Reading
blue-triangle-element

Articles

PFRE is the original online resource for real estate and interior photographers. Since 2006, it has been a community hub where like-minded professionals from around the world gather to share information with a common goal of improving their work and advancing their business. With thousands of articles, covering hundreds of topics, PFRE offers the most robust collection of educational material in our field. The history of real estate photography has been documented within these pages.
All Articles
blue-triangle-element

Latest

Have you ever walked into a room because you had to go get something and by the time you got there, you forgot what you were supposed to get? I don't know about you but this happens to me all the time! It's happened so frequently lately that I started ...

COMMUNITY
blue-triangle-element

Forum

The PFRE Community Forum is an online resource for discussing the art and business of Real Estate and Interior Photography.
Join The Discussion
blue-triangle-element

Latest

View Now
Contest
blue-triangle-element

OVERVIEW

For over a decade, photographers from around the world have participated in PFRE’s monthly photography contests, culminating in the year-end crowning of PFRE’s Photographer of the Year. With a new theme each month and commentary offered by some of the finest real estate & interior photographers anywhere, these contests offer a fun, competitive environment with rich learning opportunities. 

Contest Rules
blue-triangle-element

CURRENT CONTESTS

View / Submit
blue-triangle-element

PAST CONTESTS

View Archive
Conference
blue-triangle-element

Conference

PFRE’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas provides real estate and interior photographers from around the world an opportunity to meet on an annual basis, to learn, share best practices and make connections. Many of the leading names in our field are selected to speak on topics aimed at improving our craft and advancing our business. It’s a comfortable, relaxed environment that is fun, easy to get to, and affordable.
blue-triangle-element

Upcoming

PFRE Conference 2020

Register Now
blue-triangle-element

Latest News

Limited Early Bird Spots on Sale Now! PFRE Virtual Conference 2020

The roster of presenters is full, and the PFRE Virtual Conference is o ...

PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 Announcement: Presenter Line Up Part 2 of 2

*Early bird tickets go on sale September 28th* Here are the remaining ...

PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 Announcement: Presenter Line Up Part 1 of 2

We're a few short months away from the PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 an ...

Reader Poll: Which Topics Should Be Covered at the 2020 PFRE Virtual Conference?

Planning is well underway for the 2020 PFRE Virtual Conference and we' ...

Podcast
blue-triangle-element

Podcasts

The PFRE podcast is focused on having meaningful conversations with world-class photographers, business professionals and industry leaders, with the goal to inform and inspire.
All Podcasts

Coming Soon...

Resources
blue-triangle-element

Resources

PFRE prides itself on the depth and breadth of the information and professional development resources it makes available to our community. Our goal is to help real estate and interior photographers be successful while bringing the community together and elevating the industry as a whole.
blue-triangle-element

Directory

Coming Soon...

What Are Real Estate Photography RCMA Operators Doing To Protect Against Risk?

In: 
Published: 23/04/2014
By: larry

SelfieMatti in Michigan  raises the question about what other real estate photography/videography RCMA operators are doing to protect themselves against risk. She says:

It would be great to find out what current operators are doing for insurance or how they are handling any potential liability or questions from agents and sellers about this fact. I’m thinking of asking sellers and agents to sign a liability waiver of some sort until I can get reasonably priced insurance.

I think this is a great question. Some commenters on past posts indicate they have purchased liability insurance for RCMA operation for in the neighborhood of $1500/year while other commenters claim that, that particular insurance does not really protect you from the risks as one would expect. So be sure to carefully check out  and verify a policy before depending on it.

A recent article at fastcompany.com posses the question of liability to two aviation personal injury lawyers. That is, "what happens when a UAV filming a sporting event or wedding loses control and hits bystanders?" It sounds like since this is such a new area there is not a lot of clear law in this area. Liability could go beyond just the pilot. The fastcompany.com article further points out that:

Recreational drone manufacturers usually urge buyers to purchase separate drone insurance. For instance, boutique UAV maker Lift Off UAV includes a request that customers insure themselves with every purchase. Lift Off specifically notes that model aircraft are not generally covered by liability insurance. The line between model aircrafts and drones is blurry because of the availability of cheap, high-powered cameras and GPS units that turn even the most modest remote controlled aircraft into a sophisticated self-flying tool. And model aircraft already cause a number of injuries each year, according to an insurance report by the American Model Association, approximately 35 claims annually are presented to the AMA, which insures model airplane enthusiasts. Approximately 20 are property damage and 15 involve bodily harm.

What are those of you that are flying RCMA for real estate purposes in the US doing to protect yourself against liability?

14 comments on “What Are Real Estate Photography RCMA Operators Doing To Protect Against Risk?”

  1. I don't have an RCMA yet, but I have flown large RC helicopters for years. The number one way to protect yourself is using safe practices. In real estate photography we have the advantage of not having to fly near or above people like those dong sporting events/weddings. You must inspect and maintain your machine, vibrations can wear wiring and loosen parts. You must practice flying so that you have total control of the RCMA before using it commercially. Most accidents are caused by operator error. Safety and common sense are your best protection. As popularity of RCMA's grow insurers will likely offer affordable coverage.

  2. I am currently getting a quote from my local insurance agent for general liability for my business, including use of a RCMA for photography and video. Will update when I have more information, hopefully will have the quote in the next couple days.

    Josh Mais

    Kansas City Spaces
    http://kansascityspaces.com

  3. It will be interesting to see how this plays out; the additional aerial view picture to sell the house and land, versus, the item expenses, training time, insurance, maintenance etc. With luxury properties and realtors, it is probably worth it.

  4. I'm really wondering how much damage a RCMA could cause. I agree with Hans, common sense safe practices are your best insurance. And the fact that in real estate, one isn't usually flying around people also minimizes the risk. I'm really not trying to be flippant, but what kind of damage could a small RCMA really cause?

  5. Safe practices are best, agree with all comments above.

    The physical damage caused by a small a/c such as a DJI Phantom will be relative to the situation. If I crash my DJI full speed into a home the damage would likely be minor (to the home.) If I crashed into a person, or into the windshield of a car moving at highway speeds the results could be life threatening.

  6. Lee, I agree. A Phantom at full throttle may have a difficult time breaking a window. An Octocopter carrying a 5d could do some serious damage.

  7. @Lee Jinks - An operator managed to kill himself with one. He cut his neck open and bled to death. I didn't see a video of the accident, but I often see flyers bringing their craft close to themselves. Power lines can be a problem. The larger RCMA's are made from carbon fiber, which is conductive. Even if you didn't get across 2 of the upper lines but just got hung up on one, the electric company could charge thousands of dollars to get it down. If there is damage to the lines, who knows what it would cost to shut down the power and run some new cable.

    IIRC, it was a Phantom with a GoPro attached that somebody was inexpertly flying around the tall buildings in Manhattan from an apartment. There is video on YouTube of the pilot banging into skyscrapers a bunch of times before it finally fell out of the sky. Fortunately, it didn't land on somebody, but it was said to have impacted a couple of feet from a person that collected it up and sold the onboard footage to the local news channel. I'd have to count floors on the buildings, but I wouldn't be too far off if I made a guess that it fell from 35 to 40 floors up. Plenty of altitude for it to reach terminal velocity.

    Hans is right about flying safely and getting lots of practice. I still have no doubts that there will be many that will do neither.

  8. Be careful assuming your insurance company will cover you in a liability claim. Once they find out that the commercial use is "technically" against the law, they are going to deny the claim. A good personal injury lawyer is also going to rip you a new one in court for your activity. Until this mess is finally resolved,
    use your drone commercially at your own risk.

  9. I received a quote for general liability and some professional liability insurance, which do allow the use of a RCMA, for around $750 a year. There are a lot of different options that can increase the price, and this was the cheapest option my insurance agent could find.

    Josh Mais

    Kansas City Spaces
    http://kansascityspaces.com

  10. @Josh - I think Ted Washington above has a good point. One should probably have a discussion with someone from the insurance company to make sure they understand what kind of RCMA activity you are talking about and make sure they don't have any problem with the fact the FAA thinks commercial RCMA operation is illegal... insurance companies don't like the word illegal, even though the illegality has technically not been settled.

  11. @ Larry - In order to get the quote, I had to describe exactly how I would use the RCMA, describe the size and weight, and give the cost. I did not mention the FAA ordeal though...

    It was my understanding that the FAA no longer holds that stance? Is that incorrect?

    Josh Mais

    Kansas City Spaces
    http://kansascityspaces.com

  12. Josh, Well the, the FAA is still appealing the decision made by the judge on the Pirker Vs FAA case. The FAA seems to be the only one that believes it's illegal... everyone else on the planet doesn't believe it's illegal. As long as the case is in appeal the issue is not officially settled.

  13. I can say that insurance is completely necessary. Flying in proximity to homes, vehicles, power lines and people is risky. My quadcopter insurance cost me $595/year and includes $500,000 of coverage. This technology is still fairly new and it still has glitches sometimes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

magnifiercrossmenucross-circle