Drone Insurance: For Businesses and At-Home Hobbyists

By: Lisa DoVale-Fonseca, CISR, CRIS, PWCAM

I’m passionate about providing the best possible experience I can for my clients. Lisa has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years.

According to the FAA, Americans now fly two million drones—with a full one-quarter of them flying for commercial (moneymaking) purposes. It’s estimated that nearly 7 million drones will be flying U.S. skies by 2020. If you’re planning to get on board, here’s what you need to know about drone insurance.

Who needs drone insurance?

In 2018 drones are regularly employed by photographers, real estate agents, landscapers, and others who use sweeping, aerial visuals to market their goods and services. Some roofers, contractors, and home inspectors use drones to get a closer look at problem spots they need to address. Meanwhile, hobbyists also buy drones just to fly in the yard or at the park.

Our advice: anyone who owns a drone—whether for personal or professional use—should purchase special coverage that is dedicated to protecting the unit and its related activities.

Doesn’t my current business insurance cover my drone?

Probably not. Most business policies exclude drone coverage. A drone is considered an “unmanned aircraft.” If you look closely at the fine print of your business policy, you’ll probably see that your coverage doesn’t apply. That means you won’t be reimbursed for a damaged drone or any of its accessories, and you won’t be covered for any liability charges related to drone use.

What about my homeowner’s policy?

If your drone is strictly for personal use, certain loss events may be covered under the terms of your home insurance. Ditto for renter’s insurance. For example, if the drone is stolen or damaged in a fire, your insurer may cover the lost property the same as they would cover a damaged laptop or a television.

On the other hand, if your drone is destroyed because you crash it into a tree, homeowner’s insurance probably won’t recognize the crash as a “covered peril.”

Liability issues can also be tricky when it comes to drones and home insurance. While most homeowner’s policies do provide some amount if liability protection, it’s not 100% certain you would be covered for causing damage to a neighbor’s property or injuring someone with your drone. As with commercial insurance, some insurers are classifying drones as aircraft and excluding them from liability coverage.

Your best bet is to check with your agent to be sure you understand all current provisions and policy limits—including your deductibles, how much liability coverage, and whether or not that liability coverage extends to drone activity.

Does drone insurance cover property or liability issues?

That depends. Drone coverage varies from company to company, and new endorsements are always being added.  Ask your MA business insurance agent to discuss options with you. From a property standpoint, drone insurance may be purchased to cover not just the drone itself, but also its controlling communication software and hardware, any ground equipment, and any cargo the drone carries. From a liability standpoint, drone insurance can help you hedge against bodily injuries, damage to others’ property, or personal injuries—including claims of privacy violation.

Can anyone purchase drone insurance?

Most insurance carriers have a list of requirements that need to be met. For commercial drones, users typically need to be licensed and drones cannot exceed a set weight limit. Other qualifying criteria may include adherence to speed limits and keeping the drone in view at all times of use.

What does drone insurance cost?

Many factors will affect your drone insurance rate. These include:

  • Type of drone
  • Drone usage (Where and how will you use it?)
  • Drone payload (Will it carry a camera or various packages?)
  • Desired coverage limits
  • Operator experience

Where can I find a drone insurance agent near me?

Right here! Our team works with homeowners and business owners all across Massachusetts and Rhode Island to secure optimal coverage at the very best rate. Call us for help getting your drone insured: 508.339.2951.

Ask the right questions before choosing a MA commercial insurance agent.
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