You spent a lot of money to get yourself up in the air, and you pay for insurance to keep you up there. To protect yourself, read the fine print in your aviation insurance policy before you sign on the dotted line, and make sure you understand your responsibilities.
Think through under what circumstances and how often you will use your aircraft. Consider all the situations you can think of where you would need an insurance payout, and don’t put yourself at further risk by not holding up your end of the bargain when it comes to your coverage.
Scenarios That Show Your Potential Risk
We all hope that the worst won’t happen, but the point of having aviation insurance is to protect you if it does. In order for your policy to help you, you have to meet its terms or risk having the insurance company deny your claim.
Scenario 1: Liability
A Cessna 414 twin-engine aircraft crashed, killing the pilot and two passengers. The insurance company denied coveragefor the crash because the owner of the plane could not show that the pilot had the number of flight hours listed as necessary in the policy. The pilot likely did have enough hours, as he was a commercial pilot and flight instructor with multiple ratings.
Unfortunately, only one of the pilot’s logbooks was found after the crash, and it only showed 236 hours. The courts ruled in favor of the insurance company and upheld their claim denial.
Scenario 2: Damage
In another case, an owner was flying with another pilot when they had to make an emergency landing. The other pilot gave the controls to the owner, and the aircraft was destroyed during the landing. In some cases, it is okay to deviate from regulations during an emergency, but in this case, the owner that landed the plane did not have a current medical certificate. The insurance company refused to pay and the courts agreed.
In both of these scenarios, pilots put their own aviation insurance policies at risk because they did not follow proper procedures and regulations as listed in their coverage.
Common Mistakes That Put Your Aviation Insurance Policy At Risk
Pilot warranties are the part of your aviation insurance policy that lay out any hour, license and training requirements named pilots or other pilots must have to be covered under the insurance company while flying your aircraft. To help ensure that your insurance company will pay after an accident, avoid some common mistakes such as:
- Missing the dates for your medical reviews, biennial review, and aircraft maintenance
- Not reading your policy and asking questions if there is something you don’t understand
- Buying too much insurance so that you end up with a repaired aircraft when you would have preferred a total loss and a new plane
- Buying too little insurance so that your aircraft is totaled when you want to fix it, or you don’t get covered for upgrades that you didn’t add to your policy
- Using your plane for commercial or illegal purposes
You should also figure out exactly who will be flying your plane. If your CFI or other pilots don’t meet the minimum requirements listed in your insurance policy, you should make them fully named pilots in your coverage. This may cost you a little more if they have less experience than you, but it will be worth it if it leads to the insurance company paying a claim.
Ways To Avoid a Claims Denial
Aviation accidents are expensive. Even relatively minor damage to an aircraft can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Major damage or bodily injury claims that are denied by your insurance company could cause financial damage you can’t recover from. Take steps to protect yourself.
Understand Your Policy
Aviation insurance policies are not one size fits all. The forms are not standardized across insurance companies, and the coverage and responsibilities of the insured can vary widely. You have to understand what your policy requires of you in order to protect yourself against claims denials. Ask your broker lots of questions, and if they don’t have answers look for another broker.
Record All of Your Flight Time and Replace Any Lost Logbooks
You aren’t required to log all of your time piloting a plane, but as the scenario above showed, doing so can prove to your insurance company that you have met your responsibilities. To prove your flight time and experience, keep several documents up to date, including:
- Operator records
- Receipts for any aircraft rentals
- Copies of FAA forms with flight time sections
- Copies of your medical files that also contain flight times
Check the Laws For Your State Around Accident Causes and Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies deny claims because you somehow violated the conditions of your policy. But what if the violation that occurred wasn’t related to the damage to your plane? For example, what happens if your medical certificate expired the day before an accident that was caused by faulty landing gear? Whether you are covered depends on where you live.
In some states, the insurance company cannot deny your claim unless there was a causal connection between the accident and your breach of the insurance policy. In others, they can deny your claim if there was any breach of the contract. It doesn’t mean they will deny the claim, but they can.
Check the laws for your state to see what happens in these instances. It won’t change the way you fly, but it can serve as a good reminder to keep yourself on track with your responsibilities as listed in your aviation insurance policy
Learn More About Aviation Insurance Or Get a Quote
Insurance companies don’t always deny claims, in fact, it is often in their best interests to pay out. But if they do deny your claim, you could end up grounded and deeply in debt. Make sure you hold up your end of the bargain and don’t put your aviation policy at risk.
To help with that, choose an aviation insurance company with the experience necessary to answer all of your questions and help you build a policy that suits all of your needs. At BWI Aviation Insurance, we can help you find policies built around you and your aircraft. We offer exceptional customer service and are readily available to help you get the best quotes and coverage possible.
Why choose BWI Aviation Insurance?
Over our 42 year history, BWI has built longstanding relationships with all of the above Aviation Insurance Companies. We work hand in hand with the above companies and leverage our experience to find the best market for your particular airplane insurance risk.
To ensure that you are getting the absolute lowest rate and best coverage with a rock solid A+ rated Aviation Insurance company, get a quote with BWI today. We specialize only in Airplane Insurance and our office is open 12 hours a day. Our agents are friendly and knowledgeable, and most importantly they are agents that you can trust to get you the best coverage for your needs. Aviation Insurance is all that we do and have done for 42 years.
Call 800.666.4359 today for a free Airplane Insurance Quote or Click Here to submit a quote request online.
BWI is the Nation’s Leader in Aviation Insurance, with offices based in Corona, CA and Anchorage, AK