We’ll go into some of the technical details, but the best explanation for why aviation insurance doesn’t cover mechanical issues can probably be best summarized in this comparison: If you’re driving down the highway and your car breaks down, do you call your auto mechanic, or do you call your insurance agent? Just as with cars, mechanical wear and tear isn’t covered by insurance – at least not by the typical owner’s policy.
Now of course there are always exceptions – such as a warranty (which some may call insurance) on a new engine that covers certain mechanical items for so many months or operating hours, but by and large, items such as wear, tear, deterioration, & mechanical items aren’t covered in owners or renters policies.
Remember that insurance is to cover sudden, accidental and unexpected events. In the event of a mechanical failure, while it may be sudden, it’s not necessarily unexpected because we know that mechanical items will eventually wear out and fail. A switch or a gear actuator will only work so many times.
For fun, let’s look at a brief example of what it would look like if wear and tear were covered. But we first must remember that insurance is designed to put someone back in the place they were immediately prior to an incident. So hypothetically, if my gear actuator motor had a life span of 1,000 cycles and did in fact wear out on cycle 1,000, insurance would replace it with a 999 cycle motor – which is immediately where I was prior to the failure. If insurance did cover wear and tear and mechanical problems, your premiums would much more than they are today. Imagine all the claims that would be made on every type of issue – with sticky valves, worn out brakes, and the list would go on and on…
But of course, there is a silver lining when it comes to mechanical or wear and tear items. If a mechanical or wear and tear item leads to an accident or incident, well then coverage is likely in place. Probably best explained with an example. If my brakes are completely worn out and I am unable to stop during taxiing, resulting in my wing tip striking a hangar causing damage – if I had physical damage coverage, my policy would fix my wing - just not replace my brakes.
And more good news - if you’re flying and have a mechanical problem and are forced to have an off airport landing, your aviation insurance will likely cover transport of your airplane to a secure location. That makes sense if you think about it as the insurance company has a stake in the well-being of your airplane.
Of course, it never hurts to ask. If you have a situation with your airplane where you are unsure of coverage, go ahead and give your broker a call. That’s a good reason to have the AOPA Insurance Agency as your broker – we talk your language and understand general aviation.
Call us today 800.622.AOPA (2672) or visit aopainsurance.org., and let us give you a hand with all your insurance needs.