So, do I really need it?

Drone Insurance

Even though insurance is not legally required at this point (in Canada) to use aerial drone services, responsible drone operators should know the benefits of being covered and the risks of flying your RPAS with no coverage before opting out.

DroneStripe Ltd. currently only provides UAV  information specific to Canada. We are currently collecting international UAV information which will be added to the site in future updates.

Currently, in Canada, you can operate a drone recreationally or commercially, and you are not legally obligated to have insurance. Keep in mind, however, that some contracts will require proof of insurance due to different company standards and policies, so it is vital to keep yourself informed.

Generally, RPAS insurance is broken down into two parts:

  • Third-Party Liability insurance – bodily injury or property damage to another party.
  • Hull insurance – Physical damage to the drone or other equipment.

Many times when drone operators are inquiring about insurance, they pay more attention to the loss they may incur to their own equipment and less concern about the thought of hurting someone or damaging someone else’s property. It is accurate that the number of claims made due to damage to the operator’s equipment is higher than third-party liability claims. However, it would be beneficial if you kept in mind that although not as frequent, third-party claims are the ones that can cause severe financial risk to the operator.

Some people may assume that their home insurance will automatically provide coverage on their drone(s); ensure you read your insurance contract’s fine print and details, as this may not be the case. It can be frustrating when a claim is made for something not covered under the policy, but the insured thought it was; you don’t want to be in this predicament. Many home insurance policies have exclusions that can exclude coverage for aviation-related risks. Drones are considered an aviation risk and may be excluded from your policy. If you’re not sure, call your insurance provider and inquire about the details of your contract. Never assume you’re covered because a mishap with your drone may leave you with large out-of-pocket costs after a denied claim from your insurance company.

The same assumption is also sometimes made about Commercial General Liability (CGL) or business insurance, and operators will assume that their RPAS will be covered. Unfortunately, aviation exclusion is often present in these insurance policies as well. Most of the time, a standard CGL is not the best option for insuring your drone and equipment. Some contracts will specify that a Conventional Commercial General liability policy or a CGL will also be required to cover non-drone exposure and equipment.

Ensure you are dealing with a knowledgeable broker or company with experience in the RPAS industry when looking for insurance on your equipment. As said earlier, your home, auto, and business insurance broker/company may not be the best option. A knowledgeable broker can make sure you are appropriately covered, often save you money, and usually provide options for coverage on other equipment used with your RPAS, such as photography equipment or other non-RPAS property. Thankfully, COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association)   announced that they are extending their membership to include drone operators as well. This extension is promising as it shows that RPAS operators are beginning to be recognized and accepted into General Aviation. COPA does offer an insurance package to its RPAS members. It’s too early to tell if they will be competitive with the markets such as Hub International, which currently dominates the marketplace and is an excellent option for insuring an RPAS. Hub International (Specifically, the Red Deere office) is a great resource if you have additional questions or want to start a policy. We also see some excellent pay-per-use options available through Skywatch, which leaves us hopeful that even better insurance options will continue to come available as the popularity of RPAS’s increases.
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