Over the last couple of years we’ve noticed more tradies and builders using drones as part of their business.

Some use them for inspecting hard-to-reach locations, but a lot use them for putting together footage of their work to be shared on social media.

Whatever you’re using drones for in your trade business, it’s important to understand the insurance implications.

We’re not just talking about insuring the drone itself, but more importantly, insuring yourself in the event that the drone causes damage or personal injury to a third party.

Please note that we don’t insure drones on their own. This article is more about how drones fit within a tradie or builder’s overall business insurance.

Damage or injury caused by your drone

In any trade business there is always the risk of causing property damage or personal injury to a third party.

To protect yourself from this risk you have public liability insurance.  This is the most common of all forms of trade insurance.

Whilst this will cover most “normal” activities of a trade business, operating a drone doesn’t always fall into this category.

Some insurers will cover a tradie for operating a drone as part of their business, whilst others will not.  The difference could be worth thousands (or potentially millions) in the event of a claim.

Lets say you were flying a drone to get some footage of a newly finished project…

Say you lost control and it smashed into a vehicle parked next door.  In this case you might be looking at a claim worth a couple of grand for repairs to the vehicle.

But what about the worst-case scenario…  What if you lost control and the drone hit a motorcyclist, who then veered onto the footpath and killed a pedestrian.  In that case you could be looking at a million dollar claim if it was found you were responsible.

That’s pretty extreme, but insurance is all about protecting yourself against those unlikely extreme events.

If you had a public liability policy which excluded coverage for drones, you’d be left exposed for a potentially huge payout.

But if you had a policy which did cover the use of a drone in your business, you’d be all good.

If you are using a drone in your trade business, we can’t stress enough the importance of checking your policy wording or letting us know so we can check for you.

Coverage for drones doesn’t always mean paying more for the extra cover.  It’s simply that some policies exclude them and some don’t.

Keep in mind that we’re a broker and use a range of different insurance companies.  So it’s not about whether Trade Risk covers drones – it’s about each different insurer we use.

Damage or loss of your drone

The other risk is that your drone is either damaged or stolen.

Some drones only cost a few hundred dollars and are hardly worth protecting, but increasingly we’re seeing the use of high-end drones worth thousands of dollars.

If you have tool insurance you may be able to include cover for the drone, but don’t just assume that your drone will be automatically covered.

Some insurers will cover the drone along with the rest of your tools as “unspecified” items, which essentially means they’re all pooled into the one overall amount.

Other insurers will require that the drone is specified on the policy.  This just means listing it on the policy along with a specific dollar value.

Another consideration is the replacement value of the drone.  Some policies require that individual items with a replacement value over a certain limit ($3,000 for example) are specified on the policy.

So a given insurer might be happy to include drones in the standard cover, but if the drone has a replacement value exceeding $3,000 (for example) it will still need to be specified.

It can get a little confusing since different insurers have different rules, so the easiest option is to speak with us and we can tell you straight away what the deal is with your policy.

Remember that as insurance brokers we deal with lots of different insurance companies, so the answer will depend on which insurance company your policy is with.

More information

Using a drone in your trade or building business can be a great idea, but it’s vital to ensure you are properly protected in case anything goes wrong.

If you’re an existing client we can check your policy to see if you’re covered or not, or if you’re a new client we can put together some quotes and options for you.

Contact your account manager or call us on 1800 808 800.