Specialist Drone Insurance – What You Need to Know
In this blog, we’re exploring the do’s and don’ts of Drone Insurance, and making sure your cover is fit to fly.
There are two key areas to consider when it comes to your drone insurance:
#1 – Which Category Of Drone Operator Are You Classed As?
Commercial pilots operate drones for direct or indirect financial reward, and are fully licensed and registered with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).
Commercial drone operations often feature in film productions, as well as mapping, security, and conservation operations.
Recreational pilots operate drones purely for recreational purposes, for no financial gain, and are not required by law to be licensed or registered.
#2 – Are You Compliant With The Relevant Applicable Regulations?
Commercial pilots will have obtained a Remote Pilots Licence (RPL) consisting of a medical examination, theory and practical exams and a radio telephony licence.
Recreational pilots must adhere to the regulations set out by the SACAA.
According to the CAA, acceptable private use of drones must comply with the following conditions:
- The drone may only be used for an individual’s personal and private purposes where there is no commercial outcome, interest or gain
- The pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities.
For any other uses, drones must be registered and may only be operated by a licenced commercial pilot.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Drone Use
Here’s a look at some of the CAA’s do’s and don’ts for safe flying of drones, or “Remotely Piloted Aircraft”:
- Do not, through act or omission, endanger the safety of another aircraft or person therein or any person or property through negligent flying/operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft.
- Do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft 50 m or closer from:
- Any person or group of persons (sports fields, schools, social events, etc.)
- Any property without permission from the property owner.
- Unless approved by the SACAA, DO NOT fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft or toy aircraft:
- Near manned aircraft
- 10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad, airfield)
- Weighing more than 7 kg
- In controlled, restricted or prohibited airspace
- Do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft higher than 150 ft from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACAA.
Drone Insurance Basics
Drones can cost up to hundreds of thousands of rands. Statistics show that recreational drone use leads to a significantly higher percentage of damage claims than commercial operations.
Accidents can – and do – happen, thanks to unforeseen events like miscalculating your drone’s battery life or encountering high winds while your drone is in flight.
If you’re the owner of a shiny new drone, how do you make sure it is adequately protected?
As a recreational drone owner, you should be able to insure your drone under your regular home contents or portable possessions cover. However, protection is normally excluded while your drone is in use – in other words damage to the drone whilst in flight, as well as liability for injury or damages to third parties.
As a trained, licensed, and registered owner, you will be eligible for specialised cover available for commercial operators. This can include cover while in use, liability insurance and cover for the drone and its attachments, as well as cover against the hacking of a drone and loss of data.
Specialist Drone Insurance
Insurance policies for registered commercial drone pilots may include cover for:
- Loss, damage and liability related to the drone itself
- Aviation liability
- The hull (without cameras, gimbals and sensors)
- The payload/equipment (optional and not automatically covered)
- Theft, transit and cybercrime (hacking of the drone and loss of data)
As with any specialist insurance, it’s always best to talk to your broker so you can be absolutely certain your drone insurance is fit to fly.
Contact a member of the Genesis Insurance team for a personalised quote today.