Do You Need to Insure Your Drone?

As drones become more and more visible in retail and the media, it’s no surprise that more and more people are starting to become interested. As the holidays approach, there will be plenty of households, in which at least one family member has their eye on a drone for a gift.

That’s great – drones make excellent gifts, especially for kids, who can use a drone to really spur on their education in physics, electronics, tech design and so on. These benefits are usually weighed up against another concern, however – that is, safety.

Drones can cause damage, that should be obvious. The types of damage, and the extent, can vary greatly depending on the type of drone and how it’s used. If you are filming yourself high up on a deserted mountainside, using a lightweight drone, the chances are you won’t be able to damage much beyond the drone itself. If, on the other hand, you manage to lose control of a very heavy drone, causing it to fall from a great height into an outdoor rare ceramics and glasswork fair – you could end up causing a disaster. There’s also the risk of causing accidents and being sued. That holiday gift could end up costing you a lot more than you imagined.

High profile people who have been injured by drones, include Enrique Iglesias and Trevor Bauer. Even professional drone operators have had problems. Take the case of Brett Woods, co-founder of Aerial Concept Unmanned Systems, who crashed his drone into the 27th floor of a building. It’s a good job he had insurance.

Brett Woods was covered by his business insurance, something that hobbyists are unlikely to be able to use. Instead, a hobbyist might try to use their homeowner or rental policy. Unfortunately, in the US at least, only 40% or so of renter actually have that kind of coverage. As far as the drone itself is concerned, it’s only really going to be covered if it’s a more expensive type, seeing as the average policy excess is around $500.

If you are found to be negligent and you have injured a family member or a pet, this wouldn’t usually be covered by your home insurance. In this case, you would be expected to make a claim against your medical insurance. If you happen to smash the family chandelier, causing it to fall and injure a loved one, you’ll be claiming against both home and medical insurance, deducting the excesses for each. If you smash the drone into your car, you’ll need to claim against your auto policy.

If you are a drone enthusiast, you might be able to get cover under an umbrella policy for hobbyist clubs. Verifly is a new company which is offering on-demand policies for drone users in 45 states in the US. These policies cover you for up to $1 million for third-party liability and unintentional invasion of privacy, over a quarter-mile radius. This kind of coverage is available for $10 an hour. In areas with more hazards, such as power lines, this rate will increase.

Andrew Maxwell

Andrew is a former journalist who now works as a freelance writer specializing in tech and gadgets. He currently resides in Thailand.

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