Question: At what point in private pilot training is it absolutely essential to purchase renter's insurance? Thanks, Dois
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.