Drone sales have taken off over the past couple of years, creating a dedicated cult of enthusiasts and a new breed of photographer.
Despite the success of the gadget in South Africa, however, many people overlook insurance – strange when one considers that some drones cost more than a new car.
As toys or recreational gadgets, says Ronelle Taylor of MUA Insurance Acceptance, drones should be added to an owner’s existing personal insurance policy.
While some insurers may cover drones as part of a household contents policy, however, this won’t necessarily apply when the drone is in use.
Drone-specific insurance is a different beast altogether. Most insurers, notes Taylor, will require commercial and corporate drone owners and operators to present a valid Remote Pilot License when applying.
The RPL doesn’t come easily – it involves extensive training, testing and medical tests. When combined with the cost of the various licenses needed, professionally operating a drone will set you back nearly R50 000 from the offset.
Then – and only then – can one apply for drone insurance. But is it even worthwhile?
In most cases, says Taylor, even drone-specific insurance will limit cover to theft. Damages incurred in-use often remain the operator’s problem.
There are certain exceptions. Santam offers comprehensive drone insurance in the form of an aviation policy, and Hollard will even insure against the loss of any data your drone has gathered.
Don’t expect it to be affordable, though. Just like the RPL, drone insurance will be an investment – one that only the most serious of operators will be interested in risking.
Our advice? Insure it against loss, and fly carefully.