This instructable is meant for those new to drones, hobbyiests, parents, students, teachers and anyone else who wants to get into drones but wants to do so safely.
Drone insurance isn't exactly new, but it also isn't exactly old or well-known. It's also not necessarily cheap. Verifly released an mobile, on-demand insurance app a few weeks ago that allows users to get instant insurance coverage for an hour at a time. The price is also much more reasonable (I think).
All of the pictures in this Instructable were taken from the app with my iPhone.
***Please note: for this Instructable I am using the term "drone" as an umbrella term for all unmanned aircraft systems.***
***Note: I am in no way affiliated with Verifly***
Step 1: Who Can Get It?
Verifly is currently available for drones under 15lbs. The company hopes to offer policies for heavier machines in the future.
Your policy is only good for the person who signs up for it. If a parent signs up for a policy but their kid crashes the drone into a neighbors window, the policy won't cover the window replacement.
Step 2: Sign Up
To get the insurance, first download the app to your mobile device and then sign up for an account. In order to make your actual purchase you'll have to provide payment info, but the app itself and looking around the app is free.
Step 3: Coverage Area & Pricing
Verify is currently available in 42 states, with hopes to be nationwide by the end of 2016.
Your policy is only good for the time you purchase it for and only covers the 1/4 mile selected at the time of sign-up. You'll get a full policy and it will include a picture of the coverage area. Verifly has a sample policy on their website that can be found here.
Prices start at $10/hour for up to $1 million in liability and $10,000 for invasion of privacy coverage.
Coverage prices are determined based on risk factors in the area you want to fly. Highly populated areas (such as near a school or stadium) will result in higher prices than if you are out in the middle of nowhere. Environmental factors, such as wind speed, can also be taken into consideration.
The two pictures above show a difference in pricing based on area. The first picture is of a populated neighborhood with a school and the policy rate is $15. The second area is a nearby state park that has a ton of open land and is a lot less populated. The policy rate for the state park is $10.
When you've found your area, you click the "get insured" button and a policy will be drawn up. READ IT. You'll then have to enter your payment information and then confirm your policy. Another nice thing about this app, you'll get a warning before your policy expires, so if you're not done flying you can sign up for another hour.
Keep in mind that policy quotes can and do change as information related to the area you want to fly in is constantly updating and new hazards may occur.
Step 4: What's Covered
For an accident etc to be covered, it has to occur within the policy period and location. Coverage includes:
-Injury to your family.
-Injury to others.
-Damage of other people's property (including their drones---unless you are flying it).
*Note: not a comprehensive list*
Step 5: What's Not Covered
-Anything that happens outside of the policy period (time) or area is not covered by the policy.
-Intentional violations of privacy etc. are not covered by the Violation of Privacy Liability.
-Injury to yourself.
-Damage to any drone you are flying.
-Damage to your property.
-Nuisance claims (noise etc.)
-Anything that happens indoors. Drones are meant to be flown outside.
-Anything that happens as a result of the drone being flown above 400'.
-Accidents etc. occurring because of multiple drones being flown at the same time.
-Anything that happens because of a race or contest.
-Verifly will not protect you from fines etc. given by governments or regulatory agencies (so if the FAA fines you for something, you're stuck).
The sample policy includes about 4 pages of exclusions, including a few blurbs related to nuclear bombs, warfare, and munitions. If you outfit your drone with the capabilities to release projectiles, any damage caused won't be covered.
Additionally, doing something that is in violation of the policy and filming it for others to see (such as putting it on FaceBook or YouTube) can cause you to lose your insurance.
*Note: not a comprehensive list*
Step 6: Restricted Areas
The app is pretty cool. It lets you move around locations to see what the coverage area is like in different places. It also shows you areas that are restricted/cannot be insured---such as most of Boston, mostly because of the airport. But I imagine the tall buildings and being a densely populated area plays a factor too.
Step 7: Reporting a Claim
If something does go wrong and you need to file a claim with Verifly, you can currently do so by emailing their Claims Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expect Verifly to want to see your drone and any flight logs you have. As with any insurance company and policy, they're going to want to investigate the incident and make sure everything is on the up-and-up before handing out any money.
Depending on the situation filing a claim with the police may be appropriate and honestly, can only help your claim.
Step 8: Flight Log
To help keep track of your flights and to help up when a claim is filed, Verifly has a flight log built into the app.
Step 9: The Fine Print
As with anything, you should always thoroughly check over the fine print to make sure you aren't missing anything.
Verifly's Terms & Conditions.
Step 10: Do You Need It?
I guess that depends on how much you fly, how often you crash into things, and other potential risk factors. While Verifly won't cover damage to your drone, it will cover the damage your drone does to others---so if you're flying in your backyard, in close proximity to others etc. you might want to consider it. Verifly is inexpensive enough that it really isn't a bad idea.