Should Drone Insurance Be Required?

Drone manufacturers and legislators are constantly working to adapt to each other and to create a framework in which operators can work safely alongside everything else in the air. As part of that, the insurance industry is trying to tackle the new landscape. Should drone insurance be mandatory?

When I first purchased insurance, I was flying purely as a hobbyist. However, when I switched companies, I received an email from my new company telling me that they had seen drone shots in my work and they would not insure me if I didn't add aerial liability to my plan. My agent was helpful, but he made it clear in no uncertain terms that insurance companies are essentially terrified of drones and appear to be overcompensating for their presence. What was even more annoying was that a drone liability policy (with no equipment replancement coverage) that offered a quarter the total liability coverage of my general policy cost nearly as much as my full general liability and full replacement policy. If you ask anyone who knows me, I'm much more likely to trip over a light stand and knock it into someone than I am to crash a drone into a person (which is literally impossible given where I fly). Nonetheless, here I am with a normal insurance policy and an aerial liability policy for a crash that is so exceedingly unlikely to happen that it really makes the amount I pay a ripoff. So, as Billy Kyle asks in this video, should drone insurance be mandatory? I don't think it's a bad idea, but I do think the industry needs to get a better handle on insuring them at a cost commensurate with the actual risk as opposed to the perceived risk. What are your thoughts?

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15 Comments

Loved the term "over compensate." That translates into policy holders will pay regardless of whether or not drone insurance is mandated. I suspect it will be included as part of a home owners insurance package for non-commercial use?
I would think professional service users would be covered under their liability policies anyway. It could also manifest itself as a rider?
Bottom line - policy holders will pay regardless of any mandate(s). Government will always side with big insurance companies, so one way or the other it is inevitable. Cynicism or a reality check? We'll have to wait and see.

I've never made an auto insurance claim and yet my auto insurance is not nearly as cheap as I think it should be. I think insurance to a certain extent is a racket, and they are certainly behind in the times. For example, I checked with two major insurance companies and they don't recognize the tremendous new safety features in cars like collision avoidance, auto braking, and different types of sensors and cameras to avoid accidents. It's like they are still in the 90s recognizing only a general alarm/immobilizer.

I wouldn't expect your insurance to get much cheaper, if at all. In fact, I would bet that the cost will be going up, not down.

Should it be required for drones? Yep, of a certain size.

Michael Kormos's picture

You need to tell them you have a CLUB for your steering wheel. Instant 10% reduction!

That's hilarious that people actually used those things. All you had to do was use an inexpensive bolt cutter and cut through the steering wheel in seconds.

When I learned to drive my dad actually gave me a club just to decrease the insurance rate.

Kyle Medina's picture

Why?

You are assurance companies lobbyist?

Chris Rogers's picture

Screw insurance. It's a money making scheme. I have never made claim on my auto insurance yet for some reason it just keeps going up. Hell if it keeps the trend it's on I might not be able to afford to drive my car. I'll have to pick up a motorcycle. Who ever invented insurance is one of the biggest dicks in the history of man yet a genius at the same time.

State Farm didn't use the "Mayhem Guy"? Or is that Allstate?

having it required is one thing, having the insurance companies pay on the policy is another. do you think that a insurance company is gonna pay if they think you did something dumb ? good luck.

Charles Yeager's picture

I don't think it should/or ever will be required for hobbyist. But I do think it should be required for Part 107 pilots (who fly for business), currently no drone insurance is required for Part 107 operations. Which kinda seems counterintuitive, since the Part 107 is fairly easy to get. Also, I can really advocate using "traditional" insurance companies, because I'm sure they are a rip-off for the actual coverage given. I'd recommend using an actual aviation insurance broker.

Jeff McCollough's picture

So then I would have to pay a crap load of money to fly a drone once in a while and sell some of the pics I take on Shutterstock? Doesn't make much sense.

Spy Black's picture

"As part of that, the insurance industry is trying to tackle the new landscape."

Shouldn't that read "the insurance industry is trying to leach off people fucking up with new technology"?...

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