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Drones are steadily zipping into more and more aspects of our daily lives. From movie sets and coffee delivery to city parks and wedding videos, it’s almost hard to imagine a time when these incredible machines weren’t making life easier. Yet, the drone phenomenon is still relatively new and the laws and regulations surrounding aerial robotics are slow to catch up.
Currently, there are no federal drone insurance requirements. But that doesn’t mean you should fly without coverage.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for regulating drone flight. While first focused on tackling how drones affect the space above our heads, the FAA only started considering a drone’s role in education in 2014.
Drone popularity has skyrocketed since they first entered the commercial market. In response to the widespread public embrace, the FAA first started regulating public airspace in the summer of 2016 with the Part 107 Certification — essentially a Drone Driver’s License. For recreational pilots, the Part 107 certification cleared up a lot of grey areas and underlined the dos and don’ts of drone flight, but it left a lot of educators in the dark. As educators, they were allowed to fly as recreational users, but the laws were unclear on how those conditions extended into the educational space.
That all changed in October 2018 when Congress passed new legislation mandating the FAA address the growing list of UAV unknowns. As a result, the FAA refined its position on drones to reflect the needs and safety of everyone affected by drones. These changes came in many ways, but for educators, the primary update came from The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
This test for recreational fliers is a requirement for educators in educational drone programs who do not possess their Part 107 certification. (Click Here to learn about the differences between Part 107 and TRUST.) If the Part 107 is a Driver’s License, the TRUST endorsement is like special written permission to be behind the wheel.
Yet, even with all these new regulations, laws, and restrictions keeping drone pilots on their toes, the FAA does not currently require drone operators to carry personal or liability UAV insurance.
Drone regulations are constantly evolving. While the FAA puts the insurance responsibility on drone operators and organizations, the lack of a mandate may change someday.
Insuring a backyard drone seems impractical for recreational fliers, but drone insurance is a must-have for large organizations, teams and classes with many people involved. At the very least, programs should have some form of Educator Liability Insurance.
Of the several different kinds of drone insurance available, educator liability insurance coverage protects you, your organization and your students from accidents that may occur during instruction, preparation or organized events.
While nearly every school system has a liability policy to protect educators and instructors as they fulfill their regular teaching duties, never assume drone-related accidents are automatically covered. Drones are still finding their way into our world, and while some insurance companies are starting to integrate drone-related provisions, there’s only one way to know if your program is covered.
Contact the company your organization uses for general liability insurance. Tell them about your program and who’s involved, and they will give you the red or green light on whether it’s safe to lift off. If you’re not covered, you’ve got a few options.
There are two primary types of drone coverage:
If your current policy does not have drone-related provisions, look to companies specializing in aviation insurance.
BWI Fly and Avion Insurance are two incredible options we highly recommend. They offer a variety of coverages for unmanned aircraft. From liability insurance covering any accident to “hull” insurance protecting you from hardware repairs, replacements or time in the shop, these specialty insurers know the drone space inside and out, bringing a variety of plans to fit your program’s needs.
Through their app, users buy coverage on a flight-by-flight basis. Log in before an upcoming flight, give information about your flight plan, and select the duration of time to be covered. Perfect for those programs with skilled fliers or shortened time in the air where a more comprehensive policy wouldn’t make sense, these day-of plans are ideal for meeting specific coverage needs.
Since they first started integrating into our lives in 2014, drones have brought a vast world of possibilities to education, public spaces and everything in between — and they’re not looking to slow down anytime soon. As they continue to zip to their fullest potential, drones will continue to bring changes. As educators, it’s up to us to stay on top of every pivot. Whatever your unique situation, drone programs need to know if they currently have drone liability coverage, what their coverage requirements are and where they can get drone insurance if necessary.
Drones are powerful machines, and accidents happen. Stay ahead of any incidents, claims or issues by knowing your options before any instruction begins.
Put your new drone insurance knowledge to good use with these invigorating drone programs. Primed to bring thrilling UAV learning to students of all ages, are you ready to super-charge drone education?
Interested in the educational applications of drones? Learn more about incorporating UAVs into your learning environment at the links below:
From dancing mini-drones to the racing RubiQ, we have indoor and outdoor drone programs for many different learning environments. Take a look at the complete drone collection to get started!
Author: Thayne Casper
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