Popular Christmas gift that found its way under the tree this year were drones (or properly categorized as unman aerial systems - UAS). They are sold about everywhere, and some are relatively inexpensive. These remote control aircraft that hover like helicopters, and have cameras that are either on the device or a small camera can be mounted, are incredibly simple to operate. Plus, if you our your child have any experience with video games, it will be almost second nature to operate.
But with these new devices has become new exposures that homeowners and business owners are seeing new claims brought against them. Bodily Injury, Property Damage and Personal Injury (invasion of privacy as example) are the main issues. If you get into some of the more expensive models, there are concerns about insuring for actual physical damage coverage, too.
Homeowners coverage will most likely treat the UAS not differently than any remote control aircraft, plane or toy car as long as (this is key) you do not receive ANY compensation for operating the device. Homeowners contracts are very clear - there is absolutely NO coverage for business exposures. Business is not defined as primary, or hobby. Did you make a profit or not. It simply says that you received compensation.....period.
So, as long as you don't get paid, the homeowners will normally protect you for Bodily Injury and Property Damage. It will likely NOT provide coverage for Personal Injury, physical damage to the UAS if you crash it.
Businesses and farmers are using UAS more and more as a part of their services to their customers and to help run their business. Even claims adjusters are looking at using UAS for inspecting roofs and other losses that it is unsafe for a person to inspect. There is no coverage under a business liability policy for use of drones.
Bottom line, don't give an insurance company the opportunity to deny a claim. Check with us to see what your options are and if you need to look at special liability for your new UAS.
Our new website allows for us to have a "blog" on the most common questions we get - we hope you find the posts helpful.