With the rise in popularity of drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – for personal and commercial reasons, having appropriate insurance is becoming increasingly necessary.
The question of whether you need insurance for your drone is focused on two main areas: accidental damage/theft cover, and public liability cover.
In this guide we’ll explain everything you need to know about drone insurance and why you might need it.
What is a drone?
First of all, let’s define exactly what is meant by the word ‘drone’.
There are lots of different drones on the market, from small remote-controlled toys to much more advanced and sophisticated camera drones.
The use of drones originated in the military, where they are called UAVS (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems).
Now also used in a civilian context, these devices are now more commonly referred to as drones – and are used for leisure as well as business activities.
From a technological perspective, a drone is any form of unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft – and so is essentially a flying robot.
In the UK drones are mostly associated with photography, as they are used to take aerial photos that offer a unique perspective. There are obvious commercial benefits of using drones to view areas that are impossible to access on foot – and they are also used increasingly by hobbyists and enthusiasts as a leisure activity.
Home insurance and drones
For many drone users – particularly those who use drone for a hobby and for personal reasons – the big question is whether your drone is covered by your home insurance.
Many modern gadgets such as tablets, phones and laptops are often included in a home contents insurance policy (up to a certain limit), so does the same apply for drones?
The answer is: maybe.
Insurance companies are still trying to figure out exactly what to do about drones, and whether they should be covered for accidental damage or theft as part of the contents in a home insurance policy.
Therefore if you have a drone at home and have spent enough money on it to worry about it being damaged or stolen, then it is crucial that you check with your home insurer to make sure it would be covered. If it’s not, then you could be left with the expense of replacing it yourself if something should happen to it.
Read our guide for more: Are drones covered by home insurance?
Home insurance could provide you with some accidental damage insurance for your drone, but if you have quite an expensive drone you may find the contents limit on your home insurance policy is not sufficient to replace it. Therefore, whether your drone is included on your home insurance or not, you may want to look into arranging some form of cover to protect against damage or the loss of your drone.
There are more and more specialist drone insurance companies coming onto the market, so the trick to finding the best deal is to search around and compare quotes.
Personal and hobby drone insurance
Lots of people now use drones in their leisure time as a hobby, whether it’s to simply enjoy flying a drone or a model aircraft, or to use a camera drone to make videos or take photographs.
If you use your drone in public, though, it is perhaps more important to look into some form of public liability insurance.
This would be to protect you financially if your drone causes damage to a third party property, or a personal injury to a third party. If you are held liable for causing a third party injury or property damage, you could be the subject of a claim for compensation. Without the appropriate public liability insurance in place this could put a huge strain on your finances.
Luckily, there are plenty of options for you to arrange insurance for your drone. A good place to start for leisure flyers is the BMFA (British Model Flying Association), where all members automatically get insurance with includes civil liability cover up to £25 million per claim.
Find out more about becoming a member: https://bmfa.org/
Commercial drone insurance
For those that use a drone for commercial purposes, arranging drone insurance is even more important. Your drone is your livelihood, so you will want to protect it against any and all eventualities.
As a commercial drone pilot you are required to have some form of insurance to be compliant with EU regulation EC 785/2004 – which covers the “Insurance Requirements for Air Carriers and Air Operators” and defines the minimum level of insurance cover required for all air carriers and air operators. Visit the CAA website for more information.
There are now specialist drone insurance companies offering a choice of polices for commercial drone pilots, with policies ranging from around £600 to £1,200 per year – depending on your business activities and what level of cover you opt for.
You can choose ‘Drone Only’ insurance, which provides cover for accidental damage, theft or disappearance of your drone. If you are only concerned about your liability to others, then there are ‘Liability Only’ drone insurance policies, providing cover for any third party damage or injury caused by your drone.
You can also choose to combine these policy options into ‘Drone and Liability’ policies – which can also come with significant discounts of up to 20% off.
Specialist drone insurance companies also offer a range of different policy extras to provide commercial drone owners with added cover and peace of mind. These policy extras can include:
Noise cover – protection against any third party claims made against you in respect of noise when flying a drone in a public space.
Trespassers cost – this offers protection for any damage to crops or property you may cause when attempting to recover your drone after a crash.
Worldwide cover – many drone insurers extend their cover so you can operate your drone overseas (although you should always check which countries are included in this).