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Drones, Liability, and Insurance

Drones have become incredibly popular in the past few years. With high-end options such as camera and video recording equipment, safety and privacy concerns have also heightened. If you are a drone owner and operator, it is crucial to understand what insurance coverage is needed.

Depending on drone type and usage, you may already have coverage for drone damage insurance and liability through your home insurance policy. This is a review of all the basics you need to know to determine what insurance you may already have and don’t know about.

The Risks

Although we might think of drones as super cool, fun toys, the reality is that drones, sometimes referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), are far more sophisticated than your average “toy”. The FAA classifies most of them as “aircraft”.

It may be surprising to know that there are many instances of drone related accidents documented in the US already. Many of them involve accidents when the drone runs out of power, or incidents where the operator lost control of the drone. These are not all situations caused by reckless operation. Anyone can experience a dangerous situation that could injure people, the property of other people, or cause property damage that could result in high costs, medical expenses, personal injury, and they also bring up invasion of privacy concerns.

Drones should be insured with personal liability coverage, medical coverage, fire, theft and vandalism. Speak to an agent to see if Aircraft, Watercraft, and Recreational Vehicles coverage would benefit you.

Recreational or Hobby Drones

For drone owners, it’s important to know if your drone would be covered on a residential insurance policy like a homeowner, renter or condo policy.

Fortunately, most policy wordings would cover a drone in the same way that they would cover personal property or contents. Depending on your specific policy, you may not have to pay any additional amount to make sure your drone is covered. The use of your drone becomes an important aspect to understand if you are covered under a homeowner policy for your drone or not.

If you are at all unsure, contact your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance provider and ask whether drones are covered or excluded under your current coverage. If they are not covered, your provider will also tell you if you can purchase a policy extension or if you will need to seek additional coverage elsewhere.

Insuring for Liability

If you are only using your drone for personal use and not business use, there is no current obligation to insure your drone. However, based on the number of accidents that seem to happen with drones, it is recommended that you protect yourself with liability insurance and protect your investment.

Before you start worrying about your liability insurance, contact your home insurance representative and ask them how the personal liability coverage of your policy covers drones.

You may not be able to insure the personal liability arising out of the use and ownership of a drone due to the fact that it is considered an aircraft, however now agents commonly view personal use drones as a hobby aircraft.

It’s likely you may have coverage on your residential insurance policy, but this is still an emerging and evolving topic for the insurance industry so be sure to discuss this with your agent so they can view the drone in relation to the insurance definitions in your policy and see if you need an Aircraft and Recreational Vehicles policy.

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