Drones have a wide variety of uses from photography to exploration. Whether you want one for fun on the weekends or require one for professional use, the cost to own one of these devices is steep. Like most electronics, you might want to insure your purchase to protect your investment.
Believe it or not, drone insurance does exist. There are plenty of options for covering your drone if something happens to it. This article is here to help you decide which option is the best for your situation and whether you need insurance at all.
Do I Need Insurance?
A drone can cost anywhere from $40 to $18,000 depending on the model and its capabilities. For many owners, those costs increase when adding a digital camera. With averages prices ranging between $130-500, it might make sense to pick up an insurance policy.
Outside of possible business uses, there’s no requirement to insure your drone-like there is a for a motor vehicle. While the government still classifies recreational drones as aircraft, their size and use don’t pose a high risk for personal or property damage.
While you might not have to worry about the same issues that surround a car accident, drone flyers run into accidents all the time. Picking up liability in the event your drone does hurt someone or damage someone’s property is highly recommended, as is insuring the drone itself in the event of a crash.
So, do you need drone insurance? The simple answer is no; you don’t need to insure your drone. However, it is an excellent idea to protect your investment.
If you plan to use your drone for commercial work, however, insurance is an absolute must. The company you work for may require protection in your contract, or you might want to protect yourself from a lawsuit against your own business.
In other cases, your localities laws might require insurance. There are no federal laws currently requiring you to insure a drone for recreational or commercial use, but your state or even city might say otherwise. When in doubt, call your local governing body to make sure.
When Insurance Helps
While the majority of flying accidents only involve damage to drone itself, there are numerous instances where further damage occurs. You might find yourself liable if:
You could be flying your drone for fun when all of a sudden the connection is lost, causing it to spiral out of control and hit your neighbor's car. Perhaps the same scenario happens, but the drone crashes into a person instead. A 100-kilogram drone plummeting at speeds upwards of 90mph can cause serious damage.
Other situations may include more extensive damages, such as a drone crashing into power lines or a transformer. Could you imagine paying for the repairs and damages to citizens caused by the resulting blackout out of pocket? The cost would be astronomical for most, which is why insurance can help.
When You Don’t Need Insurance
If your drone is inexpensive, like the $40 Air Hogs model, then paying for insurance might seem a little ridiculous. This is especially true if you are only flying recreationally in designated areas where organizations ensure safe flying. In these instances, it might be easier to ask the manufacturer about repairs in the event of a crash.
Some companies also offer damage coverage plans that take care of any incidents. You can pick one of these plans up for around $100 to have your drone repaired or replaced when needed. If you’re flying anywhere where bystanders could potentially be injured, then you still might want to consider liability insurance.
How Do I Insure My Drone?
There are several ways to insure your drone, but each has stipulations to consider. This type of coverage is usually called UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) Insurance, but might also be called drone or quadcopter insurance. Here are a few ways to pick up this type of coverage.
While numerous companies still refuse to cover drones, since they’re legally considered an aircraft, several view these objects as a homeowner’s hobby instead. As long as your drone is strictly for personal use, there’s a good chance that your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover any damages and liability resulting from a crash.
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This type of coverage is a relatively new and highly debated topic in the insurance world. After purchasing your device, call your provider and ask about drone insurance. You may find that the definitions in your policy cover drones or you might find that your insurance company is strongly opposed to the idea. Either way, it helps to know before looking at other options.
If they do cover your UAS, then make sure to ask them how much you are insured for. This includes the cost of liability, the value of the drone, the deductible, and what limitations or exclusions might apply. Racing, for instance, is one use that most companies will not provide coverage for.
Academy Of Model Aeronautics
By registering with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), you can insure your drone through the organization. Memberships cost $75 a year, and you must use your drone for recreational use only. As a member, you also have the benefit of flying your UAS at any AMA-chartered clubs.
Your insurance policy can cover personal liability all the way up to 2.5 million dollars, 25-thousand dollars in medical coverage, and one thousand for theft or vandalism. While those coverage amounts are fantastic, there is one catch to the insurance policy. The AMA will only provide coverage once all other insurance routes are exhausted.
So, if your homeowners covered part of the cost after a crash, your AMA insurance could cover the rest. If another form of insurance covered all damages and liability, then the AMA wouldn’t put any additional funds towards the incident. That’s something to keep in mind before paying the cost of membership. Regardless, this form of drone insurance is one of the cheapest.
How Much Does Insurance Cost?
Just like car insurance, there is no set price for coverage across the board. However, we did gather a few estimations to help you develop a ballpark idea of how much you might pay. Like all policies, you’ll end up paying a higher premium for increased coverage.
Here are a few examples of what you might pay. Keep in mind that these are just estimates, not actual prices.
Factors affecting the price of your policy can include high-traffic environments, the equipment your drone will work with (mapping, photography, etc.), and whether you are flying commercially or recreationally. The cost of your drone also plays a factor.
What To Ask When Purchasing A Policy
Before paying for any type of drone insurance, there are a few questions you should ask first. The usual questions like deductible prices and areas of coverage are essential, but the following are equally as important.
Ask if additional units are covered separately or on the same policy. This is important if you plan on owning several drones, have a child with one as well, or plan on using a fleet for your business. Most companies cover multiples if only one drone is used at a time, but it never hurts to ask how an insurer handles this aspect of coverage.
It also helps to know if liability and hull insurance (the cost of covering the drone) are combined or separate. The combination is an incredible money saver while providing the peace of mind most UAS flyers need.
Don’t forget to ask about qualifying factors, too. Some insurers require proof of training, experience, or certifications before allowing you to purchase a policy. The extent of your liability is another excellent question. Will the insurer cover invasion of privacy and negligence claims as well?
Finally, ask about in-transit coverage. Some insurers only cover a drone while it is in flight, which doesn’t protect your investment if it I damaged elsewhere. If your drone is destroyed in a car accident, by a fire, or some other instance, is it covered?
The Need For Drone Insurance
While drone insurance isn’t a necessity, it is an excellent idea. Covering the cost of expensive electronics with a policy is something you should do for all of your possessions but protecting yourself from a lawsuit in the event of injury or damage is even more vital.