Did you know that the global commercial drone market is estimated to be over $6 billion? The Canadian market is expected to grow by more than 17% by 2027.
Drones are transforming our world from the transportation sector to other personal and commercial uses. They can be used to monitor wildlife, survey pipelines, and even assist in search and rescue missions. Even insurance companies are using drones for inspections.
Drones are valuable and can be costly to maintain. If you have a drone, you’d be wise to consider insurance for it.
With the right drone insurance, you can protect your investment and your business. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about drone insurance in Canada.
Who Is Drone Insurance For?
Drone insurance is for anyone who uses drones for personal or commercial reasons. A drone is also known as an “Unmanned Air Vehicle”. It’s an aircraft without an onboard pilot.
The term “Unmanned Air Vehicle” or drone can be used to describe many different vehicles of all sizes, shapes, forms, and speeds. Some drones can look like mini-airplanes or mini-helicopters. Other drones can look mimic birds or other animals. They can fit in a backpack or be as large as a regular plane.
In 2021, Canada has 59,700 pilots with a basic certificate and 6,350 pilots with an advanced certificate for flying drones. Canada does not make a distinction between recreational or commercial operators of drones. Instead, they have rules around “Basic” or “Advanced”.
If you use any type of drone, then drone insurance is for you.
Full-Time Commercial Pilots
Many companies don’t want to train pilots in-house and use third-party pilots to fly their drones. There’s a growing demand for full-time or part-time drone pilots.
A commercial pilot can fly drones for collecting property data for insurance companies or Fortune 500 companies. They can fly drones for the government for specific missions including tactical resupply and surveillance. They can gather aerial data for clients.
As a commercial pilot, you will have to meet the requirements for “Advanced” drone operations. As an advanced pilot, you will be flying in controlled airspaces or over bystanders. You can fly within 30 meters of bystanders (measured horizontally).
If you’re a pilot that flies commercial drones, you have a greater risk of being in a situation where you lose control of the drone and crash into a third party or property. In this case, you’ll be liable for the damage.
You can also get sued for operating an aircraft incorrectly or negligently. The larger the drone, the higher the risk of damage or injury. You want to make sure you’re protected in these circumstances.
A recreational operator uses a drone for personal enjoyment. Recreational operators are considered “Basic”. Recreational operations is where you fly your drone in uncontrolled airspaces, fly more than 30 metres from bystanders, and fly it over bystanders.
If you meet any of these conditions, you’re subject to separate rules. As with commercial drones, a recreational operator has the same risk of loss of control and damage.
If you don’t have the right training and experience, there is a greater risk that you could lose control of the drone. If you haven’t done your research or just make a mistake, you can also be charged with operating illegally or negligently.
Many people occasionally operate drones for pleasure or certain projects whether it's movie production or wedding photography. As an occasional operator, your risk for damage or injury can be much higher.
Even if you’re not flying near bystanders, you can end up losing control and causing property damage. You can run into privacy claims if you end up flying onto your neighbour’s property. Drone insurance can help you rest assured that you are protected when you’re flying your drone.
What Does Drone Insurance Cover?
Drone insurance in Canada covers equipment, liability and theft. If you’re a recreational or occasional operator, you may think that your homeowner's insurance may cover the cost of the drone if it gets damaged or lost. However, most homeowner's policies do not cover aircraft-related liability. Let's learn more about the specifics of what a good drone coverage policy brings to the table.
This is also known as “hull” insurance. If you damage your drone or camera during normal use or accidentally, you would be covered under equipment insurance. The amount covered would be equal to the market prices of repairing your drone.
Depending on your coverage, you may even qualify for an outright replacement. You may however, be limited in the number of replacements you can claim in a year.
Drone liability insurance protects you from third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage. If you accidentally crash your drone into a car or onto a bystander, you will have to pay for their medical expenses and damages. With drone liability insurance, you will be protected in these circumstances.
If you’re renting out a drone, you’ll likely need liability insurance as a mandatory requirement before you can rent it out. Certain companies offer separate owned and non-owned insurance.
A drone can cost $300 for simple recreational use. For commercial purposes, drones can cost $30,000 to $50,000, which is almost as expensive as a police cruiser. You want to make sure your huge investment in your future is protected from theft. This is where drone insurance comes into play and can provide coverage for your drone if it's stolen.
What’s Not Covered by Drone Insurance?
You need to make sure that the activities you’re using the drone for are covered under your policy. Read the fine print to make sure the insurance policy you’re considering is right for you.
You may not be covered if you are found to be negligent and you end up injuring yourself. You also may not be covered if damage your drone because of your negligence. These are included in the fine print of your policy.
Risks of Flying a Drone Without Insurance
You can choose not to get drone insurance, but you have to understand the risks of flying without insurance. If you are a commercial pilot, your livelihood depends on your drone. Your drone is your biggest asset, and if it gets damaged it can impact your revenue. You want to make sure you’re protecting your future.
If you’re taking higher-risk jobs, the risk of not having drone insurance can be significant. If you’re flying for the agricultural sector, you may have a lower risk of damage than someone who’s flying in heavily populated areas or areas with a lot of interference.
High-risk drone jobs include power line inspections, construction inspections, and cell tower inspections. If you’re flying over commercial areas, you have a higher risk of damage. The film industry also has a higher risk because they have more bystanders to worry about.
What to Look for in a Company that Offers Drone Insurance
Drone insurance in Canada is offered by many different companies. To find out the best company for you, you need to consider certain factors like top-quality customer service.
The first thing to check is what coverage they offer. Once you decide what type of coverage you need, you want to make sure that that’s offered by the preferred insurer. Some companies only offer liability insurance. If you also want hull and theft insurance, you should consider a company that offers all three rather than getting two separate insurance policies.
Also, you want to make sure they offer flexibility in the insurance policies they offer. Some insurance companies only offer yearly plans. If you’re an occasional operator, then you want to make sure to pick a company that offers hourly plans as well. Flexibility to choose the coverage can save you a lot of money in the long term.
The amount of coverage will also impact your decision. Some insurance companies only cover up to $1 million. If you have a commercial business, you want to make sure that you’re covered for a higher amount. Analyze your business needs and see what amount of coverage will work for you.
Finally, you want to make sure that they cover your type of drone and activities. Some companies only cover commercial operations, while others cover both commercial and recreational. Some companies only cover small to medium-sized businesses, so if you’re a large business then you may want to pick another insurer.
Some insurance policies don’t cover particular activities or certain types of drones. Make sure you know exactly what you’re being covered for.
An app or online service is not essential, but it can make your life easier. It can give you control over your account and easily add drones or other equipment. The use of data analytics by insurance companies can offer you personalized service.
Typical Costs of Drone Insurance
You can drone insurance as part of a monthly or annual plan. If you only use drones for specific events, you can even get hourly on-demand insurance. Remember that the hourly premium is going to be higher. If you end up flying too much, you may end up paying more.
If you have more than one drone, your drone insurance policy can cover you for multiple drones as long as only one drone is in the air.
Liability coverage ranges from $500,000 to $10 million. For certain insurance companies’ hourly plans start at $7 per flight. Monthly plans can range from $42 to $208.
Liability coverage ranges from $500,000 to $10 million. For certain insurance companies’ hourly plans start at $7 per flight. Monthly plans can range from $42 to $208. For a more comprehensive or custom coverage, it can cost you about $600 to $800 per year.
As more insurance companies offer drone insurance in Canada, these premiums can change. You may also need to pay an insurance deductible, so always read the fine print to know how much you have to pay your coverage kicks in.
Where to Get Drone Insurance in Canada
The future of the insurance industry is a move towards more of a digital experience for clients. More international insurance companies are offering drone insurance in Canada using apps and mobile devices.
Skywatch.ai offers drone insurance to Canadians. They offer flexible plans and premiums, including hourly, monthly and annual plans. They have an app that makes keeping track of your policy simpler.
Capri Insurance is closely linked with Transport Canada and can provide liability, equipment and premise liability. They have premiums specific to the film industry.
Coverdrone is a UK company that offers insurance in Canada as well. They provide recreational and commercial drone coverage.
Intact Insurance is one of the largest insurers in Canada. They offer drone insurance specifically for small to medium-sized businesses with drone operations.
Hub International is one of the largest insurance companies in the world and provides drone insurance to Canadians as well.
Drone Insurance Depot is backed by Lloyds of London. Their drone insurance coverage ranges from $100,000 to $5,000,000.
Air1 insurance is based in British Columbia. They offer insurance packages for different sectors including real estate, surveying, and agriculture.
Whether you’re a commercial pilot, a recreational operator or an occasional operator, you should consider getting drone insurance in Canada to protect yourself and your investment.
You can get sued for causing property damage, bodily injury or violating privacy rights. Criminals can steal your expensive equipment. Drone insurance in Canada will keep you protected during these unexpected events.
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