Guide to Commercial Drone Insurance

What is commercial drone insurance?

This guide explains what commercial drone insurance is and why you need it.

Commercial drone insurance is specialist cover for the photographic and media industry who are taking advantage of this technology. Commercial drone insurance provides coverage for the hull, detachable payload and spares together with specialist aviation liability. This important addition to your cover meets the requirements of EC regulation 785/2004, which is required by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) for licensed use of commercial drones.

About the author

Hayley Luxford has over 25 years’ experience in the commercial insurance sector with the majority of her experience as a respected professional specialising in photography, video and media insurance for multimedia businesses, professional photographers and enthusiasts.

Do I need commercial drone insurance?

You can own a drone without cover, but in order to gain the qualification to fly it legally for business purposes you will need commercial drone insurance.

  • In common with most insurance providers, Camerasure do not automatically cover for media, film, TV and photographic businesses. This is because of the aviation cover that is specific to commercial drone insurance. Similarly, home contents cover may not be sufficient for covering loss or theft of a commercial drone for business use.

  • You need the commercial drone cover in order to attend the CAA qualification course, both theory and practical, which is a requirement before you can apply for a permit to fly drones commercially in the UK.

  • Using commercial drones for surveys, requires drone insurance as it is not covered by the standard insurance for the property. This also applies if you were to fly the commercial drone over your own property.

CAA requirements for commercial drones

EC regulation 785/2004 defines UAVs as aircraft and therefore UAV operators as aircraft operators. Drones being used for commercial purposes are defined as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being used in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration. For example, a builder commissioned to provide a survey for a client for a fee will need to have a permit to fly for commercial operations from the CAA, or bring in an operator who has this permission. 

In order to obtain the permit to fly for commercial operations from the CAA the operator will need to demonstrate that they have third party liability cover with the requisite extensions required under the EC regulation 785/2004 which our policy will cover. This will need to be a minimum of 750,000 SDR’s [Special Drawing Rights IMF currency], our starting level of public liability of £1,000,000 GBP will be sufficient to meet this, but dependant on the weight/payload of the drone this limit of liability may need to be increased. We can cover up to £50,000,000 GBP without referral.

Commercial drone insurance cover

  • Cyber cover against the drone system being hacked, with reinstatement of data covered under this section.

  • Third party liability, extended to include hijack cover, noise and nuisance and invasion of privacy cover.

  • Accidental damage, theft and loss, including theft from a vehicle. This includes cover for damage in transit and detachable payloads, such as DSLR cameras; accessories and ground control stations; and spares such as batteries.

  • Worldwide cover included.

Commercial drone insurance insurance exclusion examples

When using your commercial drone it is important that you ensure you are adequately covered.

  • Whilst our policy does not exclude hazardous locations, you will need to be flying under the authority of your permit to fly for commercial operations from the CAA, some activities may need extended authority from the CAA.

  • Although our cover is worldwide, you will need to let us know if you are planning to use your drone in countries or territories where the Foreign Commonwealth Office are advising no/essential-only travel. Consult your policy wording for a full list of countries and remember that you will need to be flying with the authority of the country you are visiting.

  • We do not cover for drones used for drone racing.

  • Wear and tear is not included, nor is electrical or mechanical faults or breakdown.

  • Drones flown for over 500 hours annually without referral.

Please refer to your policy wording for full details.

Things to consider when buying commercial drone insurance

Commercial drone insurance can be restricted to liability on its own (if you have a smaller, less expensive craft you may wish to consider this). If you need full cover including damage and theft for the hull/payload/spares this can all be included as one simple package. However, you must always include the liability cover to meet CAA regulations if the drone is being used for commercial operations.

We can cover multiple drones, and multiple operators providing insurance for a drone operator with a single hull, or larger organisations with larger requirements.

Cover can be provided for hired in equipment/detachable payloads upon request.

Towergate commercial drone insurance

We work with a leading aviation insurer to deliver the right cover, service and claims (including access to specialist loss adjusters).

For more information take a look at our commercial drone insurance page or call us on 01489 770340 to speak to a specialist adviser.