Do you use drones for your profession or small business?

Formally called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or unmanned aircraft system (UAS), drones are commonplace in many industries for a variety of commercial purposes.

For example, small, lightweight drones are used by engineers to conduct land surveys, home inspectors to get a full view of a property’s roof and surrounding area, or by oil and gas production facilities to do safety inspections.

There are countless possibilities for using drones commercially, as they make aerial photography and videography affordable and easier to procure.

A survey crew launching a drone.

But with all the upsides drones provide for businesses, there are also downsides. Namely, managing the risk that UAVs pose, including privacy-related issues, third-party bodily injury and property damage claims, and protection for the devices if they are lost, damaged, vandalized, or stolen. To address these concerns, you need a drone liability insurance policy.

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What Does Drone Liability Insurance Provide?

A typical drone liability insurance policy includes two types of coverages:

Drone liability insurance

Liability insurance provides financial support to deal with third-party bodily injury and property damage claims or lawsuits. It is essential coverage since there’s always the possibility a drone you’re operating could crash and injure someone or damage their property.

Drone hull & equipment insurance

Any drone is an expensive piece of equipment that you should protect. A product warranty doesn’t provide the coverage you need if your drone is damaged, lost, vandalized, or stolen.

Noise liability coverage may be automatically included. There are optional coverages to consider adding to a drone policy customized for your specific needs, such as invasion of privacy and chemical liability coverages. Also, your business may require one or all of the following, which can be provided along with your drone policy:

  • Professional liability insurance: Also called errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, professional liability insurance helps if you’re facing an allegation of negligence or misconduct while offering your services that causes someone to suffer a financial loss or if a client claims you failed to deliver a service as promised to them.
  • Cyber liability insurance: Covers risks involving your technology systems and customer data if you suffer a cyber-attack or data breach.
  • Legal expense insurance: If you need to hire a lawyer for help with a contract dispute or debt recovery, and other common business issues, legal expense insurance is an affordable option versus paying for legal services by the hour.
  • Non-owned aircraft liability insurance: If you lease or rent a drone for business purposes (i.e., a drone that is not registered in your business name) or hire an independent operator with a drone to do work for you, and it causes injuries or property damage to a third party, this coverage helps deal with the costs for which you may be held liable.

Speak to one of our insurance experts if you have questions about drone liability insurance.

What Documents Do You Need to Get Drone Liability Insurance?

Transport Canada requires any business or commercial operator flying a drone weighing up to 25 kilograms to follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations

As part of those regulations, you must carry a valid drone pilot certificate to fly drones weighing 250 grams and 25 kilograms, and your drone must be marked and registered. 

You face the risk of fines and jail time if convicted of not adhering to these rules, and the penalties range between $5,000 (for flying without a drone certificate, flying unregistered drones, or flying in areas that are prohibited) and $15,000 (for putting aircraft or people at risk).

It is also illegal to fly a drone without liability insurance. To qualify for drone liability insurance, you must have a valid drone pilot’s certificate.

Who Needs Drone Liability Insurance?

There is a broad range of industries where drones are used for commercial purposes, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Drone leasing companies
  • Drone retailing and repairs
  • Entertainment
  • Home inspections
  • Land mapping and surveying
  • Logistics
  • Media and film production
  • Oil and gas
  • Photography and videography
  • Product delivery services
  • Real estate
  • Retail
  • Security
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Utilities

What’s the Fastest, Most Affordable Way to Get Drone Liability Insurance?

For self-employed and freelance professionals and small business owners, the quickest way to get the drone liability insurance policy you need is to get a free quote and explore your options through Zensurance.

Our online application is quick and easy to complete, and through our partner network of over 50 insurance providers, we can get the coverage and price that suits your needs and budget.

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About the Author: Justin Tisdale

Justin Tisdale is a Team Lead, Professional Lines, at Zensurance.