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Drone Insurance Guide

Drone insurance covers the commercial use of UAVs or RPAs

What you need to know

  • If your drone is lost, damaged or causes loss, damage or injury to others, drone insurance covers your liability costs to a certain extent, depending on the policy.
  • In Australia most drone insurance policies are designed for commercial purposes only. However there are a few insurers that offer cover for recreational use.

Get a drone insurance quote

How does drone insurance work?

Drone insurance covers the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or, as they are now referred to in Australia, remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). If your drone is lost, damaged or causes loss, damage or injury to others, drone insurance covers your liability costs to a certain extent, depending on the policy.

Finder survey: Where would Australians of different ages get the money to start a small business?

Response75+ yrs65-74 yrs55-64 yrs45-54 yrs35-44 yrs25-34 yrs18-24 yrs
I have savings43.28%41.71%44.44%32.78%32.13%34.56%43.16%
A business loan34.33%36%40.12%43.33%57.83%48.39%38.95%
Other7.46%8%4.32%8.33%3.21%1.38%3.16%
Friends/family5.97%3.43%3.09%6.11%4.02%10.6%10.53%
Government grants5.97%9.71%7.41%8.89%2.41%4.15%4.21%
Crowdfunding2.99%1.14%0.62%0.56%0.4%0.92%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1145 Australians, December 2023

What about recreational use?

In Australia most drone insurance policies are designed for commercial purposes only. However there are a few insurers that offer cover for recreational use. Note: if you operate a drone recreationally, you're still subject to most of the regulations applying to commercial drone operation.

What types of cover are available in Australia?

In Australia, drone insurance covers two main areas:

  • Public liability. This provides cover up to $20 million against third-party damage and bodily injury claims arising from the operation of your drone.
  • Vehicle & equipment. This is an agreed value for loss or damage of your drone and operating equipment (often including payload).

In America, where commercial drone insurance is more widespread, cover can include a bigger range of options such as liability, hull (the drone), payload, ground equipment, non-owned coverage (borrowed or leased drones) and personal injury cover (copyright and privacy infringements).

What types of accidents or liabilities are covered by each policy?

Examples of potential accidents involving drones where drone insurance would be beneficial to have include:

  • Loss or damage of the drone due to loss of control resulting in a crash
  • Damage or injury caused during the crash to third party property or persons
  • Damage or injuries caused to operating equipment, ground crew or onlookers

What affects the cost?

As with any form of insurance, certain risk factors determine how much an individual will pay for drone insurance. When preparing your application for underwriting, your broker will consider some or all of the following factors to determine how much your drone insurance is likely to cost:

  • The number of flying hours you have logged (in aviation, flying hours equates to experience and operational competency)
  • The cost of your drone and equipment (needed for agreed value cover)
  • The size and weight of the drone you are operating (weight classifications in Australia include micro (100 grams or less), very small (100 grams - 2 kilograms), small (2-25 kilograms), medium (25-150 kilograms), large (over 150 kilograms)
  • Whether you are able to automatically record your flight log and data (required evidence when claiming)
  • Whether you keep a maintenance log and regularly maintain your drone and equipment
  • Whether your drone is owned or leased
  • Where you are operating your drone (ie over water, near built-up areas, around hazards such as power lines etc)
  • Whether you have any previous history of drone accidents or loss

Who offers drone insurance?

The following brokers and insurers offer public liability, UAV and equipment cover:

  • Avcover Aviation Insurance Australia
  • Austbrokers ABS Aviation Australia
  • Bill Owen Insurance Brokers Australia
  • Aviation Insurance Australia
  • CGU (for personal use)

Insurance exclusions to be aware

To retain your drone insurance cover, you must always operate your drone in a manner approved of by your insurer. Exclusions from cover may include;

  • Not logging flights and not being able to prove with flight log data what happened during an incident
  • Operating your drone recklessly or in contravention of air safety regulations
  • Not registering your drone if it weighs more than two kilograms and not displaying proper identification numbers
  • Not logging battery cycles and maintenance changes

What regulations will you need to follow in Australia if you fly a drone?

Whether you operate your drone commercially or for recreational purposes (unless it is a very small drone being operated over private property), you must always observe the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Regulations which require that you:

  • Only fly during daylight hours
  • Only fly one drone at a time
  • Only fly by visual line of sight (close enough to maintain orientation and achieve accurate flight and tracking)
  • Not fly higher than 120 metres above ground level
  • Not fly in a prohibited or restricted area without permission
  • Not fly in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property
  • Not fly closer than 30 metres to other people
  • Not fly over populated areas (ie ovals, parks or beaches)
  • Not fly a drone weighing more than 100 grams within 5.5 kilometres of an aerodrome with an operating control tower
  • Not fly in the area of a public safety operation without permission (ie motor vehicle accidents or police, firefighting or search and rescue operations).
CASA has developed the following web- and app-based resources to help you better understand the rules:

  • Know Your Drone: A website that outlines the rules in easy-to-read infographic-style format, along with informational videos and tips & tricks.
  • AirMap for Drones: An app for Android and iOS that uses air-traffic-control data from Airservices Australia. It uses a convenient interactive map that shows users where they can and can't fly their drones.

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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    GordonSeptember 12, 2019

    Good Day
    I am doing course just trying to work out the cost of insurance for a drone
    Thank you

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 13, 2019

      Hi Gordon,

      Thanks for your message.

      You can enter your details on our drone insurance quote form to receive a free quotation. According to our guide, your broker will consider some or all of the following factors to determine how much your drone insurance is likely to cost.

      • The number of flying hours you have logged (in aviation, flying hours equates to experience and operational competency)
      • The cost of your drone and equipment (needed for agreed value cover)
      • The size and weight of the drone you are operating (weight classifications in Australia include micro (100 grams or less), very small (100 grams – 2 kilograms), small (2-25 kilograms), medium (25-150 kilograms), large (over 150 kilograms)
      • Whether you are able to automatically record your flight log and data (required evidence when claiming)
      • Whether you keep a maintenance log and regularly maintain your drone and equipment
      • Whether your drone is owned or leased
      • Where you are operating your drone (ie over water, near built-up areas, around hazards such as power lines, etc)
      • Whether you have any previous history of drone accidents or loss

      Before applying, please ensure that you read through the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. You can also contact the provider if you have specific questions.

      Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    GeoffApril 20, 2018

    Where should I go in Victoria to find an insurer or broker for drone public liability?

      AvatarFinder
      MauriceApril 20, 2018Finder

      Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I had a quick look and there doesn’t seem to be any brokers who specifically do drone insurance in Victoria.

      You can get in touch with an Australian-wide broker over the phone by filling out the form. Please make sure to read the eligibility criteria, features, and details of the policy, as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statement of the policy before making a decision and consider whether the product is right for you. If necessary, speak to the insurance brand to verify any details.

      I hope this helps,
      Maurice

    Default Gravatar
    PhilMarch 25, 2018

    I have just bought a Mavic pro Platinum and would like to get insurance before I take it to air. Just for peace of mind. Can you recommend someone that will cover me

      AvatarFinder
      MayMarch 26, 2018Finder

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Whilst we can’t recommend or suggest a specific insurer to you, best to get in touch with a insurance broker who can consider your situation and offer you the right insurance for your drone. They would also be able to tailor-made packages for you and let you save money. Please fill out the form so a broker can get in touch with you (at no obligation).

      Please ensure that you read through the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions before purchasing a policy.

      Cheers,
      May

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