Coddington, Hicks & Danforth

What is episodic drone insurance?

To legally drive a car, you must be able to prove not only that you have a valid license but also that you possess adequate car insurance. Driving without insurance or with inadequate insurance leaves you open to all kinds of liability.

The same could be said for other motor vehicles. If you own a boat, motorcycle or ATV, for example, chances are you have insurance policies for them. They are expensive pieces of equipment, after all.

So where does that leave drones?

How episodic drone insurance works

You can buy insurance for virtually anything, and drones are no exception. Traditional policies, like homeowners' or renters' insurance, may cover drones as household items of value. However, most businesses and drone enthusiasts prefer “episodic” insurance policies.

Episodic insurance policies only apply when the drone is in flight. Using a smartphone app, consumers create a customized plan suited to their needs for a specific flight. Costs are calculated by assessing:

  • The task to be completed
  • The risks involved of completing it
  • The specific area the drone will operate in

Many episodic policies are based on an hourly rate, with additional options added on depending on flight needs.

Once you finish your task, and the drone is safely back on the ground, insurance coverage ceases until the next time you fly. You don’t pay for coverage while the drone isn’t in use, and you can modify your coverage each time you fly your drone.

Why use episodic insurance vs. a traditional policy?

The main advantage of episodic insurance is that it’s designed specifically for flying drones. With a traditional policy, you could run into the following issues:

  • Your policy limits don’t cover all of the damage done to or by the drone.
  • Your policy won’t cover incidents related to “commercial use,” which could mean anything from taking landscape photos to sell on your website to creating a promotional video for your kid’s soccer league, even if you aren’t paid for it.
  • Your insurance premiums may go up if you have to make an expensive claim (or claims) due to a drone accident.

Some flying clubs seek to mitigate the costs of drone insurance by purchasing a group plan for their members. This is fine, but the above issues may still apply, especially commercial use restrictions. Group plans are generally for hobby flyers, and may not cover anything related to your side hustle.

Most drone users understand the risks and rewards of flying drones. Episodic drone insurance can be just the solution to protect your investment (and your wallet) from potential liability.

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