Drone Owners Urged To Check Insurance Policies

Tuesday, January 5th 2016, 10:36 pm
By: News 9

One of the most popular gifts for Christmas were drones, and because of their popularity, a lot of questions are being raised about the liabilities associated with them.

Tom Kilpatrick has been a pilot for more than 30 years, and for the past year, he has taken up flying a much smaller aircraft.

However, legally operating one of these is starting to get a little difficult.

"Now, insurance companies with homeowners policies realize there is so much liability with now over a million drones around,” Kilpatrick said.

"If you harm someone with your drone, if you hurt someone's property with your drone, you can be held liable for that,” consumer attorney Kent McGuire said.

Kilpatrick has commercial insurance, but the concerns are not just about liabilities. You could get into criminal trouble if you are not careful.

"If you trespass or invade someone's privacy near their home, buzz too close to their home you can be held responsible for that,” McGuire said.

Traditional homeowners and renters insurance policies would typically cover if you flew your drone into a car or a window of a home or if you hurt someone, but the rules are changing.

"Say someone decides to fly over Opening Night on New Year’s Eve, and it came down into a crowd and it injured several people, homeowners insurance is probably not going to cover that, and those insurers now know that. So they're walking away from the market,” Kilpatrick said.

You already have to register drones with the FAA, but even if you are not registered, you could be tracked down.

"You might be a distraction to a driver and cause an automobile accident, and if you do whether you're registered or not they're going to try to find out who did it,” McGuire said.

The bottom line is drones must be registered, and if you do own one or plan to purchase one, make sure to check with your insurance provider to know what accidents are covered.