Do You Need Insurance For a Drone?
Drones have become extremely popular in Britain over the past few years, read out superb Drone Insurance Guide, which is full of helpful information, tricks and money saving tips.
A drone can also be known as an unmanned aircraft. When you fly a drone in the UK it’s the ‘pilot’ (the person who is in control) who is always responsible and liable should an accident or injury occur. This is why it’s extremely important to get the right type of cover for your needs.
Cover can vary massively depending on which insurance company you select. Equally how you use your done can also have a major factor in how high or low your premiums will be.
For example, let’s say you’re using a drone for commercial photography; premiums for usages such as this will obviously be higher than a recreational user.
To find out more and read our Drone Insurance Guide in full, please continue below.
Do I need Insurance for a Drone?
It can be easy to think that a drone is just another fad or high-end toy, however they are certainly more sophisticated than a average toy. Some drones can easily cost thousands of pounds, so insurance is highly recommended if your budget allows.
Drone insurance doesn’t just protect the device itself, it can also protect you, other members of the public and any third-party damage you may cause.
Typically the best level of cover to take out is comprehensive as this can protect you against a whole host of different things. If you find that comprehensive cover is a little out of your budget range, at a minimum you should be looking for third-party cover, in case you injury somebody else or damage their property.
After all, you would be surprised how many drone accidents happen. Generally most drone incidents occur because of power failure, however they can also occur because of human error too.
Typical drone accidents can include:
- Hitting power lines
- Hurting members of the public
- Crashing into other drones while flying
Let’s take the first example and see what associated costs you may be liable for.
Let’s say you accidently hit a power line with your drone. Most drone propellers are plastic so it may not cause extensive damage to the line, but let’s say it does. This will likely cut off power to a certain area. This means an engineer will be called out to fix the line, if the electricity company finds a drone tangled up in their power supply, they may just bill you for the cost of fixing the issue.
While this is an ‘extreme’ example, it does go to show that simple issues can quickly escalate into larger problems quite easily.
Secondly take a look at this BBC News story
, a drone propeller sliced a toddler’s eyeball in half. This happened after the pilot of the drone lost control.
As you can see accidents do and will happen, it’s always better to protect yourself to the best of your ability in case the unthinkable occurs.
Types of Drone Insurance Cover
While drone insurance in the UK is still relatively new, providers are offering a range of plans and policies, which can include cover for:
- Personal Injury
- Damage to personal or public property
- Medical Expenses
- Invasion of Privacy
- Out of Warranty Cover
While there may not be hundreds of drone insurance companies, you can see keep premiums down by shopping around for the best quote. If nothing ‘grabs’ your attention, there’s a few other ways at potentially keeping insurance costs low.
If you’re currently reviewing your home insurance policy, there’s no harm in asking your provider if they will also include your drone as part of the plan. This will be up to each individual company as to whether they will include the drone or not.
If they don’t a part from individual drone cover, it’s increasingly common to purchase ‘gadget insurance’. This provides protection for laptops, game consoles, tablets, phones and so on. Most insurers will also cover drones too!
What to Ask Insurance Providers
Before you take out drone cover you should write a ‘checklist’ of the type of questions you want answering from your insurance provider.
This can include the following elements:
- How much am I insured for?
- Are there any exclusions or limitations on my policy?
- What is the maximum amount the insurance will pay for damage to my drone?
- Does the policy cover theft and vandalism?
- Does the policy offer any ‘out of warranty’ cover?
- Am I insured for injury or damage to third parties?
- This there a limit to how many claims can be made during the policy duration?
- Am I only allowed to fly my drone at certain times of the day?
- Do I receive any discounts, if i have a good no claims record?
- Can my insurance be cheaper, if I’m part of a drone club?
Questions Drone Insurers May Ask You
A part from your questions to potential insurers, when applying for a policy you will find insurance companies asking you questions too.
This is so they can calculate a quote based on your requirements and usage.
For example they may ask questions like:
- How will the drone be used?
- Will the drone be used for personal or commercial use?
- Do you race the drone, or are you planning too?
- Where do you take off and land from?
- Do you live in a built up area or country location?
- Where is the drone stored when not in use?
- What is the power of the drone?
- How much did it cost?
- How many people fly the device?
- Are you part of a drone club?
- Do you have any additional training or completed an advanced flying course?
- Is the drone registered with an identification service in case of theft?
- Have you ever been involved in a drone accident within the last 12 months?
Drone Clubs and Drone Racing
Over the last couple of years drone racing has increased massively, it’s becoming a really popular sport in Britain. In this type of activity it’s highly likely you will need insurance just to participate, after all several drones racing around a purpose-built course can easily collide with one another.
Some drone clubs will offer insurance for members while others will need individual drone policies. You will have to speak to the leader of the club and see what specifications and requirements are needed before you go racing!
You may find that being part of a club can decrease insurance premiums, while there isn’t conclusive evidence this is applicable to all providers, it may have affect on some policy prices. This is because drone clubs can be ‘seen’ as a responsible way of using an unmanned aircraft, they’re usually in a safe environment and the general well being of spectators and competitors is typically at a high standard.
If your drone insurance policy is up for renewal and you’ve just joined a club, inform your provider and you may see a little discount. As always each insurance company is different so shop around for the best quote to suit your needs.
Drone UK Law and Regulations
Anything flown within UK airspace is under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Authority, also known as CAA for short.
Drone law in the UK will depend on the type of aircraft you plan to fly and for what reason. This can range from small recreational usage to commercial drones.
Typically the average member of public will be using a drone for recreational use. This means they must:
- Must not endanger any persons or anything, this can include other planes flying in the air and damage which may happen on the ground.
- They must not be flown over or within 150 metres of any congested area
- They must not be flown over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons.
- They must not be flown within 50 metres of any vessel, structure or vehicle, which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.
- A drone must not be flown within 50 metres of any person except during take off and landing.
- A drone must also not be flown within 30 metres of any person except the person in charge of the aircraft.
In addition to the rules above you must also keep the drone within the ‘visual line of sight’. This is usually within 500 metres horizontally and 400 foot vertically. Anything beyond this will require further approval by the CAA.
Equally you will also need CAA permission if you plan to use a drone for any commercial work. This can range from building contractors, photographers, cameramen and so on.
If you’re in doubt speak to the Civil Aviation Authority
for more information.
Money Saving Tips
Take a look at these fantastic money saving tips:
- No Claims Bonus – Just like other forms of insurance, you can easily build up a no claims bonus over several years if you don’t claim on your policy. While this may not help new drone flyers, it’s certainly something to keep in mind for the future as it could potentially lower your premiums.
- Excess – By opting to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim, you can decrease your premiums with ease. However please remember if you do claim you will need to pay the excess you state before a provider will ‘pay out’. Only opt for an amount, which you can easily afford. Never over stretch your budget.
- Drone Clubs – Some insurers look ‘favourably’ on flyers that are part of drone clubs. This may reduce the cost of your insurance, however as every provider has a different criteria, you might have to shop around to get the right deal for your needs.
- Advanced Courses – By taking additional flying courses you may be able to lower your premiums. Some providers will recognise that you will have a higher skill base and be more aware of your surroundings. This can mean that your less likely to make a claim or be involved in an accident. While there’s no conclusive evidence that advanced courses lower premiums, it’s certainly something to consider for drone lovers. Remember though, that the initial cost of the course may be higher than any potential savings you could make on your policy price.
Original Publication: 31 May 2017
Last Updated: 11 August 2017