Do You Need Drone Insurance?
We won’t lie. We love seeing a dog (or an eagle, housecat or kangaroo) take out a passing drone. Out comes the paw or claw and wham! Down it goes. Watch this video of animals attacking drones and you’ll see what we mean.
If you’re the one flying the drone/UAV, however, you need to worry about more than being ambushed by a golden retriever. The greater danger is liability — the damage you could potentially cause with your drone. Before you take to the skies, you should consider buying drone insurance.
Why Would You Need Drone Insurance?
Why get drone insurance? Because the world of drones is like the Wild West right now. It’s so new that people aren’t sure what, if any, rules apply — and you don’t want to be left unprotected. People are even wondering if they can shoot down drones that fly onto their property (short answer: no, definitely don’t do that).
When we say “drone insurance,” we mean insurance that will cover damages caused by your drone, not damage to your drone (although you can buy that too.) If your drone hurts someone, damages something or invades someone’s privacy, you could lose a lot of money if you don’t have insurance.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Include Drone Insurance?
You’re flying your drone around the yard when it suddenly plummets through the windshield of your neighbor’s car. Is there a chance your homeowner’s insurance might cover the damage? Surprisingly, it might.
“The short answer to whether harm caused by the recreational use of a UAS is covered by a standard homeowners’ insurance policy is, ‘probably yes,'” says Claims Journal, which covers the insurance industry. Of course, that depends on your policy, and how it defines the word “aircraft.” While most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude damages caused by aircraft, drones are technically considered “model or hobby aircraft,” and so they’d be covered. Confused yet?
There’s one other big exception: You can’t get insurance for drones via your homeowner’s policy if you’re using them for commercial purposes. That means if you’re getting paid to take pictures, for instance, you won’t be covered if your drone crashes into the neighbor’s car. The best way to find out if you have drone insurance is to call your homeowner’s insurance company and ask.
What About Liability Insurance for Drones?
You’re testing out your new drone’s camera and hovering near your next-door neighbor’s upstairs window. On your screen, you see your neighbor step out of the shower, towel-less — and he sees your drone. He already hates you for smashing his windshield, and the next thing you know, he’s suing you for invasion of privacy. Will drone insurance protect you?
As drones proliferate, this situation’s growing more common. Florida passed a law in 2015 called the Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act (FUSA), which prohibits the use of a drone to capture an image of privately owned property or those on the property with the intent to conduct surveillance. The law allows individuals to sue if they feel their privacy has been violated.
Here again, your homeowner’s policy may cover you for invasion of privacy claims, if it includes a personal injury provision. Of course, there are always exceptions. If you meant to spy on your neighbor, or even expected that he might object to a drone taking pictures through his window, your insurance company may argue that you’re not covered for an intentional act.
Commercial Drone Insurance
Drones are being used more and more for all kinds of commercial work. Amazon wants to use drones for deliveries, and Google wants to use them to collect data. Firefighters use them to watch wildfires. Real estate agents use them to take aerial pictures of properties.
If you’re thinking about using a UAV for profit, you’d better get drone insurance first. A specialized commercial policy will include things you may not have even considered, such as hijacking, fire liability and employee coverage. UAV Coach says a commercial drone insurance policy covering liability up to $1 million and hull damage up to $1,500 can cost as little as $1,350 a year, with a 10-15 percent deductible. To be approved, however, you may have to keep detailed flight logs and prove you’re a trained drone pilot. Safe flying!
Need Home Insurance?
Do you have a drone, a home and no insurance? We can help you compare home insurance quotes to protect your home (and maybe even incidents involving your drone).