Unmanned drones have meant a quantum leap for surveying. They can reach and hover above tough-to-reach or dangerous terrain. They can be adjusted remotely. And, of course, equipped with the right topographical software, they can more quickly measure all the things many surveyors still do from the ground.
Surveyors, of course, aren’t alone in integrating drones into their work. The Federal Aviation Administration estimates about 30,000 small, unmanned aircraft will be used for all types of business purposes by 2020.
Drones also come with certain risks, namely the potential to crash and damage property or injure someone on the ground.
That’s why many drone owners, especially commercial operators, have recognized the importance of obtaining drone insurance. Not only will such coverage save you money in the event of damage or theft of your drone, but it also can protect you financially if your drone injures other people or damages property.
There are several types of drone insurance worth considering.
The most important provides liability coverage in a similar way that your auto liability coverage does, protecting you from third-party claims of injury or property damage.
Say you’re a surveyor and were to lose control of your drone unexpectedly and it veered off into a crowd. A serious injury could leave you liable for thousands of dollars in medical costs. The same is true if the drone damages a car or building. Your liability coverage would then cover the cost of such claims.
Hull insurance, meanwhile, pays to repair or replace your drone should you crash into, say, a wall.
Another form of insurance covers you for any sensitive equipment your drone might be carrying. Known as payload insurance, you’ll need this if you’re doing commercial mapping or infrastructure inspections.
It’s important not to lump the value of the payload in with the hull coverage on an unmanned drone. These items should be listed separately on the policy, to accurately insure their value.
Any company using a drone in its business also should consider personal injury coverage, which will protect you against libel, slander, violation of privacy, and copyright infringement.
Why do you need this? Well, imagine someone suspects you’re spying – yes, of course, you’re not! – and sues you for invasion of privacy. Crazy, right? But it happens.
Finally, if you’re shopping for a drone insurance package, be sure the policy you’re considering includes no exclusions for losses stemming from electronic malfunctions and failure of electronic components, accessories or power equipment.
Like any other insurance policy, the better ones for drones will help keep you aloft even in turbulent times.
Brian Parks is CCIG’s Commercial Lines Sales Director. Reach him at 720-330-7923 or BrianP@thinkccig.com.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with the full-service capabilities of a national brokerage. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We also help you manage your long-term cost of risk with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.