Top Insured Drone Models and Other Trends from SkyWatch
BY Liz Gibson25 October 2023
SkyWatch is one of the first companies ever to offer insurance specifically tailored for the needs of drone pilots.
They started their journey in 2018, just two years after the FAA established rules for commercial drone operations under Part 107. Since then, SkyWatch has gained tens of thousands of drone industry customers.
We’ve got an exclusive look at SkyWatch’s data on how drone pilots use their services. This data reveals trends in drone insurance usage over time and the most popular drone models insured.
Keep in mind, most people buying drone insurance are likely commercial drone pilots. So, the trends we see here might not apply to those who fly drones just for fun. Still, they give us a good idea of what’s happening in the industry.
Let’s jump into the data.
Drone Manufacturers’ U.S. Market Share in 2023
DJI continues to reign supreme in 2023, capturing a whopping 76% of the U.S. market, a noticeable 5.5-point increase from last year’s 70.5%. The “Other” category, which includes a variety of manufacturers with less than 1% of the market, makes up 18.4% of the pie. Lastly, AUTEL and SKYDIO trail at 4.6% and 1%, respectively.
🔍 SkyWatch.ai Insight: DJI’s incremental gain in market share showcases their relentless innovation and adaptability. This is a strong message to competitors: It’s going to take more than just a new feature to topple the giant.
Drone Insurance Trends
While we keep seeing a wide demand for monthly plans, the industry is witnessing a continuous move towards annual insurance plans over shorter-term options. While in 2019 only 3% of all policies were annual, in 2022 it got to 15%. This extremely strong growth shows the robust appetite for extended coverage by consumers.
Another impressive trend is the amount of people who choose to get hull coverage. Starting from a meager 5% in 2018, it catapulted to over 30% in 2022. Initial observations of 2023 reinforce the fact that it appears this trend is not slowing down anytime soon.
🔍 SkyWatch.ai Insight: The consistency in growth toward annual plans and hull coverage is a testament to a maturing drone industry. As operators gain more experience, they are becoming increasingly aware of the risks involved and the importance of comprehensive insurance solutions.
Most Popular Drone Models in 2023
The MAVIC series still dominates drone pilots’ preference with a 41% market share, albeit slightly down from last year’s 46%. The “Other” category stands at 27%. Air, Mini, PHANTOM, INSPIRE, and EVO fill the rest of the chart with their respective shares.
🔍 SkyWatch.ai Insight: The slight dip in MAVIC’s popularity might be an indicator of a more diverse market craving for specialized capabilities. However, MAVIC’s versatility and many different model versions (like the new Mavic 3 Pro) make it a hard-to-beat all-rounder.
Emerging Trends: What’s on the Horizon?
We’re noticing an increase in the usage of drones for specialized tasks such as agriculture and inspections. Additionally, there’s a growing interest in waterproof drone technologies, which could further diversify the insurance landscape.
🔍 SkyWatch.ai Insight: As the industry matures, the insurance needs are bound to become more complex. Now is the time to pay close attention to emerging technologies and their associated risks.