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Drones: Big Buzzing Bugs or Fantastic Flying Fairies?


Drones: Big Buzzing Bugs or Fantastic Flying Fairies?

Published Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Love them or hate them?  It seems like people fall into one of the two camps when it comes to drones.  Those that love them embrace the futuristic concept of front door delivery, “eyes in the sky” that show us a whole new world, and the ability to safely see into dangerous spaces.  Those that hate them resent the invasion of privacy—it’s a camera on you, your family, your property, and you may not even know it.  But for those of us who were around for the advent of texting (that’s a fad!), apps (why would I need those?), and countless others, we can pretty much bet that drones are here to stay…and just beginning.

So before you shoot down the drone that’s hovering over your property or go buy one to start your own drone business, you might want to familiarize yourself with the rules that govern drones.  (Yes, the FAA’s flying rules apply to drones.) 

Operating a drone as a business:

  • You have to be over 16 and speak English.
  • You need a drone operator certificate and must pass an FAA test.
  • The drone must be registered with the FAA (a mere $5.)
  • The drone must have aircraft markings and weigh less than 55 pounds.

Taking photos with your drone and selling them?
  You just started a business.  This constitutes a commercial operation, so make sure you’re complying with the FAA rules.

Good things to know about drones:

  • Professional or amateur, a drone operator cannot fly the drone over people or cars.
  • In fact, the drone must be at least 25 feet away from people.
  • People have a right to expect privacy, so drones cannot capture images without the owner’s permission.
  • Neither can drones fly over infrastructure (power stations) or within five miles of an airport.

Now, when that drone violates these rules, it is still not ok for you to shoot it down!  It’s a federal crime to shoot an aircraft, and a drone is a recognized aircraft.

Is my drone insured?

  • Because a drone is a “motorized craft,” it is NOT insured under your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
  • If you are accused of violating someone’s privacy with your drone or damaged someone’s property, etc., through use of your drone, coverage isn’t guaranteed. Some carriers offer coverage; others exclude it.  Best to call us for a review of your specific policy.
  • If you have a commercial drone for your business, consider aviation-specific insurance products.

Did reading this article raise more questions than answers?  If so, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.  We’ll be able to review your specific policy and give you a personalized analysis of coverage for your drone.

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