Drone Insurance, Explained

#dronelife, baby.

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade

Drones are, admittedly, pretty awesome. But does your renters or homeowners insurance policy cover your drone? It’s a good idea to take a close look at the details of your policy, or talk to your insurance agent, because drones are very likely treated differently than other electronics you might own.

At Lemonade, for instance, drones are only covered (to a degree) in New York, California, and Virginia. If you have a renters or homeowners insurance policy with us in those states, your drone would be covered up to the personal property limit that you chose when you signed up. Drones in other states are not covered whatsoever when it comes to damage, personal liability—you fly your drone into a house and damage its roof—or anything else.

But even in New York, California, and Virginia, drones are not covered for every scenario. For instance, your policy in those three states might protect your drone against theft (at home or on-the-go) or vandalism (like if a bunch of anti-drone teens decide to smash your flying vehicle with a baseball bat). But you won’t be covered for damages that result from crashes or accidents. 

While we offer Extra Coverage for things like jewelry, art, and musical instruments, we don’t currently offer these extended protections for drones in any state.

Why aren’t drones generally covered by renters or homeowners insurance?

It’s nothing personal! Hey, we dig drones as much as the next person. They can be used to film incredible footage, or programmed to turn into remote-controlled graffiti artists. FYI, drones are also the centerpiece of one of our favorite Portlandia sketches of all time.  

So why aren’t they covered by insurance the way some other belongings would be, like your bicycle, remote-control truck, or home stereo? There’s a few reasons:

  • Drones are considered hobby aircrafts under our policy. After all, they’re often referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). 
  • They can easily be used to fly over land not owned by the insured, which could be considered trespassing or invasion of privacy, with all the potential liability that entails.
  • They can fly away on their own from the drone operator (yikes)
  • They’re pretty damn fast. Imagine a runaway drone that crashes into a person at speed, with its array of spinning propellers. That’s not going to feel great. Other belongings, like your TV set, generally aren’t flying at strangers’ heads at 20mph.
  • Drones could hit a powerline and affect an entire neighborhood’s power.
  • The fact that they’re mobile—as in, they fly—means they’re much more liable to get damaged, lost or stolen.
  • Since they’re small and expensive, drones can be extra tempting to thieves.
  • Renters and homeowners insurance generally don’t cover belongings used for professional reasons, and many commercial drones are used to shoot pro photos, videos, and so on.

Does my homeowners or renters policy cover property damage or bodily injury caused by a drone?

Your renters and homeowners insurance policy includes coverages pertaining to personal liability. For instance, you get certain protections in various scenarios—like if a friend is injured at your house during a party, or if you cause accidental property damage to someone else’s stuff.

In New York, California, and Virginia, you might be covered for physical damage or bodily injury caused by the drone itself. 

For instance, let’s say you fly your DJI Mavic Mini 2 into a neighbor’s window in Syracuse, smashing the glass. Your drone itself is trashed and smashed into a bunch of tiny pieces. While your renters or homeowners policy wouldn’t cover the DJI, it would possibly help cover the damage to your neighbor’s property. 

And if the situation is even worse—the drone crashes through the window and flies into your neighbor himself, giving him a mild concussion—your renters or homeowners policy might help cover some of the resulting medical expenses.  

Where can I get commercial drone insurance coverage, and how much will drone insurance cost?

If you fly your drone frequently—whether you’re a hobbyist or a commercial operator using it to shoot music videos—you’ll probably want to find a drone insurance policy that’s more tailored to your specific needs. 

Certain insurance companies specifically focus on the use of drones, although pricing will obviously vary based on your needs, including if you’re a drone pilot flying it for commercial use. While we’re not specifically endorsing any carrier, you might want to check out Global Aerospace, for instance, or other options like Skywatch.ai (which offers liability limits up to $10 million), or Avion Insurance, among many others


Please Note: These definitions don’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade. They are intended for educational purposes only - they’re not meant to be used in lieu of professional legal or financial advice. We’ll do our best to keep them updated, but they may not always reflect current industry developments. Feel free to use the terms with attribution (friends don’t let friends plagiarize!)

Property and casualty insurance provided by Lemonade Insurance Company, 5 Crosby St., 3rd floor, New York, NY 10013. Life Insurance provided by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, Administrative Office, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, SD 57193.

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