Why UAV Insurance?
Almost everything is insured. Our life, our houses, our vehicles and many more things which we value. The increase in drones, especially among the civilians has given the need to add drones in the list of insured items. If you are conducting business and earning money using drones, it is a wise idea to get your drone(s) insured. Even if you are not earning money and plan to earn in the future, even then it is a good idea to get insured. This will help you prevent paying out of pocket in the event an accident occurs.
Getting drones insured would also be good for your business. Your clients would feel secure and would want to do business with you. This would retain your clients as well as help in bringing new clients.
We all know that the applications of drone use have increased vastly from it's original military use. Now, people are using drones for commercial use as well as individual purposes. In the near future, you will frequently see drones flying above you. With the increase in the number of drones, accidents are bound to happen. They could crash in a building, in another drone or worse, in a plane. Even now, pilots have reported about 25 near misses with drones. If this is the rate now, imagine what future rates will be?
Moreover, with the stealth nature of drones, many people might get offended when your drone hovers above their house or their office. They could then slap a lawsuit of invasion of privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union has even asked for rules concerning drone use to prevent the society into becoming a ‘surveillance society'. If this is the level of concern now, imagine what it will be in the future.
Types of UAV Insurance:
As of now, if you are not a commercial drone user, homeowner insurance would suffice. The catch is, however, that the drone must be flown over your own property and/or away from the public.
If you are a commercial user of drones, no matter how big your operations are, you will need to get your UAVs insured.
The amount of insurance depends on the use and the country in which it is being insured.
Getting drone insurance is not that easy. You have to prove that you are serious about drone use. You have to prove that you have some sort of expertise in drone flying. This could include copies of operating manuals, records of sale and purchase of drones and drone parts and also proof of training.
The majority of the insurance companies insure drones for the following operations only:
· Emergency response
· Environment evaluation and monitoring
· Knowledge and information gathering
· Law enforcement
· Movies and documentaries
· Shipping and maritime
· Sites protection and surveillance
· Traffic patrol and assistance
· Transportation maintenance
Type of accidents covered:
Following are the accidents covered currently with various UAV insurance plans:
· Loss of drone
· Partial or complete damage of drone
· Personal injury
Cost of Insurance:
Drone insurance is basically split in two parts: liability and hull damage. In the liability type, these are the damages claimed by the third parties whereas hull damage is the damage related to your own drone. Generally, insurance policy for a liability goes up to $ 1 million while for hull damage it can go to $1500 per year. These are general quotes and specific ones may vary from company to company and drone to drone. Some companies provide insurance for liability only while other for hull damage and some for both.
Requirements of Insurance Brokers:
Insurance brokers also have some requirements. Generally, they would need the number of flying hours of the drone. The flying hours should normally be between 50 and 100. The drone owners are also required, in some cases, to hold the FAA 333 exemption. FAA 333 Exemption is a certificate issued by the Secretary of Transportation to operate in the National Airspace System. The insurance brokers also want to know whether the drone is owned or leased. They are curious as to whether the drone is able to automatically store the flight data etc. Lastly, they want to know the areas the drone has been flying and will fly in the future. They also check the website and last but not the least, want to know if any sort of training or certifications have been taken vis-à-vis drones.
When getting insured, first decide which company you want to go with. For that, you have to get quotes from several companies. And to get a quote from a company, you need to go to their website and fill out the quote form. The form will ask several questions related to the information about the owner, the type of coverage and the cost of equipment, operational locations and number of hours flown, training levels and number of previous accidents etc. After the form is filled, the particular company replies back with the quote. Once you have several quotes from several companies, you are better able to judge and you can apply to the company of your choice.
Following is the list of some insurance companies who deal with drones. The list does not include all of the companies and might not include the best ones, but they are sufficient:
· Aerial Park
· Avion Insurance
· Avalon Risk Management
· Driessen Assuadeuren
· Harpenau Insurance Agency
· Sky Smith
· Sutton James Incorporated
· Unmanned Risk Management
So, this was a modest effort to inform you about how to go about getting your drone insured. In recap, those who want to just fly over their homes or clear of public and for recreational purposes do not need to get any type of drone insurance, as homeowner insurance will be sufficient. Those using UAVs for commercial purposes really need to get their drones insured and should consider getting their drones insured right now. Who knows with the passage of times maybe the laws pertaining to drone insurance will get much clearer and conformed across the insurance industry.