Your Airplane May Be Worth More than You ThinkYour Airplane May Be Worth More than You Think

The value of your airplane has likely risen in the past 12-24 months. Yes, that’s right, your aviation asset has increased in value! This good news brings the responsibility to reflect for a moment to ensure that you are adequately protected.

With this increase in value, you may want to consider increasing your insurance coverage so your assets are protected.


One reason for increasing values is due to changes in medical regulations. As you have likely heard, a 3rd class medical is no longer required to fly certain aircraft. That means a lot of pilots have rejoined the skies and are buying aircraft! Under 3rd class medical reform, many aircraft fit into the BasicMed category – airplanes like the Cessna 172 and Cherokee 140, for example. And we know from economics, where there is more demand, there’s more value, and increased pricing.


Then there’s the ADS-B requirement. Now many airplanes are ADS-B compliant and that alone has increased the value of your airplane due to the funds spent for this next generation upgrade. In addition to ADS-B, many have taken advantage of the new STCs available for other safety enhancing avionic upgrades. You’ve invested that money in your airplane, you’ve increased your airplane’s utility, so your plane is likely worth more.


There’s more good news. You don’t have to pay a hefty fee to check your aircraft’s value. As an AOPA member, you have free access to VREF. That’s a service that provides a ball park of values for aircraft – VREF stands for Aircraft Value Reference.


But you need to go one step further to be an informed owner. Because there are so many variables in valuing any aircraft, as good as VREF is, it can only give you an approximate value, a starting point. You should also check some of the internet sites which list aircraft for sale and try to find an airplane that looks like yours – similar history (no accidents, always hangared, for example), similar hours, and similar equipment and see what your airplane is worth. If you are like me, you’re always shopping for your next aircraft, so you are probably very familiar with many of these popular websites.


My personal experience bears this out. When selling my airplane last year, I learned its value had increased substantially and the airplane sold in a week. So, if your insurance agent suggests increasing the insured value of your aircraft, he is not just trying to raise your premium – he’s looking out for you and your airplane. Everyone dreads a serious loss, but when the insurance limit doesn’t provide enough to replace that aircraft – well, you might imagine that’s a rough day. So please, make sure your coverage will adequately cover what it takes to replace your aircraft. 


One insider’s tip: Because of price breaks at certain insurance values, you may pay less for more coverage. It’s not uncommon for the insurance companies to provide breaks at certain hull values of aircraft. For example, $80,000 in coverage might cost less than coverage for $76,000.  The carriers don’t share when the price breaks happen, so don’t be afraid to ask for the price on a little more insurance coverage.


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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