Drone Insurance: What are the most important factors you must consider before buying.
The popularity of personal drones is skyrocketing. Drone companies and emerging like mushrooms and everyone seems in extreme urgency to get hold of a drone and start flying it. However, there are risks associated with the operation of these flying robots. If you are a commercial drone operator, the first question your potential clients would probably ask you would be about the insurance of your drones. For enthusiasts, what if your drone “thinks” its home takeoff point is in China, and it starts heading towards that location! It can then land over somebody’s head. So, needless to say, sensible drone pilots should get their drones insured even the law permits them to fly without drone insurance. Now, the next question is what are the most important factors to consider, before we buy a policy. I thought to compile these things because most of us do not read the 100-page or so long policy of every insurer and it would be good to have few important points in mind when looking for a drone insurer.
I am highlighting these things as a reminder for someone to ask the insurer about their policy and what is covered and what is not, at the time of purchase to avoid any surprises later. There are differences in situations arising from a particular application of drone, but we are not talking about those today. It is a new type of insurance, and nobody can assess the associated risks with precision. Insurance companies are also trying to introduce their products in urgency to get the market share.
Basic Drone Insurance: The 3rd party Liability
The absolute essential is to get the third-party liability insurance. This insurance covers the property damage or injury to someone else and not you. When you apply for this kind of insurance, the company asks you the amount for which you want to get their product. If you are just an enthusiast, you can opt for the minimum (which would be in most cases from half a million to 1 million). However, if you are a business owner, then your client may require you to buy a certain amount as a minimum depending on the type of work they want you to do. It is the first consideration and the minimum requirement just like our car.
Insurance for your Drone: Hull Insurance
Hull insurance covers your drone. Some companies may include this in their basic liability package, but some may not, so, check this.
Drone Insurance Add-ons:
- Payload Insurance. You may have expensive cameras onboard the aircraft, and you may want to consider this.
- Insurance for the ground equipment such as tablets, laptops, controllers, etc.
- Insurance for drones you are renting from other companies. It is important, and you may easily miss this!
- Insurance for your equipment (including drones) while traveling.
- Theft is usually covered
Some questions to ask the insurer:
- Some companies only offer insurance for business users and not for enthusiasts.
- You can buy insurance just before the start of the project and only for the length of the project. However, if you are planning to do this, make sure you read their policy. Some companies do not accept claims once you have terminated the insurance even the incident occurs in the period for which you have paid them until you inform them before termination. So if you think someone may sue you, you notify the company in writing before you finish your policy.
- Some insurance companies have a cap on the number incidents per year.
- Check the requirement for purchasing the insurance, such as licensing requirements.
- Check the UAV weight requirements for your policy
- There may be some restrictions from your insurer to fly in certain areas. Some insurances are only valid within the country. So if you plan to go overseas, you may consider this.
On-Demand Drone Insurance:
I know one company named Verifly is offering on-demand drone insurance. You simply download an app, and request a quote. The application draws a circle around your location and calculates the possible risks and gives you an instant quote. You put your credit card details and can instantly buy the insurance for a certain time. This app based drone insurance is backed by an aviation insurance company called Global Aerospace which specializes in aviation insurance. One advantage with this type of insurance is that you do not have to buy an annual insurance policy.
Drone Insurance Companies:
The companies which offer aviation insurance for manned aircraft usually also offer insurance for drones. Every company’s policy could be different. Some of these companies (CGU, NRMA) offer drone cover only for a recreational purpose such as home or toy drone insurance. Some also offer cover for professional use. Also, it is important to note that few of these companies have some limitations on the payload. There are some companies where you buy an annual membership, and you are covered for recreational purpose up to a certain amount. When you search for drone insurance companies, in your country, make sure you also put other words used for drones such as UAV and Remotely Operated Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Some of the drone insurance companies are listed below:
Australian Drone Insurer:
US Drone Insurer:
Drone Insurance Companies for the UK: