Drone-flying has been rising at amazingly fast proportions the past year. There are more pilots now than ever before. The use of quadcopters has dictated the need for protection against financial and personal risks. But today, a new solution has picked-up among drone users: buying drone insurance. Although drone insurance is not mandated by law, drone owners have realised the significance of getting it. Insuring your drone could save you financially if an accident happens. And in reality, UAV technology isn’t perfect just yet.
Acquiring drone insurance may also help you if you’re in the business of flying UAV’s commercially. And you’ve got peace of mind knowing that you’re covered, at the least. At the end of the day, all serious UAV pilots have insurance. Having drone insurance shows that you’re professional and reputable, ang might even score you more clients.
This guide is for every drone owner, whether you fly just as a hobby or commercially, and help you understand the basics of drone insurance.
1. What Is Drone Insurance?
Drone insurance gives those who operate drones – also referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – with the legal or financial protection against accidental damage caused by their drone/s. Drone insurance basically covers third-party liability claims for drone owners and even to the drone itself.
While most drone insurance companies assemble their insurance coverage for commercial use, it doesn’t necessarily mean that hobbyists can’t be covered as well. Drone insurance works like any other insurance policy. If you lose your drone or cause injury accidentally, your insurance company will cover the damages and liability costs – but only to a certain extent.
2. Do You Really Need It?
Definitely. Though we sometimes take drones as fun toys, the reality is that drones are far more complex than your average toy. Your standard insurance will not cover your drone usage even if flown in the comfort of your own backyard.
You may be shocked to learn that numerous drone-related accidents are caused when the machine runs out of power or instances where the pilot loses control. Not all situations are caused by negligence. Any user can experience these hazardous situations that could ultimately injure other people or their properties which could result in financial damages, medical expenses or even personal injury.
Drones, most especially the expensive ones, contain a multitude of fragile parts. Even when dropped from waist-high can damage the camera or lens. The propellers can easily break, and the body can get dented during flight. A small fall can result to a large bill for repairs. Essentially, the more money you used on your drone, the higher it’s going to cost to fix up the broken parts.
Drone insurance can save you from all the costs of repairs or replacements. Otherwise, you will just keep doling-out just to get your drone flying again. You might even have to stop flying since the cost is too high.
3. What to Ask Your Insurance Provider About Your Drone
Involve yourself and make sure that you get the right coverage without overpaying. Here are some important questions to ask your insurance provider.
3.1. How much are the deductibles? Most packages have a 5-10% rate of deductibles, so make sure you are aware of how much you might pay straight you’re your pocket. In some rare cases, you can be lucky enough to find a zero-deductible package.
3.2. Does your provider cover insurance outside the country? Though most UAV insurance companies are able to offer worldwide coverage (with a few territory exemptions), if the drone sustains damage in another country, you may not be qualified for remuneration.
3.3. Do you cover additional units separately? For operators with a whole fleet of drones, it is crucial to inquire whether you can get one coverage for all of them or if you need individual coverage for each. Naturally, all-in-one coverage is the best option. Just remember that premiums can get higher if you have more than one operational drone.
3.4. Do I need training to qualify for insurance? Most UAV insurance providers are strict with this. They need to see proof of training or experience before insuring you. This is normal since they wouldn’t want to waste their money on bumbling pilots who crash every time they turn on their drones.
3.5. Is drone racing insured? Since drone racing is getting popular, you might want to call your insurance before doing anything too rash. It might just be unlikely that racing would be covered. Insurance policies normally exclude competition or racing. But if you are a member of an organization or other UAV communities that encourages safe practice, let your provider know. It will be in your favour to prove to a drone insurance provider that you are an advocate in drone flying safety.
4. What Types of Coverage Are There?
4.1. Liability Insurance
In drone insurance, the basic policy is liability. This coverage must be purchased first before acquiring another type of coverage. Basically, the foundation of UAS insurance policies. This is the most general, albeit the most important, type of insurance. This coverage will protect the drone operator from property damages or injury claims.
Drone insurance is not mandatory, although it’s still important. Liability insurance appoints the responsibility of paying for legal claims over to your insurance provider. However, it is important to note that it doesn’t imply that drone operators cannot be held responsible for negligence, especially if you break the law while flying. Various insurance providers offer varying coverage for liability depending on what drone you fly, is it used recreationally or commercially, or your flying skill level.
4.2. Hull Insurance
While Liability Insurance covers damages or injuries to others, Hull Insurance covers your drone. This coverage protects you or your assets from accidental harm to your drone. Hull coverage’s aims to protect the business financially from any physical damage that may occur to the UAS.
Typically, this coverage gets its digits upon an agreed value. The drone operator and the insurance provider will settle on a value and estimate the UAV based on that valuation. Factors like depreciation and inflation are all considered when defining the drone’s insurable value, so be precise with this part.
4.3. Payload Insurance
Most of the time, the equipment attached to the drone is more prone to damage than the drone itself. Even a drop from a table can damage your camera or its sensors. If the drone operator has multiple cameras or sensors that are to be attached to the UAV, payload coverage is will be applied to this, being specifically designed for the on-board equipment. Operators must remember to quote each equipment separately and individually to make sure that the valuation of the payload is exact.
4.4. Ground Equipment Insurance
For most drone operators, the drone in the sky is not the only gear they have. They also have a station on the ground with laptops, remote controllers, or additional equipment. Any asset on the ground connected to the drone is eligible for ground equipment insurance. This type of insurance is advantageous for commercial drone operators who use both ground and drone-attached equipment.
5. HOW MUCH DOES DRONE INSURANCE COST?
Naturally, one of the most important things drone operators ask is about how much drone insurance costs. And depending on the model of your drone and how it’s used, there is no absolutely no fixed figure or even a range since quotations differ depending on numerous factors under numerous companies. The only way to establish a cost is to inquire. Ask for a quotation from two to four drone insurance providers and compare the figures of coverage which best suits you. It is important to understand that you don’t need to spend too much on your insurance. You’ve already spent enough procuring your drone, you won’t need to spend more on excess nuisances just because you were misinformed.
6. HOW TO GET DRONE INSURANCE
To get a quote from the insurance provider without leaving the comfort of your home, go to an insurance company’s website and find the “contact us” or the “get a quote” portion. Do the necessary steps they require for you to get under their wing, so to speak. It will be helpful to know these following items first before proceeding with this step: Your personal information; the type of coverage you wish to avail or inquire about; the cost of your drone as well as other equipment you need covered; other important or specific information about your UAV; location where you plan to operate; your experience in flying or hours of flight; details of your training if you have any; and also if you have history of previous accidents or loss.
After obtaining a set of quotations, compare the prices and coverages to help you decide which company offers the best deal. Once you’ve decided, contact them and they’ll guide you through the rest of the procedure.
Hopefully this article has given you everything you need to appreciate drone insurance and begin the process. And by the way, remember that you can also LOSE your insurance. Things like not logging your flights, inability to prove it was really an accident, falsifying data about your drone/s, not recording (and reporting) maintenance changes, and NOT PRACTISING SAFE FLIGHT can all be grounds for dismissal of your insurance.