The number of drones and quadcopters in the UK has really taken off. Once used only by the military, they’re now an essential piece of kit for many businesses as well as providing some weekend fun for more and more of us.
If you’re a hobbyist you might not have given a second thought to drone insurance. But the right insurance is an essential to protect yourself financially if your drone is damaged or stolen or, worse, causes damage or injury to someone or something. Get the peace of mind that you’re covered with our top 5 insurance tips for drone owners.
1) Are you operating your drone commercially?
From construction and agriculture to the emergency services and film crews, unmanned aircraft (UA) are proving invaluable to more and more businesses. If you’re using your drone for commercial purposes you’ll need to take out specialist insurance. Options include worldwide cover and policies that extend to protection during storage and transportation as well as in the air.
2) Check if your recreation drone is covered by your home insurance
If you’re flying your drone for fun, don’t assume that it is automatically covered by your home insurance. In some cases, it might be, but it’s essential to check with your insurer first. The rise in the popularity of drones, and the accompanying rise in risk, means some insurance companies have now changed their home insurance policies to specifically exclude drones. Or you might find that your drone is covered if it is stolen from your property or destroyed in a house fire, but you are not protected if it is damaged outside of your home, for example during transportation or when you are flying it.
3) Consider replacement costs
Drones don’t have to cost £hundreds, but a lot of drones are worth substantially more. If your drone falls towards the lower end of the market, consider whether your home insurance excess would negate the point of making a claim if your drone is damaged. If your drone is at the upper end of the price range you may need to specify it as a high-value item on your home insurance in order to make a claim. In these cases, it is sometimes more cost effective to take out specific drone insurance.
4) Do you need public liability insurance?
Did you read the report in 2016 about the two wedding guests who brought a case against the groom who they claim was flying a drone at the reception, which then crashed into their faces?
No matter how good you are at flying, and how well you think you have checked that an area is clear, things can and do go wrong. Human error, malfunction, and dead batteries can all lead to your drone crashing out. As well as damaging your drone itself, if your drone crashes it can hit someone or something, causing substantial damage or injury.
If you are flying your drone anywhere where this could happen, public liability insurance could be considered an essential. It will cover your legal fees if a claim is brought against you as well as any damages that you are ordered to pay out.
And it’s not just claims for damage or injury that can be brought against you. If your drone has a camera attached to it, you could also be sued for invasion of privacy or data protection.
In our no-win, no-fee culture, making a claim against you is easier than ever, so insurance can give you real peace of mind when you’re flying.
5) Always fly within the law
A drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has to be flown within certain safety rules, just like any aircraft. Check out the Civil Aviation Authority(CAA) guidance on keeping your drone flight safe and legal and look at dronesafe.uk for their simple to follow Dronecode. This includes flying your drone at least 50m from people or property and keeping your drone below 120m.
Failing to comply with the rules can result in a criminal prosecution. For example, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison if your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft. It’s also important to remember that whilst insurance is there to protect you financially, it will be invalidated if you don’t follow the law on flying.