Drone insurance is definitely a bit of a niche product. It’s exactly what it sounds like — insurance for a drone. You’ve probably noticed more of them around these days, as they are growing in popularity. If you’re somehow still in the dark, a drone is a small unmanned aircraft controlled by person on the ground with a handheld control. They often include a camera, making for some really stunning video captures. Obviously, only those who actually own a drone would need drone insurance. If you are getting into the drone hobby, though, it’s something you should definitely consider. Crashes are almost inevitable. As we’ll discuss more in a minute, you can sink a lot of money into this hobby. So whether you want to insure your own property, or protect yourself in case your drone damages someone else’s stuff, drone insurance can be a smart play.
The Need for Coverage
You may already have coverage for drone damage and liability through your home insurance policy. If you’re not sure, it’s worth double checking your policy. If you don’t have suitable coverage, you might want to purchase a separate drone insurance policy. It will help cover the cost to repair or replace your drone should it become damaged. It will also help cover your liability in the event that your drone accidently damages someone else’s property. There have already been cases of drones accidently crashing into cars or houses, for example.
The price range of drones is quite large. You can start with a lower-quality drone as cheaply as a $100 or so. Professional photographers, on the other hand, may invest as much as $5,000 for high-quality drones. Add in replacement parts, memory card, and video editing hardware and software, and drones can quickly become an expensive hobby. Protect that investment with proper insurance coverage.
Drone Insurance Details
Most insurance policies cover drones in the same way that they cover personal property or the contents of a house. Your living room TV, for example, is insured against damage and theft with your home insurance policy. If your drone is only being used for personal use only, then there likely isn’t a legal requirement to insure it. However, if you use your drone for commercial purposes, you may indeed be required to insure it. However, it depending on where it’s being flown. Different states have different rules.
Keep in mind that although most people view drones merely as toys, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classifies them as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). They takes them very seriously. In fact, the FAA views most drones as regular aircrafts. That means, depending where they’re being flown, they may require you to register your drone use with the federal agency.
Drone accidents are quite common. Inexperienced operators often lose control of the machines. Sometimes they unexpectedly run out of battery power or fly out of controller range. Accidents can also happen that injure people or damage property, potentially resulting in personal injury and medical expenses. Those drone propellers are be sharp!
Before you buy separate drone insurance, check with your home or renters’ insurance. Your policy may cover the contents of your house, including your drone. However, it’s worth investigating whether your drone is covered when you take it outside to use. If you spend a lot of time (and money) on your drones, you may want to seek additional coverage for damage, theft, personal injury, property damage, invasion of privacy claims, and/or medical expenses.
Types of Drone Insurance
There are many insurance companies that provide drone insurance coverage. These include BWI Fly insurance, SkyWatch.AI, and DroneInsurance.com. The coverage typically ranges from $500,000 up to $25 million. With that range, you can expect to pay annual premiums between $500 to $2,500. That works out to monthly payments of $40 to $200. The more expensive the drone, the more need there is for a top end comprehensive insurance plan. Small drones used only for recreation purposes can be insured by cheaper policies that provide less coverage. In general, hobbyists probably shouldn’t pay more than $500 a year to insure their drone.
It’s also good to know is that drone insurance coverage can be acquired by becoming a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Getting an AMA membership includes some liability coverage and basic damage insurance coverage for drones. It also provides the ability to fly your drone at thousands of AMA club sites. New members can join for an annual payment of just $75. Membership provides drone users with $2.5 million of comprehensive general liability insurance coverage, $25,000 of accident and medical coverage, $10,000 worth of coverage in the event of a death, and $1,000 coverage against fire, theft and vandalism. It might be be the most thorough drone coverage, but it’s better than nothing. Especially for that low price!
All drone owners should be sure to read the fine print of any insurance policy they take out. Make sure you fully understand the coverages. Be sure to contact the insurance company directly with any questions or concerns you have about a policy before you commit to it.
The Bottom Line
Drone insurance is not a product that everyone needs. It’s much less common than home or automotive insurance, for obvious reasons. It’s a specialty product that you only really need if you own and operate a drone or other type of UAV. However, drone insurance can be beneficial given the potential for accidents and damage caused by these devices.
Fortunately, there are several reputable insurance companies that provide coverage for drones. Like any other kind of insurance, be sure to shop around. Compare the coverages and costs of various policies. Then weigh that against the value of your own drone, and how expensive it would be to replace or repair it. Paying $500 a year to insure your $1,000 hobby drone might not make sense. On the other end, paying $2,000 a year to insure a high-quality drone that you shoot commercial video footage with probably does. Take your time and do your homework before choosing a drone insurance provider and policy.