Considered Insuring your Drone?
Have you ever considered getting a drone? You know, a drone…one of those quad-copter thingie ma bobbers that has every child (and adventurous husband/father) drooling!! You see boys of all ages in yards, parks, playgrounds, and church parking lots flying these aircraft. They are supremely awesome and a LOT of FUN!!! However, there are a few things you should consider before you purchase one of these totally cool man-toys!
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as “drones”, are becoming increasingly popular. There was an estimated One million being sold in the United States this holiday season alone. That really is quite a surge in popularity! And, the thing that brought this to light is the actual multi-rotor ariel drone, but there are lots more aircraft than just the multi-rotors.
As a kid, my parents bought me a fly by wire cox .049 aircraft I used to fly in my driveway, spinning round and round, until I was half sick. In college, I built an airplane out of Styrofoam and used to fly, or most commonly, crash that aircraft on a regular basis (you can still see the scar on my forearm where I sliced my arm open getting it too close to the spinning propeller). Today, at 49 years old, I have a little radio controlled indoor helicopter sitting right here on my desk that I lovingly refer to as the Covenant Corporate Aircraft. Kids of all ages (yes dad’s even) get a kick out of seeing that little bird zip around the lobby. My buddy just bought a hopped up version of this that has a camera, which allows him to fly it out of sight by using his iPhone. He tells me stories of flying that bird down the halls of his office scaring coworkers. Funny yes…smart no!
The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced a requirement that most drones be registered and numbered for identification. Drones requiring registration are those that weigh more than .55 lbs (there may be other requirements…you can learn more by visiting http://federaldroneregistration.com.
Many people are concerned about liability coverage when they, or other household members, are flying the fun, but arguably potentially dangerous aircraft. Some insurance companies provide no coverage for this exposure. Insurance companies have had to consider many factors as these vehicles have become popular, such as the ability of the operator, and they must consider the intent of the user. Even the build of the drone itself can weigh into the picture. When a drone causes damage, and it is a possibility, the companies are looking at all kinds of factors (perhaps I should tell you the story of flying the helicopter into my wife’s hair and twisting it all up). No claim, but Boy was I In TROUBLE!!
Erie Insurance took a good look at the up and coming UAV’s (drones). Erie policyholders can fly knowing they do have coverage. However, you should keep in mind that coverage applies for hobby use only. Your Erie homeowners policy will not cover liability (bodily injury or property damage) arising out commercial use of a drone (photography business, surveying, etc.).
Before you fly your drone, be sure you speak with us. You want to be sure you are clear on what your policy will cover, and will not cover.
Fly safe, fellow aviators!
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