Since UVAs are operated remotely, there’s no risk to passengers or crew. However, drones present a significant risk to property and life on the ground in the event of an accident. Drones can crash due to faulty and inappropriate operation, mechanical defects and component failure. Losses and damages could involve bodily injury to humans and animals as well as buildings and other structures.
Obtaining insurance for your drone for personal use isn’t difficult. Using a private drone as a hobby is generally covered under a homeowners insurance policy (subject to a deductible) which typically covers radio-controlled model aircraft. This also applies to a renter’s insurance policy. Look at the contents section of your policy, or talk to your agent to see if your drone will be covered if it is lost, stolen or damaged. If your drone falls onto your car, damage to your car may be covered if you have a comprehensive coverage auto policy.
A larger concern is liability for an accident caused by your drone. If your drone crashes into someone else’s vehicle or a person, the accident is your responsibility. If you have a homeowners or renter’s policy, generally the policy will cover liability for an accident caused by your drone. Check with your agent or insurer to verify your policy contains this important coverage.
You may be excited to obtain a drone for your own use, but how would you feel about your neighbors owning and operating drones near your home? Privacy is a legitimate concern when it comes to drone use.
Drones are often equipped with on-board cameras and other data-collection capabilities which can pose a threat to privacy. Drones may capture private data that could be harmful or embarrassing if shared. Beyond intentional surveillance, drones may also unintentionally capture images during routine and unrelated flights. As a drone owner, remain mindful of privacy concerns. Insurers are developing policies to cover these liability exposures, so keep in touch with your insurer to make sure your use remains covered.
Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “A Birds Eye View of Drone Insurance” http://www.naic.org website. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_drone_insurance.htm
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