Every time something useful, cool, and new is invented, there are new dangers that come along with it. Newton’s Third Law of Physics even states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, guess what? Drones may be the hottest new present for children and tech enthusiasts, and a cutting-edge business tool, but an estimated 80% of them are operating without proper FAA approval or appropriate insurance protection.
Drones at home are less of a problem than drones used for business. Remember, once Bob the neighbor pays little Johnny $10 to take an aerial picture of his house, there has been a business transaction. You may not agree, but there was a transaction in the eyes of the court! Insurers are struggling to deal with the new risk posed by drones, whether it is drones running into each other, drones being flown into people or property, or drones having mechanical failure and crashing into people or property. There’s also that whole spying on people thing, despite plenty of existing laws and legal precedents to deal with that (just think cell phone cameras). You may think of drones as harmless, but rest assured, there are some very important things for homeowners and business owners to know about this potential insurance issue.
- Does your homeowner policy cover you against property damage or bodily injury to a third party? Probably: It’s important to consult your Independent Insurance Agent about what kind of policy you have. Many, but not all, homeowner policies provide coverage for recreational use of model aircraft for RECREATIONAL use. The drones weighing between 0.5 and 55 pounds that find their way underneath Christmas Trees generally fit this category.
- Do not ever accept a contract or money for use of your drone! It then just became a business transaction and if something were to happen, your claim could (and contractually, should) be denied. Don’t underestimate the ability of that drone to lose a propeller and come down on Mrs. Smith’s unsuspecting head while she’s playing Frisbee with Fido in the backyard!
- Insurance companies using certain versions of the standard homeowner policy written by Insurance Services Office (ISO) definitely provide coverage for recreational use.
Many Florida insurers do not use these policies – that doesn’t mean you’re not covered, though!
- Join the Academy of Model Aeronautics!
- You’ll be in contact with thousands of other model/drone enthusiasts.
- You’ll automatically get special model aircraft/drone insurance coverage of up to $2.5 million included in your membership.
- It’s $75.00 per year, unless you are a Senior Citizen. Then, it is only $65.00.
- Consult your Independent Insurance Agent if you or ANY vendor will ever use a drone on your behalf or at your request.
- Learn what FAA Section 330 is.
- Have drone coverage endorsed onto your existing policy if possible.
- Buy a drone insurance policy
Do not think that you and your drone are covered by your insurance if Bob’s Drones has the proper insurance and they’re going to take photos at your company event. If someone brings a lawsuit against you (it’s your event) and Bob’s Drones, you need to have had Bob have his carrier make you an Additional Insured on his policy. Your policy will most likely not protect you unless you have specifically addressed drone usage by a subcontractor in your policy.
Yes, the legal system is at its best making things complicated again! It’s really not the insurers. They just have to design contracts that protect you against risk, but that don’t expose them to abuse by the system. The moral of the story: Whether at home or at work, if you are even so much as thinking about getting or using a drone, call your Independent Insurance Agent about a drone insurance policy!