Drones are a relatively new technology and so there can be a lack of clarity when it comes to establishing the necessity of insuring their use. Whether you need to have insurance when using drones will depend on how, and when, you’re using a drone. The type of drone involved will also have an impact on whether insurance is required. For some, cover will be compulsory while for others it’s just a really good idea.
What does the law say?
Currently, insurance is compulsory for anyone flying drones commercially. Insurance is also required for a drone that weighs more than 20kg. Although there remain some grey areas when it comes to drone use this is something that the government is looking to take steps to clear up relatively quickly.
Later this year the Drone (Regulation) Bill 2017-2019 will come into force, introducing a whole range of new rules for drone flyers, including compulsory registration for drones that weigh more than 250g (less than the weight of two i-Phone 6s). With this intense focus on making drone owners more accountable – even those doing it just for fun - it’s likely that we’ll soon see much tighter regulation of this area in the near future.
Why is insurance necessary?
Other than for legal compliance purposes, drone insurance also has some other key uses. The number of accidents involving drones is increasing significantly, for example. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, in 2017 there were 93 near-misses between drones and aircraft. Even those who are flying a drone for fun are still subject to multiple rules, including keeping the drone 150 ft away from buildings and people, and below an altitude of 400 ft.
However, accidents do happen – and where the result is injury or property damage insurance may be essential to putting the situation right. Public liability cover is particularly important, especially for drone flyers who don’t have specialist expertise.
Does home insurance cover drones?
It depends on the individual insurer. A standard home insurance policy will usually exclude aircraft or motorised vehicles (which may or may not include drones) – some may even have a specific clause that states that drones are not covered even if they are just toys.
The details of a home insurance policy may also exclude the drone when it is being flown so that it’s only covered for theft or damage in the home. Even a comprehensive home insurance policy is unlikely to provide public liability insurance cover for drones.
Why every drone needs insurance
Given the tightening up of the law relating to drones this year it could soon become compulsory for every drone owner to have insurance. After all, you can’t drive a car without insurance so why should drones be any different. Many have suggested that this should be a part of the purchase process – when you buy a drone, insurance is bought at the same time.
Drones can do serious damage to people and to property, especially if they crash. Having public liability insurance, for example, could provide cover for the cost of legal fees for a drone owner facing a claim for compensation, as well as the compensation itself.
Drone insurance is already compulsory for some and could well soon be a requirement for anyone flying these vehicles. The right policy not only ensures compliance but provides peace of mind too.
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