Drones emerged on the scene as somewhat of a recreational gadget for the aviation enthusiast. However, a growing number of commercial organizations have recognized the benefits these unmanned aircraft afford.
From assessing property damage to filming production materials to identifying maintenance issues, many businesses use drones on a routine basis. If you use a drone for your business needs, you should understand the insurance challenges these devices may present.
Standard Commercial Insurance Limitations
When you operate a drone, you do so as a function of your business. In the event the drone causes damage or bodily harm to someone else, you might assume you can simply file a claim against your general liability protection, given the drone is being used as an extension of your company.
For instance, if an operator were to accidentally send the drone crashing through the window of a nearby property, it seems natural to file a liability claim. Liability coverage is designed to protect a business in the event a moment of negligence or a mistake causes a loss for another person or company.
In some cases, a business's liability insurance will cover drone accidents and the damage they cause. However, you could painfully discover that your liability policy has limitations and mishaps resulting from drone use are not covered. Depending on the extent of the loss or injury, covering these costs on your own could be a significant undertaking, especially if you were not prepared for the extra expense.
Drone Coverage Requirements
Since general liability protection may not cover damages caused by a drone, an investment in drone insurance is a protection method that businesses that use drones regularly should consider. Drone insurance comes in two different forms, liability and hull.
Drone liability insurance functions like general liability insurance in that it is designed to cover injuries and property damage caused by the drone. Drone hull insurance is intended to protect any damage the drone causes to your own personal property. For total protection, a combination of both forms of coverage is warranted.
That said, note that in the U.S., you are not required to cover your drone under an insurance plan, even when you're using the drone for business purposes. However, a lack of laws applying to drone insurance coverage should not be enough to persuade you from taking the right steps to safeguard your business and assets.
Legal and Safe Operation
Operating a drone is not the same as flying a large aircraft, but using a drone does come with safety risks. While accidents can happen at any time, a lack of training on how to handle the drone will only increase the likelihood of a crash. However, a lack of skill may also prevent you from securing drone insurance for your business.
In the state of California, individuals who operate a drone for professional purposes must successfully pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain a remote pilot certificate. An insurance company will often need verification of this completion before extending coverage for the drone, given the elevated risk an untrained operator would pose.
If you have been operating the drone without these required documents, you will need to find at least one team member who you can send to training before you're able to secure coverage for your drone and business.
Ensuring that all your bases are covered and your business is adequately protected should be your goal as a business owner. An insurance professional at Alliance Business & Commercial Insurance Services can assist you with the process. Contact our office to ensure you have coverage for your drone and beyond.