Piloting Drones for Your Business? Make Insurance Your Co-Pilot

Written by on 2015-02-19 11:07 AM in , , , , , . It has 0 Comments.

Unmanned air vehicles or UAVs have become very popular. While military UAVs have garnered the world’s attention, civilian UAVs, or drones, are now being used for a wide array of personal and commercial applications. Consider the following industries:

Delivery – Amazon is developing a method to use drones to deliver packages to customers.

News – Imagine local news stations using drones for traffic surveillance instead of helicopters.

Photography – Real estate agents could use drones to photograph properties for sale. Festivals could use drones with video cameras to get head counts. Park rangers could use drones to track, follow and study animals in provincial or federal parks or survey avalanche or catastrophic weather damage.

Agriculture – Farmers could use drones to monitor crop growth, track herds, and track irrigation demands.

Search and Rescue – Drones could be used to help locate missing persons in times of severe weather because they can survey dangerous locations easier than people on foot and cheaper than planes.

Hobbyists and Enthusiasts – Gather to fly their drones all over Canada.

As drones and UAV’s become more widespread there will quite likely be a lot more varied uses for them in the commercial and business world. However, if you’re considering using UAV’s for your business there are many things you need to consider.

Transport Canada Regulations

Transport Canada has specific rules and regulations regarding flying unmanned aircraft. Transport Canada provides great Do’s and Don’ts lists to help you operate your drone safely. For example don’t fly higher than 90 metres and don’t fly within 9 km of an airport. Read here for further information. If you’re looking to use a drone, which weighs 25kgs or more, you will need to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate before you can use it. Drones which weigh between 2.1kg and 25kg might not require a Special Flight Operations Certificate if official exemptions are met. These exemptions include, but are not limited to, such things as age of operator, fly during daylight, keeping your aircraft/drone in direct line of sight and many others. Refer to the Transport Canada link above for more details.

One thing Transport Canada requires, regardless of the size of the drone, is adequate liability insurance. Transport Canada advises a person or company must have at least $100,000 liability coverage. Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. recommends you purchase at least $1,000,000 of liability coverage specifically for your drone usage.

Since Transport Canada requires liability insurance for drone usage, flying without coverage could mean fines or penalties. Using a drone in an unsafe manner could result in local police being called in to determine if laws were broken, including privacy laws and the criminal code. We invite anyone who’s interested in drones to go to Transport Canada and learn more.


Commercial Insurance for Drone Usage

If your company is looking to use drones in the course of business you’ll need to consider what insurance you want. Insurance could be required for the drone itself (drones can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars), the commercial operation for which the drone will be used, and for any operators. The Commercial General Liability policy will not have any coverage for commercial use of unmanned aircraft. Instead, specific coverage under an Aviation Insurance policy will be required. Commercial Insurance Experts at Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. have experience providing coverage for commercial drone usage.

Personal Insurance for Drone Usage

All personal property insurance policies, such as homeowners, condos or tenants, have specific exclusions for aircraft. At this point Insurance companies classify all model aircraft and drones, regardless of weight, as aircraft and thus liability coverage is specifically excluded.

What this means is someone who owns a drone aircraft will be flying it at their own risk, unless they use their drone for business then they can get commercial aviation insurance for the drone. For personal use drone insurance look to the hobby organizations to see where they get their insurance.

If you are interested in commercial drone insurance or UAV insurance, visit here.

Have something you wish to say about this issue? Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.


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