Looking to get a lower drone insurance rate? Prove you’re a “safe” pilot, and you may pay less than everyone else.
Drone insurance company SkyWatch launched an insurance plan in partnership with insurance and financial services organization Starr Companies. The plan determines insurance rates based upon a pilot’s safety score.
To use it, pilots need to download SkyWatch’s mobile app, where they input their flight plan, enabling the app to gather data based on potential hazards like crowds, roads and airports. The software can analyze what happened during the flight, and give a safety score. Once a pilot has made at least five flights, they are eligible to receive reduced insurance rates based upon their safety score. The app works with a variety of drones, including DJI drones.
A spokesperson for SkyWatch said “safer” pilots could pay as much as 50% less than the base rates.
Here are some things that SkyWatch claims could lower one’s safety score:
- Flying over dense roads and in no-fly zones
- Flying far from the operator
- Cruising in low altitudes (The drone has a higher risk of crashing into trees, power lines and buildings)
Want a higher safety score? Try these tactics, according to SkyWatch:
- Repeat flight plans in the same area
- Fly a newer drone (SkyWatch says drones like the Phantom 4, Mavic Air and Inspire 2 are safer due to advanced sense and avoidance features)
SkyWatch says it offers insurance coverage for up to $10 million, though pilots need to have a Part 107 certificate to qualify for high insurance limits.
SkyWatch claims to be the first drone insurance company where rates are dictated by a safety score.
Another popular form of drone insurance is the on-demand model, where pilots pay based on minutes of flights. Those models are offered through companies including Flock and Verifly.
Insurance policies for drones have become increasingly popular in the last few years, though there is no legal requirement to fly with insurance.
Many drone pilots already have drone insurance — without even knowing it — through membership to organizations like The Academy of Model Aeronautics or The International Drone Racing Association. Some drone flights are also covered under the pilot’s homeowners insurance policy.