If you're a small business owner, you may have heard news about a few major online retailers planning to offer drone delivery over the next several years. Although an interesting concept, this plan may seem so technologically out of reach for your own business that it barely merits a second thought. However, drone delivery could be closer than you think -- with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authoring proposed regulations on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for deliveries. These proposed regulations will supersede the previous regulations prohibiting commercial UAV operation over members of the public (permitting companies to use UAVs only on their own property) and may mean you'll be able to use your own inexpensive fleet of drones to take aerial photos or videos of property or even deliver packages. Read on to learn more about how drone usage may impact your business's insurance needs, as well as what you can do to keep these costs as low as possible.
Will your current insurance coverage address drone usage?
When the FAA proposes regulations allowing unmanned UAV usage outside a business owner's own property, any insurance agency will find themselves scrambling to find a way to accurately assess the liability risk of these devices. Although UAVs are generally safe and reliable, the remote possibility of mechanical error combined with the more likely possibility of user error means that your rates may increase to accommodate this greater risk.
However, your individual insurance rate will likely be impacted the most by the type of activities you're using your UAV to accomplish. Delivering heavy packages will carry more risk than taking overhead video, while sending your UAVs over an expansive service area could pose greater risks than sticking to a relatively small radius. In some cases, if your UAV usage is replacing vehicle usage or other physical risk (for example, surveying roofing damage by air rather than by climbing onto a ladder yourself), your rates may even drop due to the decreased likelihood of you filing an injury or accident claim.
What can you do to keep your insurance costs low after acquiring drones for commercial use?
Key to keeping your insurance premium at or below its pre-drone rate is documenting all the regular UAV maintenance you've been performing and keeping up with changes in technology and operator recommendations. By showing that your UAVs are well-serviced and unlikely to suffer mechanical failure mid-air, you'll lower your likelihood of filing a claim (or committing actions that could lead to a claim being filed against you). By the same token, showing that you (or other employees who operate the UAVs) are up-to-date on UAV operator regulations will lower the risk of committing an act that could lead to property damage or even physical injury.Share
20 June 2016
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