The commercial drone industry is becoming more and more a part of life for so many Australian businesses. And it’s no surprise really, with many considering Australia as one of the pioneers in drone usage & regulations, infrastructure, and innovation.
Additionally, the economic impact of drones in Australia is expected to reach $14.5 billion by 2040 (up from its current estimate of $5.5 billion), putting us shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the US and China for growth rate by volume.
It’s an exciting time for the drone industry, however working with drones – particularly commercial drones – comes with its own unique set of regulations, perceived challenges, and risks.
Some of the key concerns people have about drone use and misuse relate to privacy and data protection, as well as on-site damages, destruction of property, and even injuries. In fact, drone crash rates are currently doubling every year at a 21% CAGR, based on recent QBE claims data.
So, if you’re interested in utilising a drone for commercial purposes, a sufficient insurance policy is both highly recommended and a worthwhile investment to ensure you, your drone, and your business are properly protected.
Please note: Before you’re able to obtain suitable insurance cover and fly your drone commercially, you will need to acquire a drone pilot license from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
WHAT TYPES OF INSURANCE ARE AVAILABLE FOR COMMERCIAL DRONE OPERATORS?
CASA recommends that commercial operators of drones take out two kinds of insurance:
1. Third party public liability insurance: provides up to $20 million in insurance to cover damages caused by the drone to other third parties. This includes on-site damage, destruction of property, and any injuries caused by the drone.
2. Hull coverage / UAV insurance: this is cover for an agreed value for the loss or damage of your drone and the other equipment you use to operate the drone. Hull insurance is crucial for companies that use high-quality cameras and sensors fitted to the drone as they’re expensive and difficult to replace.
Other insurance considerations to look out for include:
- Payload – anything the drone is carrying (as long as it’s allowed to), such as cameras, thermal sensors, and LIDARs.
- Equipment – cover for things like controllers, RTK stations and accessories.
- Non-owned – for borrowed or leased/rented drones
- Cybercrime – because drones can be hacked from as far as a kilometre away.
- Liability – cover for claims against an invasion of privacy that may be contained in an advertisement, broadcast, or telecast captured by the business’s drone
- Personal injury – for copyright or privacy infringements
- Transit extension – to cover drone during transportation
WHAT IS CONSIDERED COMMERCIAL DRONE ACTIVITY?
You’ll need commercial drone insurance if you undertake activities like these:
- Creating photos or video content to be sold
- Inspecting commercial equipment, infrastructure, or sites
- Monitoring, providing surveillance or security services
- Creating content for websites where an income is generated from advertising
- Any drone activities on behalf of your employer
If you’re unsure whether your current liability insurance covers you for drone use as part of your business, please contact us.