Whether you’re an owner, a renter, or a part-owner of an aircraft, aviation insurance is a part of flying. But it’s a necessary one, with a typical insurance policy covering an aircraft in the air, on the ground, or in a hangar.
Aviation insurance will pay for losses in a wide range of scenarios, including damage to the aircraft, vandalism, and accidents. A comprehensive insurance policy will protect the plane as well as passengers, as well as employees and stakeholders in an aviation business.
Although there’s no law in the United States, either at the federal or state level, requiring aircraft be insured, fixed base operators such as maintenance and fueling companies will commonly require insurance in order to service aircraft. In addition, an aircraft that is uninsured may be denied needed landing permits. Planes that fly internationally also need to carry liability insurance, which may be subject to varying requirements in different countries.
The premiums charged depend on the value of the aircraft and the risk rating determined by the insurance company. Several factors go into this calculation, but the owner can moderate the cost of insurance premiums by attending to these factors:
An insurance company may lower premiums for pilots that have additional ratings or certifications. In addition, insurance applicants who can show experience in different types of aircraft may be able to secure lower aviation insurance quotes. Instrument ratings are especially relevant and valuable for insurance underwriters, as they show a pilot has experience in safely operating the aircraft under a variety of adverse conditions.
2. Hangar Protection
To protect the aircraft from the elements, it’s essential to secure it in a protective hangar. Hangaring an aircraft can reduce maintenance costs and extend the aircraft’s useful life by reducing the wear and tear that occurs from exposure to strong winds, lightning, rain, snow, hail and other weather hazards. If you do store the aircraft in rented hangar space, verify that the hangar itself has adequate insurance both for accidents, fire, flood and liability.
3. Pilot Experience
For aviation insurance, it’s important to maximize the pilots’ flying experience and strive to boost total flight hours. A rule of thumb in the industry is that more time spent in the air is an important factor in safe operation of an aircraft.
To provide a quote and an in-force policy, aviation insurance companies may require a minimum number of hours of flying experience in the aircraft. They will also scrutinize the flying experience of all pilots authorized to use the aircraft. It’s important that a logged record of flight hours is kept in a secure location, as insurers may consider hours flown but not logged as invalid.
Pilots should continually update their training in the aircraft, and consider going through basic flight instruction even though they’re already certified and have experience flying that aircraft. If time has passed since significant hours were spent in the cockpit, another smart move is to take a refresher course in that plane with a certified flight instructor.
Although a private pilot’s license does not have to be renewed, the FAA requires a biennial pilot review course to be completed every two years. An insurance company considering an application for insurance may want to verify that this course in updated aircraft and airport operations has been completed timely.
Avoiding claims is a good way to keep aviation insurance affordable. A series of past claims will, of course, signal to the insurance company that the risk of future claims is higher than it otherwise would be.
Avoiding accidents and claims is largely a matter of doing routine but essential maintenance, and staying focused on safety on the ground and safe operation in the air. An important factor in the safety quotient is to avoid flying while under some physical adversity such as illness, impairment or fatigue.
6. Maintain currency
An insurance applicant should be able to show frequent flights and continuous work on flying skills and training. For example, completion of a pilot proficiency course may earn a 5 or 10 percent discount on insurance premiums. Membership in organizations such as EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) may also earn a discounted rate.
7. Total number of passenger seats
The capacity of an aircraft is an important factor in the cost of its insurance premium. Owners who are considering changing the number of passenger seats in their aircraft fleet would be wise to review their insurance policy for a lower premium.
8. Regular Policy Reviews
To keep the cost of insurance down, set some time aside to regularly review your policies and their coverages. Since the policy went into effect, there may have been a change in the use of the aircraft, or a change in its value, which means coverage should be adjusted.
A common scenario in insurance claims is a policy owner discovering that a claim won’t completely cover the cost of repairs or replacements. Also it’s a good idea to review the liability coverage to determine if it should be increased.
Contact your insurance broker to discuss the policy and any needed extensions, as well as exclusions that might limit your use of the aircraft. Also verify that all pilots using the plane are covered by the policy.
There are other factors that go into the amount of insurance needed, and the premiums charged, for your aircraft.
- Geographic location. With higher local costs, or more hazardous conditions, certain locations may mean higher aviation insurance premiums. Also, a change in locations served by your aircraft can affect your rates.
- The insurance company. Some will offer competitive rates for your particular aircraft, while others may be charging higher rates simply because aircraft insurance is a sideline, or they don’t normally serve your area or cover your kind of aircraft. It’s smart to thoroughly vet the insurance companies you’re dealing with and verify their history of claims and policy service.
- Discounted insurance arrangements. These may be available to members of flying clubs, who share the cost of insurance among all members.
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.