Drones were once something you only saw in science fiction movies, but today, it’s not unusual to see them used in commercial operations or even hovering around in your backyard. While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t require drone insurance (as of May 2021), accidents do happen, and if there’s a liability issue, it could cost you big.
The best drone insurance allows you to purchase coverage hourly, monthly, or annually. It also lets you buy coverage through a mobile app, so you can get coverage the moment you need it. Policies also include liability and hull protection that guards against mishaps, whether they happen in the air or on the ground.
Best Overall : SkyWatch.AI
- Price: Rates from $7 an hour to $500 a year
- Policy Types: Hourly, monthly, annual plans
- Coverage Limit: $10 million max liability limit
SkyWatch.AI provides three plan options (hourly, monthly, annually) to give you the type of coverage you need when you need it. Safe pilots also can receive up to a 30% discount and they provide discounts on hull coverage and equipment, making their policies some of the most affordable plans out there.
Flexible coverage options
Reduced hull rates
Discounts for safe pilots
No international coverage
Hourly policy only covers specified areas and flight risks
Founded in 2016, Skywatch.AI began as a project to assess drone flight risks and provide safety scores for flight operators. As the project evolved, the company turned its attention toward drone insurance.
Unlike some aviation insurance companies that offer policies for drones, planes, and other types of aircraft, SkyWatch.AI only offers drone insurance. The company also lets you choose hourly, monthly, or annual coverage, allowing you to choose how much coverage you want and how much you want to pay.
Coverage starts at $7 per flight for hourly coverage, with monthly plans ranging from $42 to $208. Annual plans are also available, starting at around $500. Liability coverage ranges from $500,000 to $10 million.
Although monthly and annual plans provide nationwide coverage, hourly plans only cover specific areas that you include when you purchase your plan. Since you can purchase plans on their mobile app, you can easily buy the hourly coverage you need, even when you’re on the go.
SkyWatch.AI does let you get an insurance quote on their website, but you’ll need to give them your drone registration or serial number to apply for coverage.
Best for Hobbyists : Thimble
- Rates: Start at $11.70 an hour, $93 monthly, and $995 annually
- Policy Types: Hourly, monthly, or annual plans
- Coverage Limits: Up to $2 million in general and professional liability
Thimble lets you purchase drone insurance as you need it and gives you proof of purchase immediately by displaying your coverage on their app. Simply tell them where you want to fly and they’ll give you the price. This is good for hobbyists who want to get coverage quickly only when they need it.
Mobile app makes it easy to get quote online
Covers any drone that meets policy’s weight limit
Policies apply to any location where flights are allowed
App required to buy insurance
Hourly insurance doesn’t protect business equipment
General and professional liability coverage caps at $2 million
Thimble began in 2016 as a company named Verifly to offer liability insurance to drone operators. Today, the company provides insurance for over 100 small business professions.
Thimble offers on-demand drone insurance perfect for hobbyists who don’t need coverage all of the time, but only if decide to fly their drone at the last minute. Just answer a few questions about the coverage you want and how long you need it and the amount you pay displays immediately on Thimble’s app.
Although the company does offer monthly and annual coverage, general and liability coverage caps at $2 million. Monthly rates start around $93 a month and annual around $995 a year. Hourly amounts vary, but start around $11.70 an hour and upward, depending on how much time you choose. Time is chosen in blocks and starts immediately as soon as you pay.
Best for Drone Liability : BWI Fly
- Rates: Not available without a drone serial number
- Policy Types: Monthly and annual plans
- Coverage limits: $500,000 to $25 million
BWI Fly offers full liability coverage limits starting at $500,000 and up to $25 million, which is higher than most of the coverages offered by its competitors.
Liability coverage up to $25 million
Offers monthly and annual plans
Add-ons allow you to customize your policy
Does not provide on-demand or hourly coverage
Quotes not available without serial number
BWI Fly was established in 1977 and is considered one of the leaders in the aviation industry. In addition to drone insurance, BWI provides aviation insurance for everything from aircraft to flight schools.
Although the company mainly deals in commercial insurance, individuals can purchase policies too. It’s not possible to get a quote without providing the serial number of your drone, but BWI Fly claims to offer between $500,000 to $25 million in liability coverage. You can also purchase a variety of add-ons, including optional coverage for physical damage, theft, loss of use, and attached equipment or payloads.
BWI Fly also provides coverage for advertising liability that protects against claims of stolen ideas, invasion of privacy, libel, slander, and copyright infringement related to advertising.
Best for Customization : DroneInsurance.com
- Rates: Must apply to receive a quote
- Policy Types: Hourly, monthly, yearly
- Coverage Limits: $1 million to $25 million
DroneInsurance.com allows you to choose the kind of coverage you want and offers two layers of protection. Start with a base layer of protection that covers your drone when it's not in the air, then choose how many drones you want to cover and the amount of flight liability coverage.
Sample pricing online
$1 million to $25 million flight liability coverage
Hourly, monthly, yearly coverage
Must apply to receive a quote
No mobile app
DroneInsurance.com was founded in 2015 and officially launched in 2018. The company’s website runs on REIN, an insurance technology platform specifically designed to allow users to manage their drone insurance needs efficiently and cost-effectively.
Unlike some drone insurance companies, DroneInsurance.com lets you layer your coverage so that you get exactly the amount of coverage you need. Plans start with base coverage at $7.07 per month which protects your drone if it is damaged or stolen when it's not in the air. This base protection also covers third-party liability, premises liability, and personal and advertising liability.
Choose the number of drones you want to cover and add flight liability coverage starting at $30.30 per day, $226.50 per month, or $605.90 per year. You can also choose how long you want your insurance to run, from one day to 30 days, 90 days, or even a year.
The DroneInsurance.com platform enables users to adjust Flight Liability Coverage amounts in $1,000,000 increments from $1 million to $25 million. The company also allows you to choose physical damage protection for an additional cost that covers damage or theft when not in flight or in flight when you choose flight liability coverage.
Best for Contractors : USAIG
- Rates: Must provide information to get a quote
- Policy Types: Tailored to specific needs
- Coverage Limits: No online quote option
United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) focuses on the specific types of drone coverage that a contractor might need, including war liability and terrorism risk insurance as well as coverage for large drones performing special missions.
Unique commercial and business coverage options
Drone safety and compliance resources and services
Must provide a lot of information for a quote
No mobile app
No pricing information
USAIG was founded in 1928, making it one of the oldest aviation insurance providers in existence. Although we’ve included it as our top drone insurance company for contractors, USAIG is not a single insurance company, nor are they a corporation that sells insurance. Instead, they are a pool of highly-rated property and casualty insurance and reinsurance companies that insure aircraft in the United States and Canada. USAIG manages this pool and underwrites the policies on behalf of its members.
USAIG primarily focuses on providing coverage for commercial and government entities. This makes it a good option for contractors who may find themselves operating drones in international territories where there is often a greater risk for a drone to lose its payload or suffer physical damage through the actions of a third party.
Since the company allows you to tailor policies to your specific needs, you can structure your policy for things like physical damage, third-party liability, loss of payload, product liability for owned unmanned aircraft, terrorism acts, and more. When inquiring about coverage, you will need to speak to an actual agent to provide information about your company, the drones you want to insure, and the specific type of coverage you need.
All of the drone insurance companies we reviewed offer a fair amount of liability coverage and protection, but overall, the best drone insurance for offering hourly, monthly, and annual coverage, as well as significant liability coverage is SkyWatch.IA.
In addition to its hourly, monthly, and annual drone insurance coverage, SkyWatch.IA. allows you to customize your liability insurance coverage to help manage costs and offers up to a 30% discount on renewals if you remain accident-free.
Compare the Best Drone Insurance Companies
|Company||Cost||Policy Options||Maximum Policy Options||Customer Service|
|Skywatch.IA Best Overall||$7 hourly, $42 to $208 monthly, $500+ annually||Liability ($500k to $10 million), hull and equipment damage||Hourly, monthly, annually||Online, email, phone|
|Thimble Best for Hobbyists||Hourly (varies by coverage), $93 monthly, or $995 annually||Liability ($10 million limit)||Hourly, monthly, annually||Online chat; no phone service|
|BWI Fly Best For Drone Liability||Online quote not available without drone serial number||Liability (up to $25 million), hull and equipment damage||Hourly, annually||Online, phone, email|
|DroneInsurance.com Best for Customization||No online quote option||Liability ($1 million to $25 million)||Hourly, monthly, annually||Online, phone|
|USIAG Best for Contractors||No online quote option||Liability, hull, and equipment damage||Contact for details||Phone|
What to Look for in Drone Insurance
Quite a few insurance companies now offer drone insurance, but not every company offers hourly, monthly, and annual coverage. Liability coverage amounts can also vary greatly depending on the policy. Here’s what to look for in drone insurance:
- Liability protection amounts: How much liability coverage do you need? Most drone insurance companies offer policies that cover up to at least $1 million in liability protection. Consider the areas you will fly your drone in. If there is a greater risk of property or physical damage, you may wish to purchase liability coverage of up to $10 million or higher.
- Hull and equipment damage: Are your drone and equipment protected only in flight, or are they also protected on the ground? Some policies only cover liability issues, while other policies cover damage to the drone itself and the ground equipment that operates the drone.
- Length of policy: How often do you plan to fly your drone? If you’re a “fair weather” flyer, you may find that you can save money by having a policy that lets you pay just for the hour or two that you fly your drone. If you plan to fly your drone more often, you may find you save money by paying for a policy that covers you by the month or year.
- Mobile app availability: Can you access your insurance policy information on the go? Several companies offer mobile apps that allow you to purchase hourly coverage or modify your coverage needs immediately with just a few swipes on your phone. If you like to fly your drone spontaneously, search for a policy that offers a mobile app that can give you confirmation of coverage within minutes if not seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Drone Insurance as a Hobbyist?
The Federal Aviation Administration does not require drone insurance for hobbyists. However, accidents do happen, and drone insurance is a good way to protect yourself against damage and liability claims.
Are Drones Covered by Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance?
Some home insurance companies provide coverage for drones, but the amount of coverage can vary and you may find your carrier does not offer coverage in certain states. You should check with your insurance provider to see if you are covered.
Is Drone Insurance Worth It?
A good rule of thumb is that the higher the cost of your drone, the more sense it makes to have your drone covered. Drone prices can range from as low as $40 to over $2,000 and beyond.
What you plan to do with your drone can also affect the type of coverage you may need. If you plan to fly it competitively or in areas where there is a greater chance of a liability issue (such as near power lines or in highly populated areas), the cost of drone insurance may be worth it.
What Kind of Insurance Do I Need for a Drone?
If you plan to use your drone for commercial endeavors, a policy for general liability is highly recommended. This covers claims that involve bodily injury and property damage while operating a drone.
You may also wish to purchase additional insurance that covers physical damage to the hull of your drone, onboard accessories such as cameras, and ground equipment coverage, which protects ground stations, laptops, ground controllers, and UAV cases.
We evaluated more than a dozen drone insurance companies before making our final selections. We evaluated elements such as the types of policies offered, policy costs, and how soon a policy goes into effect once it’s purchased.
In addition, we looked at the ease with which hourly insurance can be purchased since many hobbyists prefer this type of coverage.