Drones can help farmers spot problems in their fields, spread seed or fertilizer, and apply pesticides or other treatments. With the increased use of drones in agriculture comes an increased need for insurance coverage specifically tailored for this use.
Before you use a drone on your farm, you should understand the basics of drone aerial application insurance. This will help you decide which coverage you need to protect the drone itself and the potential damage caused by using it.
Who Should Have Drone Insurance?
The FAA does not currently require insurance to cover drones. There are still rules to follow, however, including:
Pilots must be at least 16 years old
Operators must pass a knowledge test
You must register your drone
You must receive clearance from the Transportation Security Administration
You must fly below 400 feet
You can only operate during the day
You can not fly your equipment over property or people that aren’t involved in your reason for operating the drone
However, following all the rules doesn’t mean you won’t have an accident. Drone insurance may not be mandatory, but you should consider the potential costs of an accident. You put yourself at personal financial risk if you don’t purchase insurance to protect yourself if your drone damages a person or property.
Typical Drone Insurance
You should have two types of insurance for your drone that cover it when you use it for any purpose on your farm. Liability insurance and hull insurance are essential for drone operators to carry.
Drone liability insurance covers damage to other people’s property caused by your drone. It also covers injuries to others. Whether you are using your drone for recreational or commercial purposes, liability coverage is critical to protecting you against lawsuits that could devastate you financially.
You can choose how much liability insurance to carry on your drone, but as a rule of thumb, you should get as much insurance as you can afford. Even if you are highly skilled at flying your drone, you can’t foresee mechanical or other problems that could cause your drone to crash.
Because of these types of unforeseen events, you should have liability coverage for the worst-case scenario. It may seem like there is a small chance that your drone will hit another person or damage an expensive vehicle. Still, the low cost of insurance protects you against personal financial liability.
Hull insurance covers damage to the drone itself. You can also cover equipment attached to the drone, and you should be sure to talk to your insurance agent to ensure you have all the coverage you need.
Your hull insurance will cover either fixing or replacing your drone. As with liability insurance, even the most skilled drone operators should have hull coverage. Accidents happen, and if you don’t have insurance, you will not only have to pay for the damage yourself but be without a drone until you can fix or replace it. This can hurt your business if you need to keep the drone up in the air instead of waiting to save for another.
Other Drone Insurance
As mentioned above, you can also choose to cover equipment on your drone when you purchase drone insurance. This can include insurance to cover equipment in the air with your drone or equipment you use with your drone on the ground. Make sure you tell your insurance agent about all of your equipment and include payload and equipment coverage that best protects you.
You can also ask your broker if your current home or farm insurance policies cover using your drone for aerial applications. Even if it does, it may make sense to have separate insurance just for your drone and its equipment.
If you are using your drone a lot or have a costly setup, frequent claims against your other insurance policies could cause them to go up. It could also be very expensive if those insurance policies have high deductibles or low payout limits.
You can increase your efficiency using drones, for example, by identifying areas that are difficult to get to with traditional equipment or because of bad conditions. You can then also use drones for applications in these areas.
When you use your drone to apply pesticides or other chemicals, you need more than the typical drone insurance coverage. You need added coverage for the potential damage caused by aerial application.
This coverage helps cover your liability regarding using your drone for agricultural purposes. It protects you if whatever you apply with your drone drifts over to someone else’s property. Based on your needs, you should look into coverage in three areas:
Seeds and fertilizer only, but excluding chemicals. This is also known as XC coverage.
Limited or restricted chemical coverage that includes most chemicals except herbicides. This is called RC/LC coverage.
Comprehensive chemical coverage includes everything but the herbicide Picloram. This is also called CC coverage.
Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about which specific aerial application insurance best suits your needs. You may need to cover everything if you operate your drone on your property. If you are hired by someone else for aerial application by your drone on their property, an experienced insurance agent can tell you what is covered by the property owner’s insurance and what you have to cover yourself.
Common Terms In Drone Aerial Application Insurance
Your drone aerial application insurance policy may include several terms not mentioned above. They relate to additional coverage you may need for your drone when engaging in aerial applications. Understanding these terms can help you ask the right questions of your insurance agent when you craft your policy for optimal coverage.
ADJ – Adjacent fields coverage protects you if the chemicals you spray drift over to crops that weren’t intended for application
CBT – Crops being treated are the crops that you intend to spray. This coverage protects you if you accidentally apply the wrong chemical or if you don’t apply it properly to the intended crops.
Fire Fighting – This liability coverage protects you when you use your drone for emergency purposes during wildfires
Picloram – This chemical is typically excluded from drone aerial application insurance policies. You will need specific coverage if you plan to apply this herbicide.
Right of Ways – This coverage protects you when your aerial applications could impact railroads, waterways, or other common-use areas
Tree Farms – You will need to ask your insurance agent how to best cover a tree farm. Some companies do not cover them, so you need to use an experienced broker who can ensure you get the coverage you need.
Choosing the specific coverage and limits you need to operate a drone for agricultural application purposes is no time to be shy. Ask your broker about any terms you don’t fully understand or about any gaps you may have in your coverage. If your broker can’t answer your questions, find a more experienced broker.
Using a drone over a farm means you need protection beyond what is carried in typical drone insurance. To get the coverage you need, you need an experienced broker who can ensure that your policy covers your drone and potential damage caused by using it for aerial application.
At BWI Aviation Insurance, we have more than four decades of experience helping find aviation insurance solutions for our clients at the best rates possible. We can help you ensure that your expensive drone and equipment are covered in addition to any liability claims
Request a drone aerial application insurance quote today by emailing email@example.com or visiting our website here https://bwifly.com/drone-aerial-application-insurance/