Insurance is a cost-effective method to protect and secure ourselves from financial loss. Health and life insurance plans are common among people, and most of us also ensure our financial assets and properties such as houses and vehicles. But have you ever thought about getting an insurance plan for your drones? At first thought, it may seem unnecessary, but drone insurance can be useful and even essential for many reasons.
Drone insurance isn’t useful for everyone, especially for people who own cheaper, basic models that cost them a few hundred dollars at most. But when you’re using advanced, high-end drones for commercial and industrial uses, drone insurance can be a wise decision.
High-end drones are quite expensive, costing thousands of dollars. In fact, some extremely advanced and powerful industrial drones cost more than $10k. Even ten grand seems nothing compared to drones like XactSense Titan, which costs around $120,000! So when you’re using these kinds of drones, it makes sense to get them insured.
But the more you think about drone insurance, lot of questions can come to your mind.
Do I need to get my drone insured? When is it useful to get drone insurance, and where can I find an acceptable insurance policy? How much will it cost? Well, we’re here to answer all these questions, so let’s get started!
Do I Need to Get Drone Insurance?
The first question you’ll be asking yourself is whether you need drone insurance. And as we said earlier, it’s not necessary for everyone who owns a drone. There are three things you need to assess when considering if drone insurance is right for you:
Cost of the Drone
We already mentioned that simple and cheap drones that cost less than a thousand dollars don’t need to be insured. We’re not saying that a thousand dollars is cheap, as that’s still a big amount to pay for a drone. But paying an additional amount regularly to insure such drones is just not worth it.
For example, some drone insurance plans can cost around $300 a year, so there’s no point in paying for insurance when the policy itself costs you about one-third of the cost of the drone every year. You should seriously consider getting drone insurance only if your drone costs well above a few thousand dollars.
Nature and Purpose of Drone Usage
The next thing to consider is the purpose of the drone and how you intend to use it. For the most part, people who use selfie drones or any other simple drones for recreational and entertainment purposes don’t really need to insure their drones. If you’re only using drones to fly in your backyard or in safe, open areas for taking pictures, or you’re just enjoying the flight experience, then you probably won’t be damaging the drone anytime soon.
Commercial and industrial uses such as professional filmmaking, surveys and inspections, search and rescue missions, and disaster reliefs require the drone to be flown in harsh and unpredictable conditions. Even with a highly experienced pilot controlling the drone, there is always the possibility that things can go wrong. And the drone might not just get damaged itself but can also cause damage to other people and property in case of a mishap.
For example, if the drone crashes into an expensive car or a building, the cost of compensating liability damages can be even more than the price of drone itself. That is why it’s best to get drone insurance in case of professional, commercial, and industrial use of drones, and even more so if you’re often flying the drone in harsh conditions or populated areas.
The payload of your drone is also an important thing to consider. Drones can be further equipped with expensive, professional cameras and extra devices such as thermal sensors, drop mechanisms, spraying systems, etc. A suitable insurance plan can also compensate for the damages incurred to such payloads attached to your drone. So if you’re using expensive and advanced payloads on your drones, you should definitely get drone insurance.
What Does Drone Insurance Cover?
Now another important thing you should know is what exactly will drone insurance cover and compensate for. Here are the main types of coverage offered by drone insurance policies:
Compensation for damages to the drone itself, which can cover the cost of repair or even the cost of exchanging the damaged drone with another model. Types and extent of damage covered by insurance will depend on the policy.
Compensation for damages caused to third parties and properties by the drone, such as the drone crashing into a building or vehicle or causing injuries to another person. It can cover the cost of repair for properties and medical expenses if another person has been injured by the drone.
Compensation for anything else other than hull and liability coverage, such as insurance for payloads, ground units, and other devices that are a part of the drone’s flight system.
Like with any other type of insurance, drone insurance plans and policies can also vary. You must discuss with the insurance provider in detail what kinds of compensations are covered by a policy and the full terms and conditions to understand which policy is suitable for you.
How Much Does Drone Insurance Cost?
Based on the insurance plan and the damages and expenses covered, the cost of insurance can vary widely. But what you do need to know is that there are two different types of payment plans for drone insurance.
On-demand Drone Insurance
This type of insurance only charges you for the time that your drone is in flight. The rates are usually set on an hourly basis, so you need to pay a small amount for every hour that you fly the drone instead of paying a monthly or annual premium amount.
Regular Drone Insurance
There’s not much to say here, as a regular insurance plan is where you pay a fixed amount every month or year, just like all other types of insurance plans.
Now we can’t give you an exact amount for the cost of insurance, as every insurance provider has its own rates for different policies. But we have checked out some popular insurance plans to assume an average amount. On-demand insurance can start from as low as $5 per hour, while regular insurance can cost $300 to $600 per year for most basic policies. But it will cost you more if you go for plans that offer more extensive coverage.
Companies that Offer Drone Insurance in the US
With enough information about drone insurance, the next step is to know where and how to purchase a drone insurance policy. There are two options to have your drones insured:
Coverage Plans From Manufacturers
A lot of drone manufacturers have their own care packages and coverage plans, which work just like an insurance policy. You pay a certain amount for the plan on a monthly or annual basis, and the manufacturers themselves provide compensation for your drones in case of any damage.
If the drone gets damaged beyond repair, they can also exchange the model for a brand new one. An example of such a coverage plan is the DJI Care packages offered by popular drone maker DJI for their popular models. But remember that such plans provided by manufacturers only provide hull coverage and do not compensate for damages caused by the drone to properties and third parties.
Third-Party Drone Insurance Providers And Referrers
Obviously, the second option is to get your drones insured by a third-party insurance provider. A little bit of online search is all you need to find drone insurance providers in the US, but we would also like to name some of the best drone insurance agents and companies which we recommend.
SkyWatch and Thimble are two companies that specialize in on-demand drone insurance, where you only pay for the flight time of the drone. Such a plan also requires you to keep a flight log of your drone at all times to determine how much time your drone has spent in the air so you can be charged accordingly. For regular drone insurance, some of the recommended companies are:
- AVION Insurance (https://avioninsurance.com/uav-drone-insurance/)
- Avalon Risk Management (https://www.avalonrisk.com/)
- BWI Aviation Insurance Agency, Inc. (https://bwifly.com/)
- Droneinsurance.com (https://www.droneinsurance.com/)
- United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) (https://www.usau.com/coverages/unmanned-aircraft-systems/)
When you contact these or any other insurance agencies to get a quote for their various policies, you should be prepared with some important information in hand, such as:
- Your personal info as well as details of your business if the drone is used for commercial and industrial purpose.
- Information about the drone such as cost, date of purchase, total flight time till date, and the serial number of the drone.
- Information about your own flight experience and your history as a drone pilot
While drone insurance isn’t compulsory or absolutely essential for every drone owner, it is extremely important and financially wise to insure high-end drones that are used for professional, commercial, and industrial purposes. You should also weigh your options and decide whether you should go for hull coverage, liability coverage, or an extensive plan covering both types of scenarios. As for the type of plans, you can either go for an on-demand plan or opt for regular insurance.
We hope that all the information we have covered in this guide has given you an excellent basic understanding of drone insurance when needed, what it covers, and what options you have. All that’s left to do is to do a bit of your research and find the best insurance policy to protect your drone from financial loss so you can be prepared for the rest and enjoy the flight without any worries.