For over 40 years, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, (the world’s largest model aviation association), has offered its membership liability insurance for recreational flying of model aircraft. Recently, the AMA announced that it is now officially serving the commercial drone community and pilots by offering commercial drone insurance benefits for those who fly for business.
To learn more we reached out to Jeff Nance, AMA Director for Marketing and Digital Strategy, and here’s what he had to say.
RD: Hi Jeff, can you tell us about the new AMA insurance program and how it started?
Jeff Nance: Yes, our new commercial drone insurance is a natural extension of our member benefits and comes at a time when the commercial drone industry is growing fast. Many of our members are flying drones commercially, or plan to do so soon, and have been asking AMA to provide commercial drone insurance as a membership benefit.
RD: Why would a member need AMA commercial drone insurance?
JN: If you are flying a drone for business, or plan to in the future, having commercial drone insurance is a smart move should you have an accident causing damage to property or injuries to people. Expect your clients to ask if you have commercial drone insurance.
RD: Is the insurance part of the AMA membership program or separate?
JN: It’s important to note that this program is not supported by AMA dues and is separate from our standard recreation insurance program for flying model aircraft. The insurance contract is between the member and the insurance company directly, and not AMA.
RD: But you do have to be an AMA member to be eligible yes?
JN: Correct, you must be an AMA member to purchase the commercial drone insurance. This is an affinity program just like our Nationwide Insurance program. The commercial drone insurance is purchased through our recreational insurance broker, Harry A. Koch Company. The underwriter is Starr Companies.
RD: How much does AMA commercial drone insurance cost?
JN: Costs are based on the amount of liability coverage a person wants. The following levels of insurance liability coverage are available. You have a choice of $500,000, $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 with limit of liability being for each occurrence. Coverage above $2,000,000 is also available by contacting the insurance broker.
RD: Is the drone covered by the AMA commercial drone insurance, and are attachments to my drone such as a camera covered?
JN: No. That is separate insurance coverage that is optional to purchase. It’s called hull insurance. Optional hull insurance coverage is available with the cost based on the drone value. Hull coverage is available for up to $10,000 per drone. You can get a quote for hull insurance by requesting it on the insurance application. You must purchase liability insurance in order to purchase hull insurance. And, hull insurance coverage is for the platform only and excludes special equipment (e.g. cameras).
RD: Besides being an AMA member are there any other requirements to purchase drone insurance?
JN: Yes. You must have one of the following FAA certifications: FAA Part 107, FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) or FAA 333.
RD: Is the commercial drone insurance competitive with other drone insurance providers?
JN: Yes. AMA members are able to purchase the commercial drone insurance at a special low price. While there are many insurance providers, AMA’s insurance may be the lowest price you’ll find, even with paying $75 to become an AMA membership. AMA members can also get discounts on Part 107 test prep courses and flight training through these companies: DARTDrones, Fly Robotics, Gold Seal UAV Ground School, UAV Experts and Unmanned Experts.
RD: How do you get quote?
JN: Just go to amadroneinsurance.com. Getting a quote and even making a purchase just takes a few minutes.