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Your Drone Insurance Guide 101

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For any of you drone lovers, at this point, drone insurance is pretty much a necessity. 

Feel doubted about that? 

Think about this: Between commercial and personal drone usage, there are thousands of registered drones in America

With a multitude of people using these flying machines, it is about time to dive into the inquiry of “still, is UAV insurance legit necessary to me?”

It is safe to state that, more often than not, the answer is yessir.

Let’s dig into several key details related through the following comprehensive drone insurance guide.

One thing to note, in the guide, we also refer to the term ‘drones’ as UAVs (unmanned aircraft vehicles), crewless aircraft, flying robots, or flying machines.

a drone on the table

Personal drone insurance: What is it?

First things first, similar to lots of other coverage types, there is not one all-inclusive drone pilot insurance. The kind of insurance has to do with what you plan to use your UAV for, and this tends to divide into either commercial or personal usage.

Speaking of personal UAV insurance, you see it offer significant protections for those who just prefer capturing pictures and videos with their flying machine for non-professional purposes.

It is worth noting that in case you are among those having some simple fun flying your drone around your neighborhood, drone insurance is still necessary. 

Wonder why? We have no desire to make assumptions on anybody’s mastery related to operating the drone. Yet, if these are not competencies built up for professional reasons, you may have more justification to own recreational drone insurance. As an example, only one unintentional run-in with your neighbor’s vehicle can result in expensive repairs for the vehicle, the aircraft, or in the worst case – both. 

The question now is, if you already get homeowner’s insurance, is it enough? 

On the one hand, homeowner’s insurance works to provide several protections. An instance is when someone burglarizes your place and steals your aircraft. Still, on the other hand, considering you will oftentimes fly your drone away from your living space and in places not belonging to your homeowner’s insurance policy’s coverage area, there is a good chance that drone liability insurance is necessary.

How about commercial drone insurance?

Undeniably, UAVs have become increasingly common and now and then, they are an essential part of commercials, TV shows, and movies. Their higher popularity arises the question related to the need for insurance for drones in this professional domain.

Indeed, similar to commercial liability insurance for a company or commercial automobile insurance, you are better off having commercial UAV insurance for whatever usage meant on your production firm’s behalf or for your production,

Is not getting drone insurance illegal?

Above are key things you should know about commercial and personal drone insurance. Now, how about we talk about another significant concern: In the eyes of the law, is drone insurance a must-have? 

No. You do not have to buy drone insurance coverage, legally. Still, that does not imply it is not necessary. 

Think about the costs associated with any assignment. If something happens on a shoot, say damage to the UAV, the set, or somebody suffering an injury on set, it would be your liability for few hundred grand in hospital bills, fixes, and whatnot. 

Remember, UAV insurance price is only a small amount in the huge totality of what you may be paying in the event of such incidents. That is why instead of testing your luck, consider having drone coverage, particularly for commercial use.

When is drone insurance not necessary?

Again, for professional pilots who use UAVs for commercial reasons, drone coverage is legit necessary. Not to mention the fact that in a few locations, you cannot shoot without insurance.

Yet, should your flying robot is inexpensive and you intend to use it religiously on your own property, there may be no need for the drone coverage

The types of UAV insurance coverage

Perhaps you do not need many persuasive reasons for having insurance for your crewless aircraft vehicle. We got you.

If so, why don’t we delve into another crucial consideration in this drone insurance guide: Different types of UAV coverage. 

To begin with,

1. Liability insurance

There is a good chance that this is the coverage kind you will need in most instances. Essentially, it will save you from a lot of the cases mentioned above (the third party’s injury, property damage along the way, among others).

Again, bear in mind that aside from the smaller insurance cost paid by you for the coverage than the ones used to cover for uninsured injury or something, you cannot deny that you likely do not stand a chance to shoot in some places without it. As UAV usage is more and more preferable for shoots, lots of filming areas ask for UAV liability insurance for those wanting to use their space.

Further, there is zero chance that you can rent it out without liability insurance in case you do not have a crewless aircraft vehicle and are getting a drone rental for a production.

2. Warranty coverage

When you rent higher-cost equipment, more often than not, rental firms provide UAV warranty coverage. Accordingly, now you may be wondering whether the warranty coverage is necessary to you? As the case may be!

In case you already own the hull insurance (which we are addressing right in the next section), the high possibility is that in just about any instance, you can take advantage of the warranty coverage already included in the hull policy. Hence, for the most part, the warranty insurance is unnecessary. 

With that being said, it is always advisable to check the policy. Also, do not be shy to ask questions. Should you get a premium model from DJI – for example, and be persuaded to have DJI UAV insurance coverage for warranty purposes, do not hesitate to ask for the difference(s) between it and the drone hull insurance you already get.

3. Hull insurance

This type’s distinction from liability insurance is, it protects your actual aircraft instead of the people around and location it is being flown. 

These days, several cheap-and-cheerful drones have a price of no more than 100 dollars. And most of those buys are for recreational purposes. If so, maybe you can do without drone insurance. Whether your flying machine gets damaged likely do not matter to you.

Meanwhile, premium, commercial-grade UAVs can be super-duper pricey. In other words, similar to your sound gear and camera buys. it is an investment. You never want to leave them endangered. That is why you may need hull insurance for your aircraft. 

Drone insurance: Its cost

Now, let’s account for the numbers. 

One thing to note is, where the information below can be sure to help anyone of you who are pondering about the non-commercial drone insurance cost, we are addressing the elements that, by and large, affect the commercial coverage cost.

1. The kind of drone

Yea, begin with the most apparent factor. It is reasonable that the more costly your UAV is, the higher the cost of the coverage will be.

But be that as it may, you are not always advisable to get higher-end drone insurance for a premium product unit. The reason is the possible extra high expense. 

Based on the broker you rely on, you can discover less expensive drone coverage options even if your UAV costs a fortune. 

2. The kind of drone coverage

This specific drone insurance guide has addressed the three main types of drone coverages. Consider them and do you plan to have one of them or perhaps all three?

As far as we know, dull insurance and liability insurance are more preferable since these cover various circumstances possibly arising with the UAV usage. 

Yet, then again, consult your broker about whether drone warranty insurance is necessary, too. Subject to the frequency and manner you are using your aircraft and the hull insurance’s drawbacks, you may not go wrong with warranty coverage. 

3. The liability coverage amount

How about your production firm’s scope? Think about it because it is highly likely to affect the cost of your drone coverage.

Are you often in charge of billion-dollar projects? If that is the case, there is a good chance that you will need higher UAV liability coverage limits, possibly influencing the premium fee. 

Still, on the other hand, as mentioned above, the need for drone coverage is practically high, Though you can reduce the risk and save some money, if a day comes when your aircraft hits a  power line by chance, making a multitude of residents live without electricity, you will wish you had got the insurance. 

4. The UAV coverage area’s size

Bear in mind, the insurance is not a catchall for any state or something. The coverage area likely affects the insurance cost.

When you talk with your broker about your drone insurance demands, do not forget to mention the coverage area. By doing so, you can have them calculate a meticulous insurance cost. 

5. The coverage timeframe

Answer this question: Do your production enterprise often uses UAVs for assignments? Else, is your project the one-off type in which a crewless aircraft vehicle will be leveraged for shooting footage? The answer will have to do with the insurance cost,

For your information, yearly drone coverage policies will, on the whole, cost higher compared to commercial UAV insurance for a single project whose timeframe is just a couple of weeks or days. 

Should you fall somewhere between the UAV work amount your productions involve in a specific year, consult your broker regarding whether a yearly policy or short-term coverage will be more suitable for your demands.

6. The drone pilot’s proficiency

Yea, you cannot disregard the influence that somebody’s competencies may have on the cost of your drone insurance.

At the end of the day, it is justifiable that a pilot whose experience is not as rich will likely make use of a higher premium compared to those with more knowledge and skills in UAV usage.

Whether the pilot is you or somebody you have employed, several elements that might impact the rate include:

  • Hours of operating the UAV in the air
  • Records of these hours
  • Successful completion of a drone operator training program
  • A UAV operator license issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Where to purchase drone insurance

flying drone at dawn

1. On-demand insurance providers

Many drone operators in the United States counts on an on-demand insurance firm to buy liability insurance at an affordable price per hour. All you have to do is download their application, create an account, and put in your drone flight area and mission parameters to check the rate. Follow with purchasing the insurance straight from the application without having to have a talk with a broker.

Some of the reliable on-demand insurance firms are:

In case you are operating a model from DJI, think about the DJI Care Refresh or DJI Care options for hull coverage.

2. Drone insurance brokers

Important information

For sure, there are also drone insurance firms that offer more custom quotes. You have the choice to work with them and proceed with the policy. Should you contact a drone insurance broker, below is some info you should have at your disposal:

  • Info about you, inclusive of your contact and address
  • The kind of drone insurance you need (hull or liability?)
  • Your rig’s single part’s cost
  • Specifics about your drone(s)
  • Your scheduled flight location
  • How many hours you have operated the drone in the air
  • The amount of training you have got
  • Have you had any past history of loss or accidents?
  • FAA remote pilot certificate number (else, other equivalent certification documentation offered in your country)

For info possible asked for by a broker in the consultation stage, refer to this form

Some of the reliable drone insurance brokers are:

What to consider when you select a broker

This is also an integral part of the drone insurance guide. We suggest you answer the following useful questions before you decide to choose a broker:

  • How long they have served as an aviation insurance broker? 
  • Have they boasted the offer of any special training? For example, tertiary education in aviation or insurance.
  • Has that broker been working for an aviation insurance firm? What we are saying is, have they been active on the ‘other side’?
  • Do the broker you are considering provide aviation insurance products for crewed aircraft as well?
  • Do some others in the UAV industry use them?
  • Should the broker be out, do their support staff is available to assist you?
  • Are other kinds of insurance accessible to them? By other insurance types, we mean the ones that many aviation insurance brokers are likely not provided with access to.

Furthermore, remember, as soon as you discover a broker that fits your need, just call them. Avoid being hesitant and calling around for any other competitive quotes. 

The reason is. there are not many drone insurance enterprises that do business in America. Nine times out of ten, an insurance firm will work solely with a broker at a time subject to the order they get.  That is to say, you will not be able to find two competitive bids as the insurance enterprise will be handling just ONE broker, the one before everybody else that contacts them, representing you.

How to prove that you have UAV insurance

When you buy a UAV insurance policy, the insurer will, generally speaking, offer you an insurance certificate as well as the policy document. More often than not, your clients will request to see this certification. Also, some may ask to get listed as an additional one covered by insurance. In this case, rely on your agent for it to be reflected with ease on the COI.

For your information, there is the policy holder’s name, the policy period, liability limit,  and added insureds (if any) in the COI.

Should you leave the country, will your drone insurance policy be still valid?

If you travel outside of your country, the insurance policies’ validity will not stay on. We suggest having on-demand coverage for your drone playtime in case you go abroad and plan to fly your unmanned aircraft. 

Drone insurance guide: List of terminology

On the one hand, no one who works in the UAV operator insurance field expects you to be a superb pro at it.

Still, on the other hand, as much as you can, gaining certain knowledge of UAV insurance is advisable, especially before you have a talk with an expert about the coverage that suits you the best.

And one of the pieces of knowledge we mean is a decent understanding of the terms.

  • Premium: Expressed as the amount of money obligately paid for the insurance policy by the enterprise or individual.
  • Deductible: In the case of a claim, deductible refers to the amount the person is responsible for paying before the insurance firm will pay. In this way, the named insured will be certain to have specific ‘skin in the game.’
  • Non-Owned Aircraft Coverage: This is a protection against legal accountability because of the flight of an unmanned aircraft you do not own.
  • Payload Coverage: With this, you will have your drone’s payload covered. For instance, assuming you are a UAV cinematography firm that manages to carry various types of cameras, you are entitled to insure those ones,
  • Non-owned Payload Coverage: Unlike Payload Coverage, this covers the payload of the UAV not owned by you. For instance, you are a cinematography firm operating a drone capable of carrying various cameras. The production enterprise asks you to leverage a special kind of lens and camera not in your ownership. You rent the gear from a camera rental business and have non-owned payload coverage on that lens and camera rented.
  • Additional Insured: This is a person aside from the original one covered by the insurance. They will be protected under a policy’s terms.
  • Subrogation: Referred to as a doctrine that provides an insurance firm with the right to try and recoup a few or the totality of the money they paid by the authority of insureds. To do so, they prove that another party held legal responsibilities for the loss and the party is financially capable to reimburse the insurance firm.

All in all

We hope this drone insurance guide has boosted your understanding of a significant aspect of the drone world. 

Particularly, for those operating the drone for any type of non-recreational purpose, being insured is advisable to protect your company and yourself alike. 

Questions? Do not hesitate to drop a comment in the comment section below. Happy to hear from you and help as much as we can.

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