, or who wants a higher level of coverage, can purchase private health insurance in Qatar. Many private-sector employers offer this and individuals can also choose their own tailored plans.

Private health insurance companies in Qatar include:

Home insurance

Neither home, building, nor contents insurance is compulsory in Qatar. Despite this, landlords typically insure rented homes, but this is not always the case. It is usually only the building that is insured and not the contents. Therefore, if you are renting in Qatar, you should check the level of coverage purchased by the landlord.

Home insurance

If you want to purchase your own insurance, you can choose the type of coverage and what to include. Building insurance usually covers accidental damage such as fire or flood damage, plus vandalism. You can add contents insurance and choose the value of possessions you want to be covered.

You can also choose to add liability coverage, which will include any claims made against you by third parties for injury or damage to your property. Many insurers offer optional coverage, such as the cost of alternative accommodation, if you cannot stay in your home for a period of time due to damage.

Similar to other forms of Qatari insurance, costs will depend on the value of what is being covered, the level of coverage, and various risk factors.

Life insurance

Qatari residents can purchase different forms of life insurance to provide for themselves or dependent relatives in the event of disability or death.

The various insurance companies offer different packages. Some have combined packages that you can purchase along with medical insurance. Most will pay out lump sums in the event of the policy holder’s death or disability. You can also purchase life insurance policies that cover situations including unemployment or financial problems such as debt.

If you are thinking of purchasing life insurance from a Qatari provider, it is advisable to shop around and find the right policy for you.

Accident insurance

You can find insurance companies in Qatar which offer accident insurance as a standalone policy. You can use this to cover the costs of being unable to work if you are injured, as well as the costs of any emergency medical treatment. With most insurers, you can tailor your policy to suit your age and circumstances.

Travel insurance

If your work or lifestyle means that you frequently travel abroad, you should consider travel insurance. With some destinations, such as Schengen countries, it may even be a requirement to obtain a visa.

Luggage

Most Qatari insurers offer travel insurance. This will usually include things such as lost baggage, trip delay or cancellation, and costs such as emergency accommodation. However, medical coverage is normally limited.

Additionally, insurers may charge you a higher premium if you intend to partake in extreme or dangerous sports or activities, or are traveling to a high-risk location. You will typically be able to choose from a series of regional or global travel insurance packages.

Commercial insurance in Qatar

If you are starting a business in Qatar or working in a self-employed or freelance capacity, you can take out insurance to protect your business interests. Types of business insurance include:

  • Liability insurance – general third-party liability insurance covers claims made by third parties relating to damages or injuries that take place on your business premises or are caused by your business activities. You can also buy professional liability cover which protects against financial or reputational damage arising from your professional activities.
  • Property insurance – can be all-risk covering all your business assets including premises and movable equipment, or an individual policy relating to building or equipment.
  • Worker compensation insurance – compulsory insurance for businesses in Qatar with employees under the Qatar Labour Law. This covers costs arising from workplace accidents or illnesses.
  • Business interruption insurance – you can usually purchase this as an extension of property insurance. It covers additional costs such as loss of revenue or operational costs in the event of the business having to close for a period.

In addition to the above general business insurances, you can purchase different forms of insurance to cover industry-specific risks; for example relating to construction, energy, or aviation sectors.

Tools for comparing insurance in Qatar

You can compare health insurance quotes from some of the big international providers by visiting our health insurance quotes page.

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