Did you know you need drone insurance for your drone? Just like getting insurance for your car or home, making sure that your aerial vehicle is fully covered is key to ensuring you are prepared for any unexpected event down the road.
It is important to understand the different drone insurance coverages you can purchase, the projected costs involved, and how to go about getting a comprehensive policy to cover your drone. For all this information and more, we have prepared the following guide to provide you with everything you need to know about drone insurance so you can choose the right policy for you.
What Is Drone Insurance?
Whether you are using your drone for recreational purposes or business endeavors, having drone insurance to cover your aerial vehicle is always the wisest move. Most homeowner’s insurance companies do not cover drones, even if you use it in your yard. A few offer coverage only if you use your drone commercially.
What is drone insurance? Drone insurance is the same as any other insurance coverage. If something were to happen to your drone, or it was involved in an accident, your insurance policy will take care of certain costs to cover the resulting damaging and liability. If you pilot your drone professionally, insurance companies will typically require you to have maintenance logs, operating manuals, purchase records, and proof of training or a training plan from a drone pilot school.
This documentation shows an insurance company how safe of a flyer you are and how risky it could be to insure you. The more equipped you are and the better your record as a drone pilot, the better chance you have of becoming insured for good rates.
What It Covers
Drone insurance companies could cover you for a wide range of purposes. Activities include everything from law enforcement, SWAT, homeland security, maritime, and shipping to national parks and recreation, movies and videography, news gathering, and beyond.
Types of Coverage
The first drone insurance type available is liability coverage. Liability insurance is the basis for all other types of policies, so you must purchase it before adding further coverage options. Liability coverage protects you in the event of bodily injury or property damage incurred when operating your drone for commercial purposes.
Liability limits usually begin at $500,000 and could go as high as $10,000,000 depending on the needs of a business. The limits available to you will depend on the underwriting requirements a particular insurance company has.
Hull coverage is the second tier of drone insurance to look into. The idea behind hull coverage is to shield a business from the financial ramifications of physical damage to a drone when flying. If you operate your drone commercially, you would likely meet with your broker and the insurance company to agree on the aerial vehicle’s value.
The ultimate value will determine the limits of your hull coverage. As an example, if you purchased your drone a few years ago for around $1,500, the current value will probably have depreciated. If your drone was totaled in an accident, your insurance company would write you a check for the insured total value of the vehicle save for any deductibles involved.
Depending on what you use your drone for, another type of drone insurance to consider is payload coverage. If your business uses the drone to transport sensor and camera equipment, payload coverage will protect you in the event those items are damaged in an accident.
Payload coverage is very similar to hull coverage, with the difference being it is made to protect the payload equipment only. A 5 to 10 percent deductible is typically associated with payload coverage.
Ground Equipment Coverage
For items like laptops, tablets, cases, ground stations, remote controllers, and other ground equipment needed to operate your drone, choosing ground equipment coverage is essential. You can add this coverage to your drone insurance policy for a deductible and rate fairly close to the figures for hull and payload policies.
There are a few different categories that fall under non-owned coverage. The first is non-owned UAV liability coverage. This option is geared towards businesses using drones which are neither leased for long periods nor owned by you as the insured.
If you fall into this category, non-owned UAV liability insurance will protect you should a property damage or bodily injury claim come up at any point. This excludes any damage to the actual drone and the limits of liability are usually the same as those for owned aerial vehicles.
Non-owned UAV hull coverage functions just like regular hull coverage with the difference being that it is designed for physical damage on non-owned drones used by the insured. You can usually choose your policy limits for this coverage.
The final option is non-owned payload coverage. This coverage is like regular payload coverage but is designed for non-owned vehicles.
If you own your drone but use sensors you do not own, non-owned payload coverage is the best option to cover you in case of an accident. A number of insurance companies opt to add this to the policy only if your situation requires it. Others will let you name your own policy limits and add in a “blanket” endorsement to the coverages.
Personal Injury Coverage
Personal injury coverage is a newer type of drone insurance policy that shields you from slander, libel, privacy violation, and copyright infringement incidents. The media has spread a sense of panic to the masses regarding aerial vehicles in recent years. Should someone accuse your business of privacy violations due to drone operation, this kind of policy could come in handy.
Most drone insurance policies are divided into two sections: liability and hull damage. Liability relates to damage and third-party claims while hull damage covers damage to your actual aerial vehicle. An insurance policy with a liability policy limits of $1,000,000 could cost as low as $500 to $750 per year to maintain.
It is important to get quotes for any insurance company you are interested in to identify what best fits your needs. Insurance brokers often consider elements like your flight time and any training you have received when preparing your application to submit to the underwriter.
If you are new to operating a drone but want to have coverage just in case, consider on-demand coverage. You pay an hourly fee for this policy, so you can activate coverage as you go along. Costs can be as low as $5 to $10 per hour, while still allowing you to have as much as $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
How to Get Drone Insurance
The first step in choosing drone insurance is to get quotes from various insurance companies and see which are the best for your situation. You can visit the website for any insurance company you are interested in, complete their online “get a quote” questionnaire and receive your quote right away.
To get a quote, you will need to have key information available regarding your contact details, address, coverages needed, aerial vehicle, flight time, training, accident history, and other pertinent elements pertaining to your drone. Once you have gathered quotes from all the companies you are looking into, you can determine which best meets your needs and work with the insurance company to structure your policy accordingly.
Top Providers, Brokers, and Underwriters
One option if you would prefer not to choose an annual drone insurance policy is to go with on-demand coverage. On-demand insurance is paid hourly, so you can choose coverage as you need it and only when you need it. Companies like SkyWatch and Verifly are good options for this coverage.
For drone insurance brokers, entities like Aerial Pak, Avalon Risk Management, Aviation Insurance Resources, AVION Insurance, BWI Aviation Insurance, Driessen Assuadeuren, Full Frame Insurance, and Harpenau Insurance Agency are great ones. Other recommended brokers include Houston Casualty, SkySmith, Skyvuze, Kinney Pike Insurance, Sutton James Incorporated, UAV Protect, and Unmanned Risk Management.
For drone insurance underwriters, AIG, Allianz, Global Aerospace, Lloyd’s, Meadowbrook, and Great American Insurance Group are some of the best in the business. SwissRE, Starr Aviation, XL Catlin, and USAIG are excellent ones too.
Filing a Claim
Always read your insurance policy carefully to see what your company wants you to do or not do if an accident happens. If an accident occurs, let your insurance company know right away, providing details regarding the place, time, information about any people involved, and the accident itself.
If the police need to be called, notify them immediately. Make no written or oral statements without the express permission of your drone insurance company. Do not leave your aerial vehicle abandoned if an accident occurs.
Be sure to work with the insurance company throughout the process, including if they need to examine the aerial vehicle before repairing or disposing of it. Finally, file your claim within the time frame required by your policy so you do not run into any coverage issues along the way.
If you are considering purchasing drone insurance, you have already made the essential first step towards ensuring the safety and security of your aerial vehicle. Take your time when choosing your drone insurance policy and select the structure and coverage options that work best for you.