Helicopters are known for their versatility. Unlike airplanes, a helicopter can take off and land virtually anywhere — a rooftop, the airport, a yacht, the highway, and even backyards. Their adaptability enables them to perform various activities, including emergency medical evacuation, cargo shipping, sightseeing trips, crop spraying, and executive transport.
No one can doubt the usefulness that a helicopter provides. However, helicopters are expensive to insure. In addition, pilots who want to fly helicopters must undergo special training separate from traditional flight school.
Read on for more information in our helicopter insurance guide:
How To Obtain Helicopter Insurance
Getting helicopter insurance begins by identifying the type of helicopter you plan to purchase or pilot. Once identified, you should consult with an aviation insurance professional to develop a shopping strategy to obtain an aviation insurance policy.
You’ll need to provide the broker with specific information, such as how you plan to use the helicopter and your helicopter pilot training history. Sometimes, insurance providers will require you to undergo additional training before they provide you with a quote.
Following the issuance of a quote, you can choose to purchase the policy that meets your needs. You will need to pay a down payment for the plan to activate while waiting for your full policy. Usually, insurance providers require the entire cost of the annual premium unless they agree to finance the policy.
What Types of Coverage Does Helicopter Insurance Provide?
Insurance for helicopters typically includes two types of coverage: Liability and Hull Coverage.
Aircraft liability insurance provides protection for bodily injury or property damage as a result of the operation of the helicopter.
Many helicopter policies have liability coverage in place for up to $1,000,000, however depending on the use and other factors, liability limits may go up to $100,000,000. The liability coverage extends to passengers and property either included within the total liability limits, known as (smooth coverage) or sublimited per passenger, which is more common. For example, a typically policy that includes $100,000 total liability coverage, limited to $100,000 per passenger means that each passenger is entitled to up to $100,000 if they are hurt in a helicopter accident, depending on the severity of their injuries. After covering the passengers, the remaining coverage assists with compensation for damaged property or exterior bodily injury.
For example, suppose a helicopter crashes with four passengers on board. In that case, each passenger could potentially collect up to $100,000 towards medical bills and other compensation related to the effects of the accident. The remaining $600,000 covers any damage to property or bodily injury outside of the helicopter.
Liability coverage does not provide compensation for damage to the helicopter itself.
Individuals seeking liability coverage for a helicopter typically pay between $2,800 and $4,000 per year. Annual coverage amounts differ based on the pilot’s experience and qualifications, as well as their claim history, type of helicopter, typical use of the helicopter and other risk factors.
Hull insurance compensates for repairing or replacing the helicopter in case of an accident or damage due to vandalism or theft. Since helicopters are expensive, it’s wise to seek hull coverage if you own one.
Hull coverage is more expensive than liability coverage and in the event of an accident or incident, hull coverage is designed to make you hull again and get your helicopter replaced or repaired.
Sometimes, helicopters contain specialized cameras. Cameras with multi-tracking beams can run into millions of dollars, but with the appropriate amount of hull coverage and coverage for attached equipment, owners mitigate their out-of-pocket replacement cost.
When formulating the appropriate hull coverage, aviation insurance brokers consider the value of the helicopter itself and any specially attached equipment. Typically, hull coverage costs vary from 4% to 10% of the value of the aircraft.
For example, a helicopter with an estimated value of $500,000 may obtain an insurance policy with $500,000 in hull coverage. Hull coverage in aviation insurance is agreed value, so in the event of a total loss the insurance company will pay the full insured value, less any deductible
Why Is Helicopter Insurance So Important?
Studies have shown that helicopters are 40 times more likely to be involved in an accident than standard airplanes. Their complex equipment and special handling make them more susceptible to crashes and damage.
When a helicopter accident occurs, it often involves high speeds and collision with solid ground or buildings. Passengers have little protection other than a seatbelt since helicopters are lightweight. Often, passengers involved in a helicopter accident are susceptible to severe injuries, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and burns. Sometimes, individuals don’t survive the collision.
Outside of protecting passengers, there can be severe consequences to property impacted in a helicopter crash. Damage to buildings, roadways, vehicles and other property may occur in a helicopter accident. Having adequate liability coverage for your aircraft ensures financial protection from the repercussions of a severe accident.
What Are the Usual Causes of Helicopter Accidents?
The three primary causes of helicopter crashes include pilot error, lack of fuel, and equipment malfunction.
Helicopter pilots are required to undergo specialized training to protect against accidents. Obtaining a Private Pilot Certificate is enough for personal recreational purposes, but those who plan to transport passengers for compensation must obtain a Commercial Pilot Certificate. There are various other training courses available specific to certain types of helicopter activities.
Despite the training required to navigate a helicopter, pilots sometimes make errors. Since helicopters tend to fly lower to the ground, they can easily run into tall trees and buildings if the pilot makes a mistake.
Helicopters provide fuel sensors that allow pilots to determine how much time they have until a refuel is needed. However, sometimes errors are made, and the aircraft runs out of gas, resulting in a crash.
Finally, equipment malfunction is quite common. Helicopters don’t have the same safety features as passenger planes do. Most passenger planes have dual engines. If one fails, the other takes over, allowing for a safe landing. However, helicopter equipment malfunctioning while in the air is disastrous. Often, there is nothing the pilot can do to save the craft from a collision
Get the Helicopter Insurance You Need with BWI
BWI specializes in aviation insurance, and we can help you find an appropriate plan for your helicopter. Contact us today to speak with a broker and obtain a quote for helicopter insurance.
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