The use of drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), has recently grown in popularity, particularly for business owners. There are many reasons a business may use a drone including, inspecting properties, showcasing a property or product, producing their own marketing videos or viewing and recording an event they are hosting or sponsoring. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that approximately 30,000 drones will be used for commercial purposes by 2020. The commercial use of drones creates insurance liability and coverage implications, ranging from personal injury to privacy invasion and aerial surveillance to data collection. You need to protect your business before flying into the “drone zone.” 

FAA Regulations The FAA currently authorizes the use of UAS for commercial purposes on a case-by-case basis. Business owners should never fly drones without the expressed permission from the FAA. You can get up-to-date answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the commercial use of drones from the Federal Aviation Administration. Know Before You Fly Whether for commercial or recreational use, there are basic safety steps every pilot should take before taking flight.Know Before You Fly is an educational campaign that encourages drone users to build the following safety precautions into their pre-flight checklist. 

  • Get proper training and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before operating a drone.
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines, such as those developed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
  • Do not fly higher than 400 feet.•Keep a line of sight with your drone at all times.
  • Remain clear of all manned aircraft.
  • Do not intentionally fly your drone over people or moving vehicles.
  • Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.
  • Never take photos of other people or property without their permission.
  • Stay away from sensitive infrastructures, such as power stations, power lines, government facilities or heavily traveled roadways.
  • Always fly in safe weather conditions.
  • Be aware of high winds or reduced visibility.
  • Never fly a drone when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Contact the airport or control tower before flying within five miles of an airport.

We suggest contracting any drone operations out to experts. There are many new businesses that provide such services. If you are going to invest in a drone for your business and invest in the time to learn how to use it, the best rule of thumb is to use common sense when operating it. There is special aviation insurance necessary for liability and property coverage for the operation of a drone. Do not expect that your standard business insurance policy protects you or the drone. Contact us if you have questions about insuring a drone for your business.