Drone Insurance Guide: UAV, UAS, & Quadcopter Liability Coverage

how to get drone insurance

Guide Last Updated: February 2017

Getting drone insurance is a smart move if business is being conducted.

If you’re making money with your UAV, or you plan to in the future, insuring it could save you a lot of money down the line if an accident happens.

And let’s face it, UAV technology isn’t perfect. Fly-aways beware!

Getting drone insurance may also help you close clients (who may not want to work with you unless you’re insured). If anything, you’ve got peace of mind knowing that you’re covered in the unlikely event of an accident.

Insuring your drone is a relatively new concept.

Over the last several months, I’ve been getting a lot questions about how to get insured, what’s covered, how much it costs, and the options available.

First of all, do you even need drone insurance?

If you want to be insured, your homeowner’s insurance likely does NOT cover use of your drone, even if you’re just operating recreationally in your own backyard.

Some companies will only insure you if plan to pilot your drone commercially as a professional pilot.

In the U.S., UAV insurance is not currently required for either recreational or commercial RC drone use. In Canada, though, if you’re operating commercially you must be covered for at least $100,000 liability.

In some instances, you might need a minimum level of insurance coverage to take on a project, whether it’s needing to secure a city film permit, or working with a larger company that requires insurance for each of its vendors.

At the end of the day, all serious UAV pilots have liability insurance. It’s a strong, credible indicator for your business prospects. Insurance shows that you’re professional and reputable.

For those who plan to fly commercially, this guide covers:

  1. What is drone insurance?
  2. Accident and liability coverage
  3. How much does UAS insurance cost?
  4. How to get insured
  5. Companies that will insure your UAV
  6. How to file a drone insurance claim

Let’s get started!

Note: Live in the U.S. and need to get certified? Check out our drone certification guide to learn more about what’s required. We also have a Drone Pilot Ground School training course to help you prepare for your written test.

What is Drone Insurance?

Drone insurance acts like any other insurance policy. If you lose your drone or get into an accident, the company will cover your damage and liability costs to a certain extent.

Drone Pilot Ground School

Insurance companies want pilots to have operating manuals, maintenance logs, and a record of parts or add-ons they’ve purchased. These items, along with proof of training or of planning to get trained, indicate that you’re a safe flyer or want to become one.

This lowers the amount of risk you pose to your drone, other people, inanimate objects, and to the insurance company’s costs. The safer and more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be to obtain insurance and get a desirable rate (similar to car insurance).

Here’s a list of potential uses (operations) a company could insure you for:

  • Law Enforcement and SWAT
  • Emergency Response (FEMA)
  • Fire and Rescue
  • Traffic Patrol and Accident Assistance
  • Homeland Security
  • Corrections Facility Security
  • Agriculture and Conservation
  • Construction
  • Facilities Protection: Electrical, Nuclear, and Water Sites
  • Maritime and Shipping
  • Pipeline/Hydro-Transmission Line Inspection
  • Railroad and Highway Maintenance
  • Archaeology and Geology Exploration
  • National Parks and Recreation
  • Movies and Videography
  • News Gathering
  • Real Estate

Source: Unmanned Risk Management

What Types of Accidents Are Covered?

Here is a list of potential accidents covered under commercial drone liability insurance:

  • Loss or damage to the UAV and associated equipment
  • Coverage for aircraft operators, including other non-pilot, on-ground crew
  • Manufacturer Product Liability
  • Third Party Legal Liability
  • Premises Liability
  • Aviation and Premises Medical Payments
  • Fire Legal Liability
  • Independent Contractors Liability
  • Personal Injury
  • Advertising Liability
  • Contractual Liability
  • Fellow Employee Coverage
  • War, Hi-Jacking and Terrorism
  • Damage to Premises You Rent
  • Your Property & Office/Studio Contents

Sources:

How Much Does Drone Insurance Cost?

Drone insurance policies are usually broken up into two parts:

  1. Liability (damage and claims to third parties)
  2. Hull damage (damage related to your UAV)

A commercial insurance policy for a DJI Phantom 4 or Yuneec Typhoon H covering liability up to $1 million can run as little as $600-$800 a year (depending on volume, experience, and background).

Or if you use a company like Verifly, an on-demand drone insurance company, you can get $1 million in liability for as little as $10/hour.

Please note that these are general numbers from our research. You will need a unique quote from an insurance company to know exactly how much you will be covered and what it will cost.

In early 2017, I got an email from Alex Sheard over at SkyVuzeTech with some updated pricing, and he gave me permission to post the email below. Another data point for you:

New 2017 average “ballpark” pricing:

Need coverage to get your operation going…
______

Berkley Aviation offers per unit policies.

$1,000,000 UAV Liability Limits – $750/yr.

$2,000,000 UAV Liability Limits – $1050/yr.

$3,000,000 UAV Liability Limits – $1450/yr.

$5,000,000 UAV Liability Limits – $2,050/yr.

Unfortunately, Berkley Aviation does not offer physical damage coverage at this time. They are shooting for mid-March and we can always add it when it becomes available.
_____

For larger operations with multiple UAV’s in their fleet, one of our carriers has a policy that offers both UAV liability & physical damage coverage.

THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL COST FOR MULTIPLE UNITS AS LONG AS YOU ARE ONLY OPERATING ONE AT ANY GIVEN TIME!

Banded Pricing Models to give indications based on 1 aircraft in flight.

Silver: Up to $3,000 physical damage; $1M Liability
Premium INCLUDING taxes and fees $1,025/yr.

__

Gold: Up to $3,000 physical damage; $2M Liability

Premium INCLUDING taxes and fees $1,450/yr.

__

Platinum: Up to $10,000 physical damage; $2M Liability .

Premium INCLUDING taxes and fees $1,950/yr.

__

Policy financing option available for 20-25% down with 9 monthly installments.

If it’s been a while, take a moment to fill out an updated application and we will make sure you have the PROPER coverage for the industries lowest rates.

Each company structures their policies a little differently. Some include hull insurance, others do not. Do your due diligence and chat with a number of companies before moving forward.

Here are a few things that your insurance broker may consider when putting together your application for the underwriter:

    • Have you logged at least 50-100 hours of flight time?
    • Do you keep a maintenance log?
    • Are you an FAA-licensed drone pilot?
    • Do you own vs. lease your equipment?
    • What do your website / marketing materials look like?
    • Are you able to automatically record your flight log and data?
    • Are you flying over water, or operating indoors?

Also, have you completed some kind of UAV pilot training? (Not required to have gone through any kind of program or degree; they’re looking for experience and being able to demonstrate operational competency.)

How to Get Insured

To get insured, you will first need to obtain quotes from multiple companies and decide which one you want to go with.

To get a quote, go to an insurance company’s website, find the “get a quote” form, and fill it out.

Here’s some info you’ll need to have handy:

  1. Information about you, including your address and contact info.
  2. The type of coverage you need (liability vs. hull
  3. The cost of each part of your rig, including equipment
  4. Specific information about the UAV(s) you have
  5. Where you’re planning to operate
  6. How many hours you’ve flown
  7. How much training you’ve received
  8. If you have any previous history of accidents or loss
  9. 333 exemption grant or other country-equivalent certification paperwork

Check out this form from Aviation Insurance to see what information a company might ask you for in the consultation stage.

Alternatively, you can download Verifly’s app and get a quote from them for on-demand coverage.

Once you’ve obtained multiple quotes, you can compare prices and coverage. This will help you decide which company is offering you the best deal.

They’ll guide you through the rest of the procedure.

Can you lose your insurance?

Yep, here’s a few reasons why you might get dropped from your provider. Every provider has its own exclusions, and it’s important to understand what they are.

Here are a few we’ve heard about:

  • Not logging your flights and being able to prove what happened during an accident with flight log data.
  • Not registering your serial number and putting proper identification numbers on your drone.
  • Not logging all battery cycles and maintenance changes (even propeller changes).

  • Not practicing ethical flight, and uploading dumb videos to YouTube that proves it!

Drone Insurance Companies and Carriers

The below companies all offer drone, UAV, UAS, and quadcopter insurance coverage.

One thing I’d like to point out, is that very often I get asked, “But I already have insurance with my AMA membership. I don’t need anything more than that, right?

Well, in this 2015 insurance summary, it’s clearly stated that your $2.5 million liability policy:

…does NOT cover business pursuits; that is any activity that generates income for a member beyond reimbursement of expenses, except this business pursuit exclusion does not apply to individual members providing modeling instructions for pay to AMA members.

So, if you plan to fly commercially, your AMA insurance won’t cut it.

In alphabetical order, here’s a list of drone insurance brokers that can help you find the best sUAS insurance policy for you and your company. This list is particular to the United States, and some of the companies listed are very specific to the drone industry, while others offer more diverse business products to their clients.

List of Drone Insurance Brokers

List of Drone Insurance Underwriters

The team over at ArcadiaSky maintains a separate list of insurance providers outside of the U.S., particularly drone insurance in Australia and in the U.K.

And finally, a quick word about what an “insurance broker” actually is, written by the team at Kinney Pike Insurance:

Brokers have access to a broad range of coverage for their clients.  By working with a drone insurance brokers, you’ll often find insurance professionals dedicated to securing the right product for your specific needs.  Brokers value their relationships with their clients, and often have multiple resources and extensive expertise to address the unique insurance market and, risks and coverage you face. Brokers work closely with insurance companies/underwriters and carefully choose and secure the best coverage at a competitive price for their clients.

How to File a Drone Insurance Claim

You might not need to file a claim right now, but it’s good to know what might be required if you do end up filing one.

Here’s a general outline from Unmanned Risk Management:

  1. Read over your insurance policy for specific duties to accomplish. This will tell you what your insurance company does and doesn’t want you to do.
  2. Notify the insurance company as soon as possible. Note the time, place, description of the occurrence, names and contact information for any injured people and witnesses.
  3. Notify the proper authorities. Contact the police for theft or vandalism claims.
  4. Do not make any statements (oral or written) without the insurance company’s permission.
  5. Do not abandon your aircraft or insured property; take all reasonable precautions to protect your property immediately after the incident.
  6. Cooperate with the insurance company and their representative(s).
  7. Allow the insurance company to inspect the damaged property prior to repair or disposal.
  8. File proof of loss with the insurance company within a set amount of time.

To Wrap It Up

Hopefully this guide has given you everything you need to understand drone insurance and begin the process.

Remember, you might be covered by your homeowner’s insurance if you’re only flying recreationally, but make sure to confirm this before continuing to fly.

If you’re a commercial pilot, getting insured is highly recommended to protect you and your business.

Here’s an interview we did with the CEO of Verifly, Jay Bregman:

Questions? Feel free to email support@uavcoach.com.

Happy to help where we can.

  36 comments for “Drone Insurance Guide: UAV, UAS, & Quadcopter Liability Coverage

  1. September 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for this very helpful info. It’s just the kind of thing we need to get into the commercial side of aerial photography. Just started with my we’d site so it’s still under construction. I have several things to complete as I start my own UAV business and what you have provided is right on the money .
    Thank You.

    • Alan Perlman
      September 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Welcome, James. Thanks for the comment.

      • September 20, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Here is a sunset video I shot with my Walkera 350 Pro using an iLook camera while on vacation at the beach. https://youtu.be/gewZxuChcM4
        Not a professional looking video but it’s a start.
        Keep the great articles and news updates coming.
        Thanks,
        James

      • March 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        Alan, State Farm insurance, the largest home and auto carrier in the US,now offers policies to cover physical damage to drones. No policies yet for commercial use, yet.

        Thx
        Tom mcdonald

        • March 31, 2016 at 2:17 pm

          Thanks for the heads up, Tom.

  2. Albert Drew
    October 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    About insurance, would the insurance that I currently have as a AMA member meet those FAA requirements ?

    Thanks,
    Albert Drew

    • Alan Perlman
      October 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Nope! AMA insurance doesn’t cover you for commercial activity.

  3. Sanjay
    October 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    This is a well put together resource – thanks! How about some options for accidental damage protection (not liability) for Quadcopters that don’t require 333 exemption?

    • Alan Perlman
      November 4, 2015 at 11:36 pm

      Sanjay, great question. That didn’t come up in my research, but I imagine some of the above companies would be interested in providing that kind of coverage.

      • March 4, 2016 at 10:14 am

        Nearly-Aerial.com has an excellent policy for crashed UAV’s

        Jim Watt

  4. December 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Allan,

    As respects Sanjay’s question above, no insurance companies provide physical damage coverage without liability coverage. You can purchase liability-only but not vice versa. There may be some aftermarket extended warranty or service contracts out there but none would be admitted in states and consumers should do their research and make certain that they are getting what they are paying for.

    As the President of Unmanned Risk Management UnmannedRisk.com and Transport Risk Management http://www.Transportrisk.com , I would like to thank you for listing us.

    Your site is well laid out and is a great resource for the industry. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if we can assist with any questions that you do not have the answer to or as a resource to you and your visitors.

    Terry Miller

    • December 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks, Terry. Added you guys to our list above.

  5. Chris Davis
    February 20, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Alan, thanks for this information about UAS insurance. I was curious if companies are giving insurance for people, such as myself, do not have any drone flight time yet. I attended a seminar this week and found out that my private pilot rating will allow me to work commercially as a UAS operator. The company that put on the seminar is hiring subcontractors and require UAS insurance coverage with a million in liability coverage. They also are teaching a two day commercial operators course. Would it better to attend the course before getting the insurance so I can show that I have UAS flight experience?

    • February 20, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Chris, yes it’s possible to get liability insurance without experience, but you’ll be paying a much higher premium, because your risk profile is much higher than someone with experience. I’d call up some of the providers on this list to hear from them first-hand, but generally going through a training program and being able to show logged sUAS flight hours is a huge plus 🙂

  6. Nate powell
    February 24, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Thinking of getting into the commercial end of it probably real estate. Have not developed a solid business plan, yet have been doing this for friends at no charge for months. I want a basic, decent policy. I’m doing farms, and a few properties with houses. Any ideas of insurance that’s not a lil high. Thanks in advance

    • February 28, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Nate, thanks for your comment. Liability insurance will run you $1000-$1500/year. Feel free to contact any of the companies on this list for a specific quote.

  7. February 26, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Alan,

    Thanks for including SkySmith in your list. I have been providing aviation insurance since 1985 and a I have been a modeler since i was a kid. The drone phenomenon has refreshed my enthusiasm for models and even got my son involved as a drone pilot. We had Enrico Schaefer file our 333 exemption, just waiting for our approval. Drone Law Pro is a great company to work with.

    Your site is a great resource and I refer UAV Coach all the time. As far as insurance, there are a lot of options, but one thing that helps in drone insurance is experience and of course, training (just like full scale aircraft insurance).

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Don
    March 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Can I get Commercial Drone Insurance in Australia? If so; who with?

  9. Norman G
    April 1, 2016 at 7:56 am

    How about this, i own a 3dr solo that is under 4,4 lbs and is registered by the FAA with the own N number, i still have o apply for the section 333? Or is enough just to have an liabity ensure to take areopics and video? For business, and what about the sport license it would help in this case just to be legal and dot not have any trouble w the law??

    • April 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Norman, you’d still need to have the Section 333 Exemption to operate commercially. Liability insurance is recommended but not required at the moment. More information here: http://uavcoach.com/drone-certification

  10. Steve
    April 1, 2016 at 10:33 am

    How likely is it that a business’s insurance provider would accept covering drones with zero inquiry? For example, to just make a blanket statement that they cover the drones the business has bought, yet haven’t asked a single question about them; know nothing about them?

    • April 3, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      Hull insurance or liability?

  11. alan bracha
    April 1, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    do i need insurance as i fly my phantom 3 advanced as a hobby where there are no cars or peopel about i am a compotment pilot and i have never had any problems flying my drone , kind regards alan

    • April 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Alan, it’s not required and really up to you. I don’t know many recreational pilots who have a liability insurance policy for their hobby, but if you start to operate commercially, it’s a must. Safe flying!

  12. Michael
    April 3, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    HI Alan,

    I plan on flying my drone at about 20 upcoming weddings this year. My business is based in NJ where all the weddings will be taking place. Just checking to see what I should expect the annual premium will be for a 1 million dollar liability policy.

    Thank you!

    • April 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Michael, should be somewhere around $1000/year. I’d reach out to the companies mentioned in this page for direct quotes.

  13. Walter
    April 5, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    My business is located in Costa Rica, where there are no legal system regarding commerical drone usage. They allow it simply by default of not having banned it.
    Therefore, no companies are insuring drones directly. Would it be possible to get insured by a US company for my drone business or is there a different way to get coverage by a traditional firm in Costa Rica? Any thoughts would really help

    • April 7, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Hi Walter, my best answer for you is to reach out to each of these listed companies and ask 🙂

      Best of luck!

  14. April 11, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Excellent article Alan, not sure where you find the time! 🙂

    • April 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Thanks, Brian. We’ve been busy 🙂

  15. Karl
    April 13, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Alan…I just completed a course paper that included a portion which covered insurance for UAVs. The article you have here is very good and helpful. It was informative and provided a lot of information for those serious about flying UAVs. Thanks again,

  16. Mike
    May 10, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I am in Canada, I am a Realtor with a Phantom 3, so far just hobby, but if I provide some aerial shots for a client as an added service at no extra charge, I assume this still falls under “Commercial useage” ?

    • May 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Mike…yes, that’s still considered commercial usage.

  17. Troy
    June 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    If a $1,000,000 liability policy costs roughly $1000-$1500/yr how much can I expect to pay per year for a $2,000,000 liability policy? Thanks!

    • June 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Will try to reach out to some of our partner insurance agencies for a better answer. Best to connect directly with them in the meantime.

Comments are closed.