Whether you’re selling pickles at the farmer’s market or selling used cars, it’s vital for your business to carry insurance. Insurance often isn’t cheap, and businesses just starting out often flinch at the costs when they’re bootstrapping their operations. Still, having insurance is very important, as it protects you, your business, and your family in the event something catastrophic happens. This is especially true in the drone industry, but there are a shocking number of licensed pilots who don’t carry it. Today, I’m here to explain to you why having drone insurance is so important, and why you should only hire pilots that carry it.
Insurance: Important but Not Necessarily Required
In the United States, drone pilots flying commercially need to have an FAA Part 107 Certificate, which is federal law. This is not an option, and you could face severe consequences if you do not abide. With that being said, there’s nothing in federal laws that require pilots to hold liability insurance for their work. Zilch. Unless there’s a state law where you live regarding a drone insurance requirement, this means that you could technically work without having anything. Is this a smart thing to do? Heck no, but it is possible.
Why Liability Insurance is Important
Liability insurance is crucial to protect you and your business, because accidents do happen. If your drone suffers a loss of power and falls from the sky into a new building construction and the battery combusts, starting a structure fire, your insurance would cover that. If you suffer a flyaway and your drone veers out of control into a group of people, cutting a child with the props, you’d be covered. Your insurance would work to protect your company from facing lawsuits stemming from these actions, paying out out to replace the damage that is caused by an act that is covered in the policy.
If you don’t have insurance, you could face legal liability for those actions. If the above mentioned fire causes a million dollars in damage, the property owner or their insurance could work to sue you or your business to cover the losses. This opens your business up to crippling debt, which could force you to close your doors.
Things could be even worse if you’re not operating in the correct legal structure, as sole proprietorships could see your personal assets put at risk. Could you imagine having your home, cars, and bank accounts cleared out because of a flyaway? Us either, but it does happen and is the key reason to carry drone insurance.
Why You Should Only Hire an Insured Pilot
When you’re looking at hiring a licensed drone pilot, you really need to do your homework to make sure that they’re insured. If you’re a real estate agent and an uninsured pilot flies into a client’s house causing damage, you’ll look bad and could be held liable for that damage. Likewise, if you’re in the construction industry, you could face liability for that as well.
The bottom line is that making sure your drone pilot is insured and licensed should be at the top of your priorities. Lets face it: Would you trust someone that’s cutting corners to give you a quality product? Us either.
When doing your hiring, make sure to ask for a copy of their proof of insurance as well as their license. A pilot should readily be able to provide both to you.
Affordable Drone Insurance Options
If you’re a pilot, there are some options for you in terms of drone insurance. If you can put out a large up front payment or monthly payments, you can get an annual policy to cover your company. It’s important that you go to a company that specifically covers drone insurance, as most general liability groups don’t cover for the sector. I myself work with Global Aerospace and have a million in general liability for around $1,000 per year.
If that’s too much money, you can also purchase drone insurance by the hour. This is achieved through a company called Verifly, which sells policies for as low as $10 per hour. This is good liability insurance, and will protect you. It should be noted that if you fly a lot you will probably want an annual policy, as the hourly does add up. Some large customers also don’t accept Verifly and will want you to have a general annual policy in order to let you fly around their properties.
When buying insurance, you also want to be aware of hull insurance. Hull insurance is a policy on the actual drone itself, meaning that if you crash you will have coverage to replace the device. You can add this to annual policies, but not the hourly Verifly insurance, at least not yet.
If you’re not protecting yourself and your business by having drone insurance, you need to do so right now. Insurance protects from the accidents that all too often happen in the drone business and makes you look professional. Pilots NEED to have this, and clients should make sure that their pilots are licensed and insured.