Buying drone insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost if you’re just a hobbyist. But even though drones are relatively safe when flown with care and caution, there is still a certain level of risk associated with operating a drone. there are quite a few things that could go wrong, including property damage or even personal injury.
A good drone insurance policy is a great way to protect yourself from the cost of these eventualities. And if you’re a professional drone pilot, drone insurance should be the first thing you buy, after your drone of course. but how much will it cost?
Reading: How much is drone insurance
For a single flight, you can purchase drone insurance per day for around $30-$40 per day. If you need $1,000,000 in liability coverage for just one month, plan on paying $60 to $100 for a 30-day policy. the same coverage for an annual policy will cost around $500-$750 per year.
Of course, there are a lot of variables that will affect the price you pay and your situation will determine whether you need to buy insurance by the day, month or year. Let’s take a look at what exactly drone insurance is, why you might need it, and some of the variables that affect how much it costs.
» Looking for what to charge for your drone services? Scroll down to see commonly used rates.
There are two main basic types of drone insurance coverage. The most commonly purchased type, and perhaps the most important, is liability coverage. Also important, though perhaps less so, is drone hull coverage, also commonly known as physical damage coverage.
two main basic types of drone insurance coverage: liability coverage and physical damage coverage.
civil liability insurance
In a litigious society, it is important to protect yourself from lawsuits in the unfortunate event of a transaction that results in damage to property or people. Third party liability insurance will cover damage caused to third parties as a result of drone-related incidents. Policies will generally cover bodily injury and property damage. The most common level of protection drone operators purchase is a $1,000,000 liability limit, although policies can also start with a $500,000 limit, or can go as high as $10,000,000 or even $25,000,000.
drone hull insurance
Hull or physical damage insurance provides coverage for damage to the drone itself. this could be damage resulting from a crash or landslide, or even water loss. the exact coverage details will depend on your policy, so be sure to read the fine print. For lower-priced drones, it may not be worth the cost of paying for insurance, but if you’re flying expensive equipment, having insurance coverage could save you a ton in the long run if you were to crash.
The precise details of what types of damage or liability are covered will depend on the company you buy the insurance from. For example, droneinsurance.com includes both personal and advertising liability in its basic coverage, while other companies may offer advertising liability as an optional add-on. Be sure to read the fine print on exactly what is and isn’t covered by your policy, and talk to your insurance company if you have any questions.
Drone insurance is quite unique in the insurance industry in that it offers an episodic coverage option. That means you can buy insurance coverage for the times you fly, and you don’t have to pay for it the rest of the time. this type of episodic coverage is available through several different providers in different coverage configurations.
Hourly: skywatch.ai advertises hourly drone liability insurance starting at $5 per hour.
daily: droneinsurance.com, thimble and other policies offer coverage per day, although the droneinsurance.com offer requires a basic monthly fee.
monthly: skywatch.ai, thimble, droneinsurance.com and others offer monthly coverage options. monthly coverage is a great option for seasonal businesses.
Annual: All major drone insurance providers offer annual coverage packages. the annual price is almost guaranteed to give you the lowest rates if you need insurance most of the time.
This is the scenario: you are a professional real estate photographer, with a dji phantom 4 pro. You need $1,000,000 in liability insurance coverage for your drone business. a little price comparison could give you results like these:
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drone insurance sample prices (liability coverage only)
Let’s take the scenario above (phantom 4 pro, $1,000,000 liability limit), but suppose you also want hull coverage for your drone. this is what you could expect to pay.
Drone insurance sample prices (civil liability + physical damage coverage)
*thimble does not offer physical damage coverage. you would have to buy this in addition to these prices from another supplier, such as dji care refresh.
There is almost no standard cost for drone insurance. each situation will have unique factors that will influence the cost of your insurance policy. But that doesn’t mean the cost of your policy is a shot in the dark. Knowing how variables affect cost can help you plan ahead and find the best price for your situation.
Having proof of completion of pilot training courses can help lower the cost of your insurance policy with some providers. skywatch.ai offers a 15% discount for courses taken through certain establishments.
Just like with car insurance, having a secure flight record can lower the cost you pay for drone insurance. skywatch.ai offers a 30% discount for pilots with the highest safety score on flight logs recorded through the skywatch app.
If you get hull insurance, the covered value of your gear will determine the price you pay for insurance. You can expect to pay much more for a policy that covers your $10,000 drone and $5,000 camera than you would for a policy that covers a $3,000 drone.
flight and maintenance logs
Keeping good records of each and every flight, maintenance event, and battery cycle can go a long way toward getting a better rate on your drone insurance. insurers want to see that you are a responsible drone pilot and that you keep your equipment in good working order. after all, good habits around nuts and bolts usually translate to better safety awareness overall. It’s also a good idea to use a flight program that automatically records your flight details.
The type of industry you work in will affect your policy rates. For example, if you are working as an industrial drone inspector, he will have higher rates than a real estate photographer. this is due to the nature of the workplace and the relatively higher level of risk. Doing inspections at a power plant or oil rig carries a much higher chance of accidents, potential property or asset damage, and bodily injury than flying over houses.
The level of risk associated with your job is closely related to the industry in which you work. those who work in higher risk types of environments will need to pay more for their drone insurance coverage.
High-risk drone jobs may include:
- power line inspections
- oil and gas inspections
- accident investigations
- cell tower inspections
- inspections of business assets
- golf course management
- surveillance and perimeter security
- additional insured – the option to add co-pilots to the policy, or specific places or clients.
- indoor: the level of risk is usually higher with indoor flight. not covered by most standard policies.
- advertising liability: This means protection against claims of stolen ideas, invasion of privacy, libel, slander, and copyright infringement
- Cyber Liability – Provides protection in case hackers gain control of your computer.
- payload insurance: If you fly with non-integrated sensors, they will often need additional coverage.
Low risk drone jobs include:
The primary location of your business will also affect the price you pay for drone insurance. For example, a quick price comparison between policy quotes for Pennsylvania and California yields a higher price for drone insurance in Pennsylvania, all other things being equal. therefore, the state you’re in can affect your price, as can the type of location you’re flying in, whether it’s rural or suburban, proximity to restricted airspace, etc.
a fair cost for your coverage will take into account your training
Unless you’re a recreational traveler, you probably won’t be able to purchase a drone insurance policy without sharing a fair amount of specific detail about the nature of your drone business. An underwriter from the insurance company will review the variables in your case and determine a fair cost for your coverage that will take into account your background, industry, location, etc.
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For most drone enthusiasts, drone liability insurance is probably considered an optional luxury. If you fly in sparsely populated, undeveloped areas, the risk of damage to the property or people is quite low. If you fly on your own property, chances are good that some types of risks are even covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
When it comes to hull damage insurance, it’s probably not worth paying the premiums for a drone that costs less than $800-$1000. Less than that, it’s probably more cost effective to just replace the drone yourself in case it crashes or gets lost. If you have a DJI drone, a good option is DJI Care Refresh, which will provide you with a replacement drone (of the same or equivalent model) in the event of loss or damage. the dji care upgrade (or upgrade +) price depends on your drone model. For reference, you can get coverage on a Mavic 2 Pro starting at $159 per year.
for anyone running a drone business, drone liability insurance should be considered mandatory. in most states in the united states it is not required by law, but many types of Projects, clients, and job sites will ask for proof of insurance before hiring you.
Even if your specific line of work typically doesn’t have clients asking for your insurance credentials, it’s a simple and fairly inexpensive way to protect yourself from what-if scenarios. After all, $700 as an annual business expense is really insignificant when it comes to protecting your livelihood (or even significant additional income). If you have a commercial drone pilot license and are actively flying as a business, get drone liability insurance.
Physical damage coverage for professional drone pilots is probably a good idea, especially since most professionals will have equipment worth $1,000 or more. Once you’ve made the investment to get some good quality gear for a living, you’ll want to rest easy knowing you won’t have to search somewhere for the money again if you crash. Make sure your equipment policy covers the drone itself and also any other accompanying payloads such as cameras, lights, thermal sensors, etc.
A few simple approaches can help you keep your insurance costs as low as possible.
Choose the length of coverage that’s right for you. If you fly very infrequently, hourly or daily rates will likely give you the lowest price overall. If you fly seasonally, pay only for the months you fly. But for most companies, annual rates will give you the best long-term cost.
get approved pilot training. Completing an approved pilot training course can earn you up to 15% off your premium rates with skywatch.ai. Other insurance providers may also offer discounts for logged flight hours and proof of flight experience.
establish a safe flight record. Your years of safe flight are the best indicator of your actual level of risk. a clean record can earn you a discount on the price of your policy. skywatch.ai also offers a security rating system. When you book flights through your app, you can earn a safety rating that can earn you up to 30% off the cost of your insurance.
bear the small costs of damage yourself. Filing a claim for every little nick or scrape will increase your premiums, not to mention the deductible you’ll have to spread each time. if it’s a small cost, it’s probably best to pay out of pocket overall.
negotiate. Prices are not as fixed as you think. Negotiating with your broker might get you a better price, especially if you are a larger company with a large drone fleet. you may be able to get a volume discount.
drone insurance policies are not that standardized. what exactly is included in the coverage may vary from provider to provider. some offer certain coverages as part of the base package and others will offer them as add-ons.
some plugins you may come across include:
Don’t forget that other aspects of your business may need insurance coverage that is not specifically related to drone insurance. all ground equipment, business property, and business liability coverages may need to be purchased separately.
answers to your questions about part 107 how much does drone training cost? how to become a professional drone pilot?
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