Aviation Law Articles
Aviation and Insurance
Don’t Go It Alone
Try as you might to avoid them, accidents do happen. When aircraft accidents do occur, as you (hopefully) can only imagine, the costs in terms of life, injury and/or property damage can be extremely high. That is why, although you cannot entirely control mishaps, you can, to a great extent, control the expense and potential personal loss to you by purchasing as much protection as possible.
Insurance coverage for liability exposure and legal defense should be very high on your check list. If you are an aircraft owner and there is an accident causing injury and/or property damage, you may have statutory liability of $15,000.00 and $5,000.00, respectively, even if you have minimal personal responsibility. Of course, if your plane is damaged, you will want it repaired or, at least, declared a total loss so you can purchase a replacement aircraft with so-called “hull” insurance proceeds. Make sure you are not under insured (below the value of the aircraft).
Also, make sure that all insurance policy conditions are met. For example, make sure only approved pilots are flying the airplane and that the aircraft and pilot are current. That is because you may be very unhappy if an insurance company denies coverage because the pilot was not approved or without a current medical or biennial review or because the airplane is beyond its required annual inspection certification.
Lastly, if you are not an aircraft owner, you should carry a non-owner’s liability policy that is offered by many of the carriers. At the very least, you should purchase prepaid legal services to obtain representation, if necessary, oftentimes at a reduced rate. These are similar to A.o.P.A.’s legal service plan for certificate and related actions.
Whatever you do, do not go it alone!
by Richard T. Miller, Specialist in Aviation Law – (818) 994-8234