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Drone Insurance--Continued

Stanley writes:

Does the app called Verifly - Drone Insurance have a good reputation? I am a certificated drone photographer who has been approached to take aerial photo/video of a well-known tourist location in the US. The organization that controls the tourist location will approve my flight if I have appropriate insurance coverage. I only need the insurance coverage specific to this shoot for one day. I have other insurance for normal ops.

We touched on some of this stuff in an article a few weeks ago. As mentioned in that article, giving advice on insurance is a risky subject so I've reached out to a professional for a few pointers.

Howard Burkholz - Allstate

You should definitely have liability insurance for your drone photography operation. If you are only doing a few flights a year and don't need an Additional Insured Endorsement, Verifly offers a good pay per flight option. But if you are doing approximately fifty (50) flights or more per year, you'll need an Additional Insured Endorsement, OR need the reliability of knowing your covered for FAA approved locations; Verifly might not be the best option (Verifly has geographic areas where coverage isn't available). That being said, there are affordable options available.

I recently did a policy with $1,000,000 general liability limit for combined land and aerial operation, plus $5,000 equipment coverage for $611 per year.

Business, Work, or Commercial Qualifications:

  1.  Follow the requirements in the Small UAS rules (Part 107)
  2.  Follow the rules in your Section 333 grant of exemption
  3.  Obtain an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft

There are plenty of services out there to help you prepare for the Part 107 license test, such as:

Note: Drones that weigh more than 15lbs increase the cost of insurance. Coverage is not available for drones weighing more than 55lbs. Coverage currently not available in New York.

Click here if you would like to request a quote.

 

14 comments on “Drone Insurance--Continued”

  1. Howard, who was the carrier? I'm pretty sure it wasn't Allstate. My policy has the same coverage but I pay one thousand a year. Wouldn't mind saving a few hundred. Mine was provided through American Family but they just wrote it, they aren't the carrier, I would have to did through some stuff to see who it is.

  2. As a former FAA STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) Project Manager the requirement to obtain an airworthiness certificate jumps out at me. Is the FAA certificating drones under 55 lbs? I'm unaware of any drone being certified by the FAA. I can see the FAA getting involved in the certification of drones for the FedEx type delivery systems but I've not heard of a TC (Type Certificate) for a drone used to carry a camera around.

  3. I have also been looking for photographer (ground) and drone insurance. Talked to State Farm because I heard on a Shooting Spaces podcast that they offer business policies for photography but they will not cover if I provide aerial drone. I thought they could exclude drone and I could acquire coverage elsewhere for drone but they will not. They suggested I put the drone ops in a separate LLC, which is ridiculous... Cost of LLC formation, separate accounting and billing. Thanks but no thanks, State Farm.

  4. One thing that does need to be repeated, general business liability and umbrella policies generally don't cover drones.

    I'm going to second Ken? That is a new one for me.

    @Bill, press your American Family insurance agent, mine found one that was a great deal cheaper. It was through Global Aerospace. Since I have a small drone, I only went with a $500,000 policy.

  5. Maybe I missed something but it seems like nobody answered the question, which was about insurance for a single day. I only mention it because i am curious about this as well.

  6. With the insurance "by the hour" policies, one thing to check is if it's required to have a cell signal. If you are in an area with spotty coverage or you frequently photograph homes in a dead zone, is there a way to activate the insurance beforehand and deactivate it when you get back into phone coverage. There are several parts of my service area where my phone doesn't work.

    50 flights a year is one per week. The second question I get with agents is if I offer drone photos (the first is how much I charge). It should be worthwhile to have full time coverage. If the drone insurance is $500 and you make 50 flights/year, that's $10ea. Build it into the price of the service. The primary reason I got my drone was to sell my photo services as drones are a hot, nearly mandatory, thing to have right now.

  7. Found my policy, drone coverage is through ASAIG United States Aircraft Insurance Group, business insurance is a business policy through American Family. American Family secured the ASAIG policy for me. 1K a year, business 350 a year.

  8. @Stanley, if you have insurance coverage for normal ops then why do you need additional insurance for this specific project?

  9. 1) Misinformation Alert -- Verifly *does* allow you to designate additional insureds.

    2) You can set up the coverage prior to arriving on location (like when you book the shoot, for example)

    3) @ Kerry --- "regular" business insurance almost always specifically EXCLUDES drone operations. If you're flying, you need "drone" insurance.

  10. @Kerry, I missed that bit but, good question. If Stanley already has drone insurance, why would he need a different policy for this project. Is the client asking for a higher liability limit? An additional insured certificate? Other? All of the liability insurance that I've ever had provides for additionally insured certificates and most companies let you create and print them yourself via their website. If the project requires a higher liability limit, the best thing to do is talk with your agent about increasing your policy for a period of time. I'm not sure if they'd do that for one day, but maybe for a month. They'll want more money (of course), but you just build that into your pricing. A whole new policy might lead to fights between insurance companies about who is primary and who is secondary on a claim unless you buy secondary coverage. Again, talk with your agent. They should know. One million in coverage with a one million deductible shouldn't be too expensive if the client is insisting on 2 million in coverage rather than the 1 million you already have.

  11. Everyone is scurrying to figure out what to get...what is legit, what it covers, etc.

    Has Anyone actually had experience with a claim against them that their courier covered?

    Working with insurance companies over the years in many different venues...instruction, scuba, auto, extreme sports, flying and others has given me a perspective that most companies will gladly take your premiums...but when it comes to claims....all the little print details come out that precludes you from coverage.

    Again, is there anyone here who can share a experience where they used their "coverage"?

  12. You are correct. Allstate does not offer liability coverage for UAS (drone) business operations. The carriers I use to help clients with drone general liability coverage include The Hartford and RLI.

    It sounds like VERIFLY offers "additional insured" endorsement now. This is very helpful and much needed. At point point they did not offer this option. Great news!

    I agree with Ken Brown that there is a break even point. If you can purchase a 24/7 365 days per year policy for $611 then the tipping points is 61 flights per year. If you are doing 61 flights or less you will save money by using VERIFLY. If over 61 flights per year you are better off with an annual 24/7 policy.

    If you have a $1M drone liability policy you would not need an "event" liability policy to do the same thing. This would be duplicate coverage. If you are being required to have $2M GL drone coverage then you would want to increase the limit on your current policy. Insurance carriers object to "stacking" two different carriers policies of $1M each. This gives insurance carriers heartburn.

    You can reach me by email hburkholz@allstate.com and get a quote at http://www.nationalphotographersinsurance.com

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