Is it a bird, a plane or a liability?

Jonathan BelekBusiness Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance, Commercial Property Insurance, Cyber Security, Homeowners Insurance, Risk Management

Domino’s wants to deliver your pizza with one, and your cousin had one fly over her beach wedding.  

The use of drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), has exploded in recent years.  The small remote controlled planes are being flown by hobbyists to government personnel monitoring disasters and crops.

The Federal Aviation Administration is finalizing its regulations for commercial drone use, which would open up air space to allow businesses to deliver their goods via drones. The agency estimates that by 2020 some 30,000 drones will be used for business purposes.

What impact will all these drones buzzing around mean for the insurance industry?

Many insurance experts agree that drone coverage for commercial use is new territory for the industry and will be a growing market sector for the carriers. As far as what the insurance coverage will look like down the line, it’s hard to analyze and estimate the liability involving privacy issues, bodily injury and property damage when commercial drone use is still new and the FAA hasn’t hashed out its final regulations.

Even personal drones present certain risk challenges for the industry. Many people want one – it’s a fun toy and the popularity will continue to grow.  A recent Forbes article stated that Google Trends list drones as the one of top items people want to buy.  But the popularity of personal drones has some insurance companies changing their policies to make them more specific.  Personal drones are covered under homeowners’ policies, but liability for an accident caused by drones in urban areas present challenges. The Chubb Group, a property casualty insurer, found that three quarters of people surveyed worry about a drone crashing into their house or injuring someone.  Every carrier is different – if you are a drone owner – it’s best to give us a call to discuss your policy!

While the insurance industry continues to fly in the skies of drone territory, some companies are ready to use them internally to evaluate claims and assess your roof damage. Many are considering using drones to replace human adjusters.  The jury is still out in my book whether this is a good thing or not!

What are your thoughts on the drone industry?  Do you have one now or thinking of buying one – we would love your feedback!

On the insurance side of things, if you thinking of buying a drone for commercial or recreational use?  Sinclair Risk and Financial Management can help make sure you are properly protected.  Call me at 203-265-0996 or email me at

Jonathan Belek
Risk Management Consultant