Many pilots are curious about whether their own primary aircraft insurance covers them when they rent or borrow an airplane. Most policies cover your liability and hull coverage if you are an individual or, one individual and spouse, for aircraft that are similar in seats, gear type and value. If you have any doubt whatsoever about whether you are covered, when you are flying an airplane other than your own, check with your insurance agent. Lots of factors, some you may never have thought of, are at work to decide if you are covered. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some scenarios from real-life experiences to make you aware of when you may be at risk.
Scenario #1: You are bringing a bunch of friends to an out-of-state football game. Your airplane can’t carry all the passengers so you ask a friend with a larger airplane if you can borrow his airplane for this day trip. Chances are this would not be covered under your aircraft policy because the seat and gear type may be different than your current aircraft.
Scenario #2: You are on vacation in Hawaii. The scenery is so lavish that you decide to rent an airplane and get a bird’s-eye-view of the islands. You would likely rent from an FBO who would have requirements for you to meet, possibly including a check ride. You would be covered on most policies for at least the hull coverage of your policy, and the liability would be the same as your coverage. You must check your policy for restrictions.
There’s no hard and fast answers to these scenarios – it depends on the exact wording in your policy, but bear in mind that even if you are covered under your own policy for any of these flights, you must also be covered by the policy associated with any airplane you’re flying.
- Do you meet the approved pilot section? That’s a question you need to answer. The Approved Pilot Section has two sections in your aircraft insurance policy that indicates who is covered flying this airplane. Of course, the first section is the “Named Pilot” section – that spells out by exact name the pilots who are approved by the insurance company to fly the airplane.
- The second section is the Open Pilot Warranty. Your policy may not use that exact phrase, but what you look for on your policy is a description of the qualifications of a pilot that are necessary to be covered. A typical Open Pilot Warranty may read: Any Private Pilot or better with 500 hours as pilot-in-command, and 50 hours in the make and model of this airplane. Some policies have other restrictions in their Open Pilot Warranty and include requirements as to the number of seats, the horsepower of the engine or the gross weight of an airplane.
The same rules hold true in reverse – if you let someone fly your airplane, you must be equally vigilant to protect yourself and your airplane. If you have questions, check with your agent before you make that flight.
For more information or a quote on aircraft insurance, talk to AssuredPartners Aerospace 800.622.2672, or visit www.ap-aerospace.com/own.