Accidents happen: Insure your drone

Thanks to new regulations enacted this fall, it's now easier than ever to add drone photography to your business. But beyond passing the FAA's aeronautical knowledge test and being vetted by the TSA, you'll also need something else: insurance. 

Yes, even with a drone pilot certificate and countless hours operating your trusty flier, accidents happen, says Kristen Hartman, director of member value and experience at PPA. If your drone malfunctions and drops out of the sky onto a person or a piece of property, such as a car or a house, you don’t want to pay out of pocket for that.

That's where general liability drone insurance comes in. PPA has negotiated with its insurance partner Lockton Affinity to offer general liability drone insurance that’s significantly less expensive than the $1,000-plus-a-year aviation insurance most drone operators purchase. Lockton's general liability drone endorsement add-on, which will protect you should your drone harm a person or a piece of property, costs just $150 a year; that’s in addition to the general liability insurance itself, which starts at $236 a year. To cover your own drone should it be harmed in an accident, purchase PPA’s Photocare Plus policy, which is $175 annually.

“No matter how much you practice with your drone, there are always going to be unforeseen circumstances out there, like a gust of wind takes your drone or your battery pack gives out and dies,” says Hartman. “Typically with drones, it’s expensive. It’s not a little bit of damage. If it hits somebody, it’s potentially very expensive. If it falls on a car and smashes the hood, your liability is very high. So you need to have insurance to protect yourself.”

Learn more about PPA equipment insurance here:

Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer.