When you own and fly a drone regularly, you capture the world with photos and videos, once only possible with a helicopter, in a unique and oftentimes fantastic way. Sadly these UAV wonders are still not perfect, and even experienced flyers can have accidents and failures that can either damage theirs and others pricy equipment or, at worst, cause injuries.
According to the law, UAVs don’t require insurance (Minnesota is an exception); however, most professional drones range between $5,000 and $20,000 and for commercial purposes require a license and certification. For someone whose livelihood depends on a drone, every day that it can not be flown is money lost.
For consumer class UAV’s for personal use, home and contents insurance or travel insurance, if covered, maybe enough, but commercial situations are excluded. When conducting business, flying for a company, or some other non-recreational purpose that involves another stakeholder, buying drone insurance makes sense. There may be minimum requirements to obtain a project, permit, or work with a company.
The cost of drone insurance is not high, but it provides a flyer with peace of mind.
There are 2 kinds of drone insurance:
UAV/Drone Liability Insurance- covers you to a limit of damage or injury you cause to others and their property. Can be for a year or flying time.
Hull Insurance- This is for the drone itself, and usually covers the aircraft, camera, and gimbal during regular use, accidental damage.
There are two general ways that drone liability insurance is sold. It can be by the hour or for a specified time period, usually one year. Usually liability coverage will start with $500,000 in coverage, and can go up to $10 million. This breadth of limits and types allows for crafting a policy for all budgets and needs.
Hull insurance will depend on the type of aircraft manufacturer and, depending on the carrier, may be bundled with the liability insurance.
There are a few other related types of insurance, such as payload insurance, for specialized equipment (multispectral or cinematography cameras, gimbal system, etc.), ground equipment insurance, non owned insurance, and personal injury coverage. Depending on your needs, any of these may be well worth pursuing.
As with all insurance, it is best to work with your agent to develop a plan for coverage that fits your needs and requirements.
Before we dive in, if you’re looking for drone insurance in the U.S., where you’re paying as little as $5 per hour to $350 per year for $1 million in liability coverage, then check out our partner SkyWatch.ai — they’re the leading on-demand drone insurance company in the U.S.
The two most common types of drone insurance are:
Drone Liability Insurance
You can think about liability insurance like you would with typical car insurance — the policy protects you from third-party claims of property damage or injury, like accidentally crashing your drone into a building, someone else’s car, or an even more unfortunate incident where you’re getting sued to cover someone else’s medical costs.
Of course, there are varying degrees of liability insurance, so make sure to consult your specific policy’s fine print to see if things like negligence or privacy infringement claims would be covered.
You can buy liability insurance “on-demand” — meaning you’re only paying for the time you’re up in the air. We recommend checking out SkyWatch, where policies start at just $5 per hour — SkyWatch is the leading on-demand drone insurance provider in the U.S. and is super easy to use. We’re big fans!
With a liability drone insurance policy, limits typically start at $500,000 and usually can be negotiated to as high as is required by the business and its operations or clients — limits as high as $10,000,000 per occurrence are not unheard of in UAS insurance.
Generally, the next coverage to consider after liability is “hull” coverage.
This is where you’re insuring the actual drone.
If you’re flying a DJI camera drone, you might want to consider getting this kind of coverage directly through them. At the moment, they offer three different plans:
DJI Care is only available for older Phantom or Inspire models and covers damage to your DJI aircraft, gimbal or camera during either normal use or accidental damage. You will receive a coverage amount equal to the market price of your drone for repair service within the validity period — there is no limit to the number of times your drone can be repaired, provided the total coverage amount is not exceeded. And if you are in the region in which you purchased your DJI Care, shipping costs will be covered by DJI.
DJI Care Refresh is the most common plan being sold right now and is structured similar to DJI Care, though the plan allows you to skip the damage assessment and quotation process. A DJI service center will ship you a replacement as soon as they receive your damaged drone.
DJI Care Refresh+ offers up to two replacement units within one year and covers certain kinds of accidents, such as water damage and collisions.
If you’re needing hull coverage for a more professional drone system, check with the manufacturer to see if they have their own coverage, or you can also consult with any of the knowledgeable brokers here at WHINS Insurance Agency.
Other Types of Drone Insurance
HOW MUCH DOES DRONE INSURANCE COST?
Please consult the previous chapter to better understand the different types of insurance available.
Liability insurance through an on-demand provider like SkyWatch can run as little as $5 / hour for $1 million in coverage. You can also pay by the month or year.
Cost of drone insurance pricing
And if you’re working with a broker to put together a more comprehensive or custom policy, drone liability insurance can begin to cost up to $600-$800 per year.
Of course, you’ll need a unique quote from an insurance company to know exactly how much you will be covered and what it will cost. Each company structures their policies a little differently. Some include hull insurance, others do not.
For hull coverage, where you’re insuring the drone itself, a DJI Care Refresh plan for a DJI Mavic 2 Pro starts at $159 per year.
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