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Building an Aircraft and InsuranceBuilding an Aircraft and Insurance

Ask Jim

Jim answers this and more in November's Ask Jim edition.

Question: Starting build of my own aircraft, when do I consider some form of insurance? Thank you, Terrence 

Jim: Terrence – congratulations on making the decision to build your own aircraft. Everyone I’ve talked to says the process is very rewarding – especially when you will literally know every rivet and bolt of your aircraft.

With insurance, you’ll want to consider a builder’s risk policy. This type of policy can cover the value of the kit, engine and all stages of the build. In essence, it covers the physical components of the aircraft. We recommend this type of insurance, even if the aircraft is being built in your garage since homeowner’s policies have stringent exclusions for aircraft and aviation related activities. Now, this type of policy won’t cover items damaged as a result of a build mistake, but it will cover value of the components and the increased value as the aircraft is assembled.

In addition to the physical structure of the aircraft, a builder’s risk policy will include liability coverage – in the event that a third party gets hurt by the kit components. How can someone get injured by an airplane in pieces you may ask? Trust me, it happens – especially when builders are excited to show their build to someone else – things do happen.

The last caveat regarding builders risk insurance is to know this coverage does not include what is known as “full flight” coverage. You’ll want to be certain you call your broker and let them know when the build is complete, so that you can upgrade your coverage.

One important tip – be explicitly clear what make and model of aircraft you are building when you secure builder’s risk coverage. It’s generally best to place the builder’s risk coverage with a carrier that will later insure that particular aircraft for full flight coverage when the build is complete.

Good luck on the build!

Question: I am pursuing Part 107 and will be flying my drone commercially. Do you offer insurance for those devices? Richard

Jim: Richard – welcome to the exciting world of drone aviation. As you know, the drone industry changes and new advancements are occurring on what seems like a daily rate!  

The nice thing is that AOPA does offer drone insurance.  We have programs for operators flying recreationally, under Part 107, or under Section 333. Our program offers liability coverage and can add hull coverage for the drone itself as an optional coverage. 

The process is fairly straight forward – we’ll need to know what types of drones will be in operation, their intended use, and some information about the pilots.   

Jim is always ready to assist and answer your questions* about aviation insurance. Submit your question here , and it may just be highlighted in an upcoming Ask Jim Edition and you will receive a complimentary umbrella.

*The answer provided to your questions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. For questions concerning your specific circumstances, consult a local attorney.

Jim Pinegar

Jim Pinegar

Vice President & Director of Operations of AOPA Insurance Services

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