Did you get a drone this past holiday season? Federal regulators now require recreational drone operators to register their aircraft for a small fee (visit https://registermyuas.faa.gov/ for more information). This allows authorities to trace a drone back to an owner, which means it’s vital to be in compliance with laws and regulations and have the appropriate insurance coverage.

 

Insurance for Private Use

Insuring your drone isn’t difficult. Using a drone as a hobby is generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy (subject to a deductible), which typically covers radio-controlled model aircraft. This also applies to a renter’s insurance policy.

Confirm whether your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover your drone if it is lost, stolen or damaged, by reviewing the content section of your policy or by speaking to your agent. If you have an auto policy with comprehensive coverage, it may cover damage to your car if your drone collides with it.

A larger concern is the liability for an accident caused by your drone. If your drone crashes into someone else’s vehicle or a person, the accident is your responsibility.

If you have a homeowners or renter’s policy, generally the policy will cover liability for an accident caused by your drone. Check with your agent or insurer to verify your policy contains this important coverage.

Privacy is a concern when it comes to drone use. Drones are often equipped with onboard cameras and other data-collection capabilities. Drone owners will want to remain mindful of privacy concerns.

Insurers are developing policies to cover these liability exposures, so keep in touch with your insurer to make sure your use remains covered.

Drone Safety

Hobbyists have been flying model aircraft for decades. However, advances in technology allow drones to hover quietly and fly far from their pilot. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, by 2020 there will be 30,000 small unmanned drones used for business purposes. This does not include ones used by hobbyists.

With some drones weighing up to 55 pounds, a fall from the sky can cause significant damage to property or bystanders. The FAA has issued these guidelines for drone hobbyists:

– Don’t fly higher than 400 feet and stay clear of surrounding obstacles.
– Keep the aircraft in sight at all times.
– Stay away from manned aircraft operations.
– Don’t fly within five miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying.
– Avoid flying near people or stadiums.
– Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds.
– Use caution when flying your unmanned aircraft. For questions about homeowners’, renters’ or other property and liability insurance, call the Maine Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty division at 800-300-5000 or at 207-624-8475 or email insurance.pfr@maine.gov.

Information released by Maine.gov on 01/20/2017 01:08 PM EST

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