Drone insurance is typically split into two areas: cover for accidental damage and theft/loss, and public liability cover for when you use your drone – or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – in a public place.
Below we will take you through your options in terms of drone insurance so you have a good idea of what you need and how much it will cost to insure your drone.
First of all, we need to define exactly what is meant by the word ‘drone’.
There are an increasing number of products available that we could refer to as a drone, from the small remote-controlled toys in gadget shops all the way up to the more sophisticated camera drones.
Drones originated in the military and were mostly referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) or remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS), but they are now increasingly used for commercial and leisure purposes.
In the UK drones are mostly associated with photography and videography, and used to provide unique perspectives for videos and photos.
Do I need insurance for my drone?
If you have invested in an expensive drone then it may be worth making sure you have insurance to cover it for accidental damage and theft.
Whether you use your drone for commercial purposes, or simply as a hobby, the loss of it could have a big financial impact so arranging cover to protect it against an accident or if it is lost or stolen could save your wallet in the long run.
The other consideration is drone liability insurance, which will provide cover for:
- Accidental damage caused to a property or injury to another person
- Legal costs incurred as the result of damage to a property or injury to a person
- Accidents incurred when another (qualified) person is operating your drone with your permission
If you cause any damage or injury to another person while out using your drone, you could be liable to pay a lot of damage – so drone liability cover could be invaluable.
There is no legal requirement for recreational drone users to have any from of insurance, but it is recommended that you take all necessary precautions to ensure you use your drone in a safe manner. For more information on that visit the Dronesafe website.
If you use your drone for commercial purposes then you will have to arrange suitable insurance cover in line with the Civil Aviation Authority’s (EC) 785 / 2004 regulation in order to get permission to fly your commercial drone.
The CAA’s regulation states that a drone operator should “…ensure that insurance cover exists for each and every flight…”:
- An applicant for a Permission, Exemption or authorisation must therefore have appropriate insurance on/at the date of the issuance of the Permission, Exemption or authorisation (to the satisfaction of the CAA) that meets the requirements of EC Regulation No 785/2004.
Is my drone covered on my home insurance?
These days your typical home insurance policy covers a lot of gadgets as personal possessions in the contents cover, including smart phones, tablets, laptops etc. and a lot of insurance companies will also include a drone or quadcopter in terms of accidental damage or theft.
Don’t just assume that you have drone insurance on your home policy though, as that could be an expensive mistake to make. When you purchase your drone or quadcopter, be sure to read the policy wording of your home insurance to make sure that it is not only covered but is also within any claim limit. You don’t want to make a claim for your £2,000 drone only to find your policy has a limit of £1,000 or requires a high excess payment.
You should also contact your home insurer to make them aware that you have a drone to make sure there are no surprises for you if you ever do have to submit a claim.
Your home insurance could come to the rescue for drone insurance, but it is unlikely to provide drone liability cover. Again, your first job will be to contact them to see exactly where you stand regarding liability cover. Some insurers may well provide some form of liability cover so it is worth checking, but you may find that a specialist drone insurance company is your best option.
Home insurance companies are still very much in the ‘evaluating’ phase when it comes to drones, so how they view them now may change in the future depending on what sort of claims they get – and most importantly how much those claims cost.
With drone liability insurance the potential for expensive claims is high due to the nature of damage that can be caused by drones, such as:
- Personal injury
- Medical expenses
- Invasion of privacy
- Public or private property damage
Another benefit of using a specialist drone insurance company is that they offer dedicated policies that are designed with the serious drone user in mind, and offer extra forms of cover such as:
- Noise pollution cover
- Trespassers cost insurance
- Worldwide cover
How much does drone insurance cost?
The cost of drone insurance will depend on a few factors, including:
- The value of your drone
- What type of drone you use
- What you use the drone for
- How much your drone weighs
- The value of any extra equipment you use on your drone (camera etc.)
- Any safety mechanisms your drone has (built-in parachute, collision avoidance system etc.)
- The level of liability cover you require (typically up to £10 million)
- Your drone claims history over the past three years
For just drone insurance, the cost should be around the £10 – £30 per month cost depending on the above criteria.
For drone liability insurance, you’ll be paying slightly more than that e.g. £15 – £50 per month.
For combined drone and liability insurance the premiums should come in at around £30 – £75 per month – these can often come with an added discount to encourage you to buy both so look out for that.
Note: the above costs are an estimate based on a number of different quotes using different criteria and should be used as a guide only. Actual drone insurance quotes could cost considerably more than the figures quoted above.