Accidents happen. And in the case with drones, accidents happen a lot! Damage can happen not only to the drone itself, but to other people’s property as well. When this happens, you can be held accountable. There have been a number of drone related accidents in the news lately. Here are just a few.
Drone Crashes at U.S. Open
A teacher from Brooklyn, 26-year-old Daniel Verley, was arrested when a drone he was operated crashed into the stands at the U.S. Open. Fortunately, the stands where the crash took place were relatively empty and no one was hurt. Verley was arrested and faces charges of reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of a designated area.
Baby Injured by Drone Crash
An 11-month-old girl was rushed to the hospital having sustained a quarter-inch gash on her forehead and a large bump. The FAA says that anyone flying recklessly can face fines ranging from $1,000 to $25,000.
Wildfire Fighting Efforts Thwarted by Drone Activity
Recently, efforts to extinguish a wildfire in California were thwarted due to drone activity. A drone flying over the wildfire at around 10,500 feet was spotted by a supervisor and a plane carrying 10,800 gallons of fire retardant had to be diverted to avoid a mid-air collision – costing $15,000.
Unfortunately police and firefighters were unable to locate the drone operator and being unable to communicate with him, had to cancel the rest of the air drops for the day.
There have even been reports of individuals shooting drones out of the sky. A group of firefighters fighting a house fire turned their hoses on a drone that was attempting to film the scene.
Damages incurred to or from your drone are your responsibility and come out of your pocket.
Drone Insurance Now Available
Fortunately, late last year, Chief Technology Officer for AIG Insurance, Mike Brady, announced that his company is now offering drone insurance. Key features of AIG’s dedicated unmanned aircraft insurance include the following:
- Policy language drafted specifically to respond to the exposure of unmanned aircraft.
- Coverage for aircraft operators, including other non-pilot, on-ground crew.
- There is NO exclusion for loss arising from electronic malfunctions and failure of electronic components, accessories and power equipment (Such exclusion is standard on manned aircraft policies).
- Coverage is flexible, with terms and conditions customizable to individual needs.
- Physical damage to the aircraft itself, along with installed, or carried equipment, and ground control units can be provided.
- Third-party liability.
- War, hijacking and terrorism.
According to the AIG website, the process to obtain drone insurance is a little different than obtaining car or home insurance. Aviation/unmanned aircraft insurance is typically not available directly to the consumer. To obtain their insurance, you will need to work with an insurance agent. The agent and their team of underwriters will determine your needs and negotiate coverages and terms on your behalf.
This process may be more complicated than your usual insurance, but when you consider the costs associated with drones and the likelihood of an accident happening, it may be an effort well worth it.