Policy Pointer 2 – Know your limitsPolicy Pointer 2 – Know your limits

Liability limits that is. Do you have a smooth limit or a per person sublimit in your policy? Not sure? We can help!

One of the best movie quotes of all time, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Anyone know the actor? That’s Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies, and while not necessarily aviation related, that quote is relevant in many ways. Whether it’s knowing and following your personal weather minimums, following the “I’m Safe” checklist, or knowing the liability limits in your policy – every pilot needs to be aware of their…well, limitations.

With aviation insurance, there are many liability coverages that typically come included in a policy. A few examples are personal liability to non-owned hangars, to passenger luggage, etc., and these “ancillary” coverages typically have their own limits (so no claiming a $1 Million loss for typical lost luggage!). But the two big points to focus on are the “Each Occurrence” and “Per Passenger” sublimit, if your policy has such a sublimit.

The “Each Occurrence” is fairly straight forward as it covers the named insured to a maximum of this limit. So, with a $1 Million dollar policy, that $1M would be split among all claimants – injured parties both inside and outside the aircraft and any property damage. Interesting enough, property damage also includes environmental cleanup. Think of this limit as the total amount available in the checkbook.

Many pilots also have passenger submits, which in effect reduces the “checkbook” amount for those inside the aircraft. With the example of a $1 million policy with a $100,000 per passenger sublimit, an injured passenger would only have $100k to apply to medical bills, lost wages, etc. So, while passenger sublimits are very common, do consider the amount of sublimit you select and I’d recommend inquiring what the price would be for a higher sublimit. In many cases, higher sublimits are available for a very nominal fee!

Whether you own or rent, AOPA has the right insurance coverage to fit your budget and needs. AOPA Insurance Agency offers knowledgeable agents who can talk your language and understand your unique flying and insurance requirements. Visit for more information.

Jim Pinegar

Jim Pinegar

Vice President & Director of Operations of AOPA Insurance Services

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