Insuring your private aircraft -Why and How

There are many people who own private aircraft. Most of them believe that they do not need insurance coverage, because they reason that if something happens to the airplane while they are flying it, their homeowners policy will cover the loss.

This type of reasoning is a mistake. While your homeowner’s policy may cover some types of losses, it usually will not cover an incident involving your private aircraft.

For example, suppose you owned a Cessna 172 and kept it in a hangar at an airport in the suburbs of Chicago. One day you and three friends decided to fly to New York City for dinner and a show. On your way back home, while flying over West Virginia, your engine loses power and you are forced to make an emergency landing in a farmer’s field. Unfortunately, the landing gear collapses upon impact and the airplane is substantially damaged.

The next day you notify your homeowner’s insurance company about the accident. You find out that you are only covered up to $1,000 for “aircraft damage” under your homeowner’s policy – but the repairs to you airplane will cost $40,000!

When you own your own aircraft, you have the freedom to fly when and where you want. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a trip around the world, you can be sure that your plane is ready to go when you are.

But what happens if something goes wrong? Without proper insurance coverage, repairing damage to your aircraft can quickly become an expensive problem. That’s why many aircraft owners invest in private aircraft insurance.

Why do I need insurance for my plane?

Most states require that all aircraft carry liability insurance. But liability coverage doesn’t protect your plane – it only protects others who might be injured by your aircraft. For complete protection, it’s important to have both liability and physical damage coverage.

What types of coverage are available?

Private plane insurance policies can be customized to meet your specific needs. Some of the most common types of coverage include:

● Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage provides protection from loss or damage caused by an accident, vandalism, fire or other covered incidents.

● Collision Coverage provides protection for loss or damage due to collision with another object (such as another plane) or by upset (when an aircraft loses control during flight).

● Liability Coverage helps protect you from claims

If you are looking for insurance for your private aircraft, you have probably already considered several factors.

The first factor to consider is the type of aircraft that you own.

For example, if you own a piston engine aircraft it will be cheaper to insure than a turbine engine aircraft.

This is because a piston engine aircraft is less costly than a turbine engine aircraft and thus there is less risk involved in insuring it.

Turbo propeller engines are much more expensive and they can also cause more damage in an accident.

Therefore the insurance rates are higher on this type of engine.

In addition to the type of engine your aircraft has, you should also consider the total amount of coverage that you need.

The common rule of thumb when purchasing any type of insurance is to purchase enough to offset your losses.

This may seem obvious but many people do not stop to actually calculate what their losses would be if their plane was destroyed or damaged beyond repair in an accident.

Therefore it is important to determine how much coverage you really need before you go shopping for insurance policies.

The aviation insurance market is under pressure as a result of recent events, including the 11 September attacks and the global recession. In this article, Simon Wainwright of Simmons & Simmons considers the issues facing prospective charterers looking to charter their private aircraft.

In an increasingly connected world, it is not uncommon for business people to fly on private aircraft to attend meetings and close deals. The role of such aircraft has developed from being an exclusive tool for the elite to a valuable business tool in its own right – one that can provide a competitive advantage by enabling clients and business partners to be visited at short notice, often in more remote locations than are possible with scheduled flights.

The insurance implications of chartering an aircraft are complex and should be considered carefully before taking a decision on chartering a private jet. The following article looks at some of the issues facing those looking to charter their private aircraft and considers the options open to them and the relevant insurance considerations.

Chartering an aircraft can be a cost effective way to travel with family, friends or colleagues and can offer a more efficient journey than flying commercially.

Private jets operate from airfields that are close to city centres therefore you save time by avoiding connecting flights and busy airports. Chartering a private jet means you are in control of your own schedule and can depart when you want, where you want.

An aircraft is considered a “private” aircraft when it is used for non-commercial purposes – whether or not the operator is paid for their services (i.e. if they act as pilot). Therefore underwriters refer to this type of insurance as “Private Aircraft Insurance”.

An aircraft being used for commercial purposes (i.e. the operator is being paid) would be referred to as “Commercial Aircraft Insurance”. This may include pleasure flights, sightseeing flights or chartering/leasing the aircraft with or without crew.

Aviation insurance can be as broad or specific as you want. There are policies that cover liability and property damage, private passenger protection, or flight instructor protection. In addition, the insurance company may require additional safety measures and training to be completed by your pilot in order to maintain coverage.

While insurance premiums are generally lower for charter aircraft, the cost of business aviation insurance is affected by a number of factors including:

* type of aircraft

* age of aircraft

* usage (personal vs commercial)

* pilot experience/training

* frequency of flights

* geographic operation limits

* claim history

Aircraft insurance is a highly specialized form of insurance. The aviation insurance industry is made up of companies that have experience in the risks associated with aviation.

The aircraft owner can obtain insurance coverage for various losses associated with owning and operating an aircraft:

– Airframe hull, engine and other component parts

– Avionics equipment (in most cases)

– Liability to third parties for injuries or property damage

– Damage to passengers’ baggage and/or cargo

– Personal injury liability coverage for bodily injury or death of passengers

– Medical payments to passengers for expenses associated with medical treatment following an accident

– Operational liability coverage for the insured’s legal liability arising out of his own operations (as opposed to the liability of others for which coverage is provided under the public liability section of the policy). This includes liability associated with operations performed at airports.

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