The drones are multiplying.
Though it sounds like the start of a potentially terrifying sci-fi film, it’s true. More and more people and businesses own drones; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts there will be at least two million registered units in the United States by the end of 2019.
And it’s no wonder why—drones are pretty fun. Weekend enthusiasts use them to explore beautiful but hard-to-reach outdoor spaces, take videos of events from an interesting angle, follow Fido on a run in an open space and more. There are also many practical business uses, like creating a dynamic promotional video, visually inspecting building exteriors, large equipment or farmland or taking real estate photos.
But drones can also cause liabilities. Sometimes they crash and destroy property or, worse yet, hurt people. And sometimes they can be used to invade another person’s privacy, either intentionally or unintentionally, leading to lawsuits.
In the insurance industry, a drone is often defined as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). (A broader term is an Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS, which also includes the communications unit used on the ground to control the device). A UAV can be anything from typical drone products that look like flying spiders to other products that are designed to look like very small planes.
Recreational UAVs are usually covered now in most renters or homeowners policies, at least to some extent. But how and when that coverage applies can be parsed different ways and is not always clear until a specific incident occurs. Also, some liability levels are not adequate unless there is also an umbrella policy in place.
This means that as an insurance agent, you may want to add a question during your client-onboarding process asking if they have or ever plan to get a UAV. If the answer is yes, you can then offer helpful information and provide guidance about how they can protect themselves.
One place you might start is by pointing them to the FAA, which has specific regulations for UAV users (i.e., did you know that drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds must be registered?):
– Find drone-related FAA rules here.
– The FAA also has a mobile app called B4UFLY that uses a drone operator’s smartphone location to pull up a map showing no-fly zones in the area.
Insurance-wise, it’s wise to check before you speak. UAV coverage is changing and expanding all the time. It’s important to be aware that there can be specific exemptions from coverage, such as if a drone owner offers to videotape a friend’s graduation party for $50. In that case, homeowners insurance will no longer cover any damages since there was a business transaction involved.
For this reason and more, you’ll want to check the current UAV rules and coverages with the carriers that you work with before offering any specific advice to your clients. Being conversant with this niche-y coverage area is one of the ways you can prove your value as their insurance agent.
Find more insurance clients with fresh leads from Hometown Quotes Call us at 800-820-2981 to start the process.