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DRONE AERIAL INSURANCE COVERAGE


Selecting the appropriate insurance and determining the right coverage can be confusing. Many farm insurance agents claim that they can provide coverage for drones, but that is not the case. Once the drone is airborne, it no longer qualifies under most farm policies and requires a separate aerial policy for each drone. The following information will help you understand the insurance you need.

AND CROP SPRAYING LIABILITY: CAN CHEMICAL DRIFT TURN INTO A LAWSUIT

Drones are revolutionizing aerial applications, but even with careful planning, things can go wrong. Chemical drift, where your aerial application moves off-target, can have severe consequences for you and your neighbors. Drone insurance explicitly tailored for agricultural spraying is crucial for mitigating these risks.

UNDERSTANDING CHEMICAL DRIFT

Chemical drift can occur due to various factors:

  • Wind: Even a slight breeze can carry spray droplets far away.

  • Temperature Inversions: Weather conditions can trap chemicals near the ground, leading to drift.

  • Equipment Malfunction: Faulty nozzles or incorrect calibration can lead to uneven application.

  • Pilot Error: Inexperience or incorrect procedures can cause drift.

THE COST OF A DRIFT INCIDENT

Drift lawsuits can be devastating. Here’s what you might face:

  • Crop Damage: Neighboring farmers could sue for lost yield or reduced crop value.

  • Environmental Harm: Drift could contaminate waterways or harm wildlife.

  • Health Concerns: Exposure to chemicals can lead to health claims.

  • Legal fees: Defending yourself in court is expensive, even if you win.

DRONE INSURANCE: YOUR FINANCIAL SHIELD

Liability insurance designed for agricultural spraying operations helps protect you by:

  • Covering Neighbor’s Losses: Policies can cover the cost of damage to neighboring crops caused by drift.

  • Legal Defense: Insurance can help pay for attorneys if you’re facing a lawsuit.

  • Environmental Liability: Some policies offer coverage for cleanup costs or fines due to environmental damage.

MINIMIZING DRIFT RISKS

Prevention is always better than a lawsuit. Follow these tips to reduce drift:

  • Check the weather: Avoid spraying during high winds or temperature inversions.

  • Choose the right chemicals: Opt for less volatile products when possible.

  • Equipment calibration: Ensure nozzles are working correctly and application rates are accurate.

  • Follow label instructions: Always read and adhere to the pesticide label for safe application guidelines.

HULL INSURANCE: PROTECTING YOUR INVESTMENT

Think of hull insurance as similar to collision insurance or comprehensive coverage for your car. It covers the physical drone itself in these scenarios:

  • Crashes: Damage from accidents or pilot error.

  • Weather events: Damage from hail, lightning, wind, etc.

  • Theft or vandalism: Protection if your drone is stolen.

  • Malfunctions: Sometimes covers electrical or mechanical failures.

LIABILITY INSURANCE: PROTECTING OTHERS (AND YOURSELF)

Liability insurance protects you financially if your drone causes damage to another person’s property or if someone is injured during your drone operations. Liability insurance might include:

  • Property damage: If your drone crashes into a neighbor’s barn.

  • Bodily injury: If your drone injures a farmworker or bystander.

  • Pesticide drift: Liability if the chemicals you’re spraying damage neighboring crops.

Selecting the appropriate insurance and determining the right coverage can be confusing. Many farm insurance agents claim that they can provide coverage for drones, but that is not the case. Once the drone is airborne, it no longer qualifies under most farm policies and requires a separate aerial policy for each drone. The following information will help you understand the insurance you need.


As a U.PASS Board Member, please reach out and I will be glad to address any questions to help you better understand how to stay protected.

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