A drone is basically an unmanned aircraft, also known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). It can be operated remotely, or it can fly autonomously by an onboard computer. Drones used to be operated only by the military, but now they are used for all sorts of practical applications, such as search and rescue operations, monitoring traffic, fighting fires, and more.
In Canada, there are rules surrounding the ownership and operation of UAV’s. Rightly so, as improper use can be dangerous and can put lives at risk. Transport Canada regulations state:
Transport Canada has put together a list of Safety Guidelines:
Fly your drone during daylight and in good weather (not in clouds or fog).
Keep your drone in sight, where you can see it with your own eyes – not only through an on-board camera, monitor or smartphone.
Make sure your drone is safe for flight before take-off. Ask yourself, for example, are the batteries fully charged? Is it too cold to fly?
Know if you need to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.
Respect the privacy of others – avoid flying over private property or taking photos or videos without permission.
Closer than 9 km from any airport, heliport, or aerodrome.
Higher than 90 metres above the ground.
Closer than 150 metres from people, animals, buildings, structures, or vehicles.
In populated areas or near large groups of people, including sporting events, concerts, festivals, and firework shows.
Near moving vehicles, highways, bridges, busy streets or anywhere you could endanger or distract drivers.
Within restricted and controlled airspace, including near or over military bases, prisons, and forest fires.
Anywhere you may interfere with first responders.
Technically, drones are small aircraft – and most home insurance policies exclude aircraft from coverage – which, by extension, means that drones are excluded from most home insurance policies’ coverage. That means you have no coverage if your drone is lost, stolen, or damaged. That means, you have no coverage if your drone is lost, stolen, or damaged. However, an even more important consideration is that you have no insurance for liability. If your drone damages someone else’s property, most home insurance policies will not cover the damage. Or, if the drone injures another person and you are sued for their injuries, your home insurance will not be able to assist you in any way.
Talk to your home insurance provider to see if coverage is available under your home insurance policy. As mentioned above, home insurance policies normally exclude any coverage relating to aircraft. Most home insurance providers are unwilling to insure drones, but some – including Square One – are now able to provide coverage for certain types of small, pleasure-use only drones.
If you can’t find coverage on your home insurance policy, or if your drone is used for purposes other than personal pleasure, then you may want to contact a commercial insurance broker. Policies are being developed to protect commercial users, so in time, there may be a product available for recreational users as well.
Think carefully before giving someone a drone as a birthday or Christmas gift. Make sure to follow the guidelines put in place by Transport Canada. And, remember to ask your home insurance provider about coverage for your drone.
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Sources: Transport Canada
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