As with any commercial venture, drone operation comes with an associated insurance risk. Accidents and failures can happen, and it’s important to have the necessary insurance to cover repair costs and damage claims. Although unmanned aerial vehicles are still a new technology, insurance firms are now starting to form a consensus on the premiums required to properly insure drone operations – and the requirements that they will put in place to mitigate safety concerns. As with any responsible pilot, they expect a certain level of training before the drone ever leaves the ground.
These drone courses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are quick, online courses that cover only the basics, and which are designed solely to pass the FAA’s remote airman test. While these may serve their intended purpose, they are unlikely to include all aspects of flight training. More in depth, on location drone courses offer actual flight time and instructors with industry experience. These comprehensive courses ensure that a new pilot has everything they need to succeed after the test is over.
Hobbyists are often covered under their own home insurance policy, but the same is not true of commercial drone operators. Liability insurance is available in a variety of forms for businesses that choose to incorporate drones – including personal liability and medical coverage. Although drones may seem like a non-issue, their capacity to accidentally cause damage is surprisingly high. The weight of most commercial drones is enough to cause serious injury or death, should their flight systems fail. Power lines, ventilation intakes and windows can all be destroyed by an errant drone.
When looking into drone insurance, a pilot needs to consider the scope and cost of their operation. An aerial photographer that consistently operates at a low ceiling will have less potential risk than an oil pipeline inspector that regularly works within refinery spaces. Deductibles can vary wildly, as with any insurance. Above all else, drone operators should ensure that their pilots are fully trained and have attended the appropriate drone courses for the areas in which they intend to work.