Jim answers this and more in December's Ask Jim edition.
Question: Is there an age limit to issue a new policy?
Jim: Guy – thank you for writing…there truly isn’t an age limit to issue a new owners policy. We’ve recently been able to place new coverage for pilots in their mid to upper 80’s. Now that does come with a few caveats – typically these are policies for pilots that aren’t flying extremely complex, pressurized or turbine aircraft. Sometimes additional requirements might be added that could include a CFI checkout, annual medical or annual flight review. Our carriers look at numerous aspects before adding these requirements - items such as recency (are you flying regularly or has it been 10 years), total hours, hours in the aircraft, etc.
At the end of the day, many of our carriers share the same goals of AOPA – wanting to keep those willing and able (and safe) in the air!
Question: What should one know regarding Insurance when planning to fly to Canada or Mexico?
Jim: Madeline – thank you for your question. There are many items to consider before flying into Canada or Mexico. Luckily, you asked the right organization! The first place I would start is to review the “covered territory” in your policy. Ensure that it at least covers where you are planning on flying. Second, you will need to be certain that your coverages meet the requirements of each country. AOPA has prepared thorough guidelines for both Canada and Mexico. These resources cover much more than just the insurance requirements, so I would highly recommend you review the following to help ensure all the necessary items are considered (i.e. radio license, placards, DHS decals, etc.). Safe flying!
Question: At what point in private pilot training is it absolutely essential to purchase renter's insurance?
Jim: Dois – excellent question! Let me briefly highlight what renter insurance covers. First and primary, renter insurance covers your legal liability related to bodily injury and property damage (to other than the aircraft you are flying). Additionally, it also covers your legal defense for claims brought against you. As an extra coverage option, you can elect insurance that covers the aircraft.
A couple of items come to mind. When I was training for my private license, by lesson 3 or 4 I was preflighting and fueling the aircraft on my own – even without my CFI on the airport. Had I damaged the aircraft – would I have been liable, most likely yes. And looking at it another way, say I’m a pilot (student or otherwise) with a CFI and we have an accident. It’s nearly certain that both you and the CFI are going to be sued by the injured party…your FBO and CFI’s coverage isn’t going to defend you against lawsuits – our renters insurance will as it includes legal defense.
And I’ll leave you with one other thought. What if the FBO, for one reason or another, missed an insurance premium payment? Now there’s a lapse in coverage – who is going to cover the loss – most likely the renter. Only you can protect your financial interest, be careful when assuming someone else’s policy will cover you – especially when they weren’t designed for that reason.
*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.