Drones as Recreational Toys – What you Need to Know

Drones were a hot seller this Christmas.  One estimate out of the US was that 4.3 million ‘consumer’ drones would be sold in 2015 and with Noel Leeming NZ reporting a surprising level of Christmas sales for the more premium drones ($1,399), it’s one technology toy that is seeing huge growth.

But there is an undercurrent of anxiety worldwide about drone use, primarily because they are an aircraft and present a number of safety risks.  Civil Aviation Regulators are implementing new rules to govern how they are operated and insurers are keeping a close eye on the implications of their use too.

 

Rules Drone Operators Must Follow

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand rules state you must:

  • Take all practicable steps to minimize hazards to persons, property and other aircraft (i.e., don’t do anything hazardous)
  • Fly only in daylight
  • Be able to see your aircraft with your own eyes
  • Not fly higher than 120 meters above the ground
  • Not fly closer than 4 km from any airport or airfield
  • Have consent from anyone you want to fly above
  • Have the consent of the property owner you are wanting to fly above

The rules are in place to ensure everyone in the air and on the ground, gets home safely and their aircraft is not destroyed.

 

Common accidents with drones

  • Drone fails mid flight
  • Camera or piece of drone falls off while flying
  • Drone crash lands
  • Drone damages someone’s property
  • Drone injures someone

 

Does Insurance Cover you?

A good contents insurance policy will cover you for some aspects of owing and operating a drone.  In your policy wording it will likely be treated as a remote control or radio controlled aircraft.

 

You Are Not Covered:

  • If you crash your drone
  • Your drone crash lands after failing mid-flight

It is likely you will not be covered if you become liable for damages caused without the proper consent e.g. damage caused while flying on a property without the owners consent

 

You Are Covered:

  • If your drone is stolen.  Your cover will be limited in your policy (check your limit as it may be lower than the value of your drone). 
  • For liability if you damage someone’s property
  • For liability if you injure someone

 

 

If you are operating a drone I recommend you always fly within the CAA rules and make sure you check your contents policy or talk to a broker. 


Kim Matthews

About the Author

Name: Kim Matthews        

I’m the Leader Business Development & Sales for Rothbury’s Hawke’s Bay branch. I commenced my insurance career in 1980, have an insight in to how underwriters and assessors work and I’m a business owner myself - all great…
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I’m the Leader Business Development & Sales for Rothbury’s Hawke’s Bay branch. I commenced my insurance career in 1980, have an insight in to how underwriters and assessors work and I’m a business owner myself - all great skills and experience that make me the broker I am.

I love dealing with people and I’m passionate about insurance! 

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Disclaimer: The articles published on this blog are designed to provide general information and do not take into account any individual’s particular circumstances. We recommend that you obtain professional advice on your requirements before making any decision about a financial product.

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