Understanding Your Insurance LimitsUnderstanding Your Insurance Limits

Have you ever stared blankly at your insurance policy, trying to understand all the industry jargon, unsure of how it all applies to you? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Let’s take a scenario and apply your policy.
You and a friend are flying for a $200 burger when something goes wrong and you need to make an emergency landing. A golf course near your current location has a nice, long, fairly straight fairway. You’re able to land, but your passenger suffers a serious neck injury, one of your wings clips a golfer who couldn’t grasp what was happening until it was too late, knocking them to the ground, and the fairway and your airplane are completely torn up. 

You’re looking at bodily injury inside the aircraft, outside the aircraft, damage to the golf course and damage to your aircraft. Let’s break this down by how your insurance policy will cover it.

Hull coverage will handle the damage to your aircraft, but the bodily injury and property damages will fall under your liability limit. 

Smooth Limit – With a smooth limit you have the entire limit amount to address all three liability claims.  This means if you insured at $1 million smooth, you have the full $1 million to cover the claims.  Policies with smooth limits are typically more expensive, but as we look at the per person and per passenger sublimit explanations you will understand why.

Per Passenger Sublimit – Coverage for the passenger is reduced to the limit listed on the policy.  For instance, if you insured at $1 million with a per passenger sublimit of $100,000, the golfer and the course would be covered under the $1 million, coverage for the passenger would be limited to $100,000.

Per Person Sublimit – Coverage amount is limited not only for the passenger, but also for the golfer since each is a “person”.  For instance, if you are insured at $1 million with a per person sublimit of $100,000, the course would be covered under the $1 million, the golfer and the passenger would be limited to a maximum of $100,000.  Because per person sublimits are the most restrictive – and there’s almost never a related premium savings – they should be avoided if at all possible.

Do you know the liability limits on your coverage? Take a look before your next takeoff. If you’d like to make changes, contact AOPA Insurance.  Remember, AOPA Insurance offers knowledgeable agents who understand your unique flying and insurance requirements.  Visit or call 800.622.AOPA (2672) for information on how AOPA can get you the insurance coverage to fit your needs. 

Jim Pinegar

Jim Pinegar

Vice President & Director of Operations of AOPA Insurance Services

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