A few years ago, we only heard about drones in reference to the military and the role they were playing in Afghanistan. Now, it seems like there’s at least one at every major beach, on kids’ Christmas lists, and on sale at Walmart. Even Amazon is working on a drone-delivery system for its packages.
But it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. And drones can cause very real injuries. So, what do you do if your drone injures someone, or you’re hurt by someone else’s toy? Will insurance cover those drone injuries, or will you be paying out of pocket?
Some Renters or Homeowners Insurance Covers Drones
While some insurance policies will cover the drone itself, you’re probably more worried about your liability for the injuries the drone could cause. After all, those blades move pretty fast, and the drone itself can reach impressive speeds. The first place to look is your renters or homeowners insurance policy.
Some of these policies will cover the recreational drone itself, medical expenses if someone outside your household is injured, and legal expenses if you’re sued for drone injuries or property damage. However, keep in mind that your policy’s plan limits would still apply.
Regardless, you should check with your insurance provider about drone coverage. Some policies have an aviation exclusion, while others make an exception for model aircraft. Whether your provider considers a drone a model aircraft is anybody’s guess, so you should ask your provider directly about drone injury insurance coverage. Make sure to get any clarifications in writing. It may become necessary to fight your insurance company regarding coverage.
Another option if you fly your drone for business purposes or want to have extra coverage, is to sign up for a policy meant specifically for drone usage. That way, there’s much less ambiguity about what your insurance will cover in case of an accident. Remember, though, that this insurance won’t protect you if you use your drone to intentionally hurt someone, spy on people, or conduct criminal activity.
Two newer options are club membership and on-demand drone insurance. For example, for less than $100 per year, membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics will provide you with specific drone insurance limits. Similarly, you could purchase an hour of coverage for a few dollars through the app Verifly, which allows you to purchase coverage each time you head out for some drone time.
Insurance coverage can be complicated, but it can also make the difference between paying the bills and going broke. If you were injured by a drone or your drone hurt someone else, speak with an attorney who can discuss possible damages as well as the strength of your case.