Local and international media this week reported on the case of a British teacher who is recovering in a hospital in Dubai after suffering...

Local and international media this week reported on the case of a British teacher who is recovering in a hospital in Dubai after suffering serious head injuries following a horse riding accident.

The reports claim that Rebecca Chisholm was thrown from her horse while riding in Dubai and was airlifted to Rashid Hospital where she received medical attention.

While the expat worker had medical insurance through her employment at a Dubai school, the reports claim her insurance provider has refused to pay the medical bills as horse riding is classed as a hazardous sport and is not covered under the policy. As a result, the 24 year-old now faces a bill estimated at around £60,000 ($75,821), resulting in her family in the United Kingdom launching a fundraising campaign to help pay for her treatment.

According to the official list compiled by Dubai Health Authority, the following are not included as standard and excluded from coverage in most medical insurance policies in Dubai: “Treatments and services arising as a result of hazardous activities, including but not limited to, any form of aerial flight, any kind of power-vehicle race, water sports, horse riding activities, mountaineering activities, violent sports such as judo, boxing, and wrestling, bungee jumping and any professional sports activities.”

Avinash Babur, CEO of InsuranceMarket.ae, outlines below some insurance-related matters sporting fans in Dubai should be aware of if they are engaging in potentially dangerous activities like horse riding.

Do many health insurance providers class horse riding as an adventurous sport and don’t cover it?

Yes, most insurers follow the Dubai Health Authority list of exclusions. In the DHA Essential Benefits plan, horse riding is listed as an “excluded (non-basic) healthcare service”. Insurers at their discretion may add cover for hazardous sports activities however most follow the Basic exclusions list approved by DHA.

If UAE residents are horse riding fans and do it regularly, what do they advise?

Regular horse riding fans can purchase a “Personal Accident Insurance” to cover Death, Disability and Medical expenses arising from such activities.  Additionally, horse riding clubs can purchase a liability cover for financial claims made against them by their clients in case client get injured due to any negligence from the club, trainers etc.Can this option be added to an employee’s policy? Or would an employee take out a separate policy?

“Terms of Cover” in an Employee Health insurance program would be standard for all members within the group. The cover can be negotiated for the entire group but is usually not added for specific individuals within the group. Employees under a group who wish to have this cover can go for a Personal Accident Insurance cover, as discussed previously.

Are there any other activities that would normally not be covered under a standard employee work health insurance policy that people should look out for?

Activities such as (but not limited to) bungee jumping, judo, boxing, water sports, powered-vehicle racing, aerial flight, mountaineering are part of the hazardous sport’s exclusion. The exclusion lists these hazardous sports but also specifies that it is “including but not limited to”. For sports not explicitly listed, it would be best to request for confirmation from the insurer prior to buying the cover.

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