Understanding Drone Insurance

Understanding Drone Insurance

Blog

Understanding Drone Insurance

with help from our friends at SkyWatch

As you begin building your business, drone insurance will become an important asset as it will protect you, your equipment, and your investment. Unlike other types of coverage, activating, and managing drone insurance is easier than ever.

Establishing yourself as a commercial drone pilot means being professional, detail and safety-oriented. After you’ve invested in your training and drone gear, and you will begin getting hired for jobs in which you will have to specifically prepare and plan for each mission. But (as many drone professionals know) no amount of time spent planning a mission can prepare you properly for a drone accident if you don’t have a liability policy to cover you or your customer’s loss. 

Luckily, today more than ever, drone insurance is simple, intuitive, and easy to manage. Before seamlessly activating your drone insurance policy, it is important to first understand the following basic key terms and concepts.

Here are all the important definitions that can help you understand what is included in your insurance policy:

*Please note: the following glossary is according to SkyWatch.AI Drone Insurance Policies.

Coverage Breakdown

Aviation Liability Insurance

A portion of the insurance policy which provides coverage against physical or property damage to a third party entity caused by drone operations.

Hull Insurance

An optional portion of the insurance policy which provides physical damage coverage to the drone in use. Includes drone loss, theft, flyaway, disappearance.

Aviation insurance provides the following types of liability coverages: 

  • Property Damage: Liability protection for physical damage to property caused by a pilot’s operations 
  • Bodily Injury: Liability protection against physical damage or trauma to an individual resulting from an accident by the drone pilot
  • Personal injury: Liability for an injury to an individual arising from libel, slander, invasion of privacy, etc. 

Liability limits range anywhere from $100,000 to $5,000,000. Canadian Drone regulations state that you must be certified for all drone operations, including recreational and commercial flights. When it comes to activating an insurance policy above $2M in liability, you will be asked to confirm that you have the required Pilot certificates for performing commercial RPAS operations. Secondly, while hull insurance is an optional coverage, it is only available for annual insurance policies and cannot be purchased short term, i.e by the hour or month. 

*Note that Aviation Liability insurance includes coverage specifically to your drone operations – which is not always covered by standard General Liability policies.

 

Certificates and Documentation

After purchasing drone insurance you want to make sure you are provided with two essential documents. First, you need a policy document which declares all the conditions, specific coverages, and exclusions. Secondly, a Certificate of Insurance (COI) will serve as proof of coverage for clients and local authorities. The COI is a flexible working tool that can be modified during the policy period to include your additional insured as well as the specific language required by certain clients.

Coverage Details 

Insurance jargon can be confusing. In order to simplify this, we’ve gathered some of the most frequently used terms in drone insurance policies to make sure you truly understand what it’s all about.

Additional Insured
An individual, business, co-pilot or entity that is added to the policy in order to be protected by the drone pilot’s insurance policy
Certificate of Insurance (COI)
A legal document providing important coverage details and serves as proof of coverage. This document is produced immediately after activating your policy.
Claim
An incident submitted by the drone pilot to the insurance company which needs to be covered for a loss.
Your Coverage Duration
The time period in which the policy is active. Hourly policies provide coverage for a given time of day at an hourly rate while monthly/annual policies provide longer coverage periods. While policies can be pre-booked for a future date it is important to make sure that the coverage duration is stated clearly on your policy and COI.
Your Title Deductible
A portion of the loss in which the drone pilot will be expected to pay in the event that a claim is filed.
Endorsement
Upon making changes to an active insurance policy, an endorsement is used as a legal extension to prove that the contract has been amended.  

For example, if you add hull coverage midway through your policy period, a new endorsement with the drone details will be produced and attached to the original policy.

Liability limit
The maximum limit for which an insurance policy will provide liability coverage.

The limit you select should be based on the requirements of your client, or the risk associated for your operation. The bigger the production, the bigger the risk. The most standard liability policy is the $1,000,000 limit; however, it is important that each pilot considers the risk of his/her operations and chooses the liability accordingly.

Name Insured
The person(s) to whom the policy is issued. 

The name insured can also be the name of your business. If the named insured is your company’s name, then any employee of that company will be included under the policy.

On-Demand Policy
A type of policy that can be activated at any time.
Premium
A total payment or a periodic portion of it which is used to keep the policy active over time.

For drone insurance policies, there are separate premiums. Every drone insurance policy will include a premium for the liability portion. Other coverages, such as optional hull insurance, will have an additional premium to be paid.

Waiver of Subrogation
A legal waiver that states the name insured has waived the rights of the insurance company to seek compensation for losses paid to the third party.

Often times clients will request that pilots provide this specific waiver when conducting operations on their behalf. This waiver will be required in order to get some operations approved.

Often times clients will request that pilots provide this specific waiver when conducting operations on their behalf. This waiver will be required in order to get some operations approved. 

More definitions can be found online at SkyWatch.AI’s drone insurance dictionary.

When working in a fast-paced environment such as the drone industry, the insurance demands and requirements are ever-changing. For this reason, drone insurance is designed to be flexible. As clients needs’ change, pilots can always modify and manage their insurance.

For more information visit https://www.skywatch.ai/ca/home

The SkyWatch.AI support team is happy to help you get your policy activated and answer any questions you may have at any time.

1-888-364-5033 

[email protected]

New RPA AIM

New RPA AIM

Blog

New TC AIM RPA Section 

Guidance for RPA Pilots

What is the AIM?

The AIM or Aeronautical Information Manual is a 500+ page online and print resource published by Transport Canada twice a year (March and October) to provide guidance and detailed information not available in the CARs. 

Excellent Reference Tool

While this document may not be something you want to sit down and read cover to cover, it’s an excellent reference tool when questions pop up regarding airspace, flying at night or SFOC requirements. Keep it bookmarked and definitely have open when you’re writing your certification exams!

Coastal’s Contribution

Coastal Drone is proud to have contributed to the content and editing of the new RPA AIM section! Collaboration with Transport Canada in this way helps ensure the industry gets the information it needs so we’re grateful for the ongoing opportunities to work closely with TC!

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

Dear Fellow Drone Pilots,

As Canada continues to escalate the response to COVID-19 in recent days, We are doing our very best to respect our front line workers, and to practice as much physical distancing as we can. From coast to coast, individuals, organizations, and all levels of government are working together to minimize impact on our communities. We stand united as we all do our part to protect our neighbours, friends and family.

We are open for business and available to answer any questions you have regarding our courses. Flight reviews are being conducted on a case-by-case basis at the Reviewers discretion by using a combination of online and in-person tools to ensure physical distancing requirements can be fully respected. Our memo to Flight Reviewers is available here with more details. 

Now is a great time to get your drone pilot certificate online from the comfort and safety of your own home.

On behalf of the entire team at Coastal Drone – Stay safe and fly safe.

Kate, Alec, Andrew, Adam and Leland

Coastal Drone Podcast Episode: Foreign Pilot Process Update

Coastal Drone Podcast Episode: Foreign Pilot Process Update

The Podcast

Coastal Drone Podcast Episode: Foreign Pilot Process Update

Flying A Drone In Canada if you are not a permanent resident, or Canadian Citizen.

The process to get certified to fly in Canada if you are not a Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident has changed.

There is a bit of a stir online as Transport Canada has recently announced that they have changed the process available for foreign pilots.

If you are a foreign operator, meaning you are not a Canadian Citizen, a permanent resident, or a corporation that is incorporated in Canada, and you want to fly in Canadian airspace you are going to want to listen to this episode.

Kate explains what you need to fly in Canada.

DJI Mavic Mini: Busting Rumours!

DJI Mavic Mini: Busting Rumours!

Blog

Busting Mavic Mini Myths

Are the rumours true? Read on to find out!

Is it actually 249g?

YES! Even with a micro SD card the Mavic Mini weighs in at 249g.

Can I fly it in controlled airspace?

Yes! But you have to be extremely vigilant!
You’ll find on the DJI Fly app that controlled airspace isn’t depicted. You will see restrictions near airport arrival paths and on airport property.

 

Can I use the DJI Go app to fly the Mavic Mini?

No, DJI Fly is the app is the app to use with the Mavic Mini. DJI Go and all of its fancy features are not compatible with the Mavic Mini.

Is it good enough to use for work?

Ish? In certain situations, yes. But all the camera setting are automatic so you lose the control that professionals often want over the camera functions. It’s a good piece of kit, but maybe not your whole kit.

Can I fly a Mavic Mini in the rain?

DJI doesn’t recommend it. It also says to avoid snow and winds stronger than 8 m/s.

Is the Mavic Mini connection reliable?

At close range, absolutely. But for those that are familiar with flying Mavic Pros, you’ll be pretty disappointed with the WiFi connection at any distance. It’s been a common complaint from users.

Have more rumours you want us to take a look at? Let us know below!

Canadian Airspace Classes

Canadian Airspace Classes

Blog: Airspace

Canadian Airspace Classes

They’re just letters! A, B, C, D, E, F and G.

But the Canadian airspace system causes most people to just scratch their heads at first. We’ve broken down the airspace classes and how they show up on various resources to help you make sense of what you’re seeing!

Class A and B

Class A airspace is generally defined as high level airspace starting at FL180 or approximately 18 000 ft in Southern Domestic Airspace, FL230 in Northern Domestic Airspace, and FL270 in Arctic Domestic Airspace. This type of airspace is not denoted on aeronautical charts. Given the high level nature of Class A airspace, it is rarely a concern for small RPA pilots. 

RPA pilots wishing to operate in Class A airspace require specific authorization from both Transport Canada and NAV CANADA. 

 

Class B airspace is generally defined as low level controlled airspace and exists between 12 500 ft and the floor of Class A airspace but it may include some control zones and control areas that are lower. The specific dimensions of Class B airspace in Canada can be found in the DAH.

RPA pilots wishing to operate in Class B airspace require specific authorization from both Transport Canada and the ANSP. 

Class C

Class C airspace is controlled airspace and generally exists around large airports and extends from the surface to an altitude of 3 000 ft AGL, but the exact size and shape of the space is dependent on local airspace management needs. Class C airspace is depicted on all VFR Navigation Charts (VNC) and VFR Terminal Area Charts (VTA) as well in the DAH and the National Research Council Canada Drone site selection tool.

Class C airspace is considered an advanced operating environment. Clearance is required before operating in Class C airspace. 

Class D

Class D airspace is controlled airspace and generally exists around medium-sized airports and extends from the surface to an altitude of 3 000 ft AGL, but the exact size and shape of the space is dependent on local airspace management needs. Class D airspace is depicted on all VNCs and VTAs as well in the DAH and the National Research Council Canada Drone site selection tool.

Class D airspace is considered an advanced operating environment. 

Class E

Class E airspace is controlled airspace for aircraft operating under IFR and can exist around an airport as a control zone or away from an airport where an operational need exists to control IFR aircraft. Class E control zones usually extend from the surface to an altitude of 3 000 ft AGL. It can also often exist from 2 200 AGL and up in a control area extension surrounding a control zone. When this type of airspace is not associated with an airport it usually begins at 700 ft AGL and extends to 12 500 ft ASL, but the exact size and shape of the space is dependent on local airspace management needs. Class E airspace is depicted on all VNCs and VTAs as well as in the DAH and the National Research Council Canada drone site selection tool.

Class E airspace is considered an advanced environment.

Class F

Class F Airspace is special use airspace and can be either restricted or advisory. Class F can be controlled airspace, uncontrolled airspace, or a combination of both, depending on the classification of the airspace surrounding it.

Class F Restricted Airspace
Class F restricted airspace is denoted as CYR followed by three numbers (e.g. CYR123). The letter D for danger area will be used if the restricted area is established over international waters. Class F restricted airspace is identified on all VNCs and VTAs as well as the National Research Council Canada drone site selection tool and is restricted to all airspace users except those approved by the user agency. CYRs can be found over federal prisons and some military training areas, for example.  To gain access to Class F Restricted airspace, RPA pilots should contact the user agency as listed for the specific block of airspace in the DAH.

Class F Advisory Airspace
Class F Advisory airspace is denoted as CYA followed by three numbers (e.g. CYA123). Class F advisory airspace is identified on all VNCs and (VTAs as well as the National Research Council Canada Drone site selection tool. CYA denotes airspace reserved for a specific application such as hang-gliding, flight training, or helicopter operations. RPA pilots are not restricted from operating in advisory airspace and no special permission is required, but pilots should be aware of the reason the airspace has the advisory and take steps to identify any additional risks and mitigate them. Many activities in a CYA often bring directly piloted (manned) aircraft into airspace below 400 ft AGL and are therefore a greater risk to RPA operations. 

Class G

Class G airspace exists in any space that is not Class A, B, C, D, E, or F. Class G airspace is uncontrolled and is considered the basic operating environment for RPAS, assuming the conditions regarding proximity to people, airports, and heliport are met. You don’t need to get permission from the ANSP to operate in class G.

Here are the resources we referenced for the airpace images!

FLTplan.com (VTAs and VNCs)

Drone Site Selection Tool

Canadian Airspace Viewer

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A final word of caution. If your resource charts look dark, like this:

rather than pastel like this:

you’re using a US-based chart. No bueno. Find a new resource.