Much has been written lately about the aviation insurance market and all the changes that have taken place over the last two years. Most pilots would agree it hasn’t been good with big rate increases and tighter policy requirements. The most significant changes have affected mature pilots over the age of 70. Especially those who fly complex aircraft. But pilots heading into their golden years can do some things to help them continue flying while insured.
Most importantly, don’t let your coverage lapse – for any reason. Insurance carriers have different underwriting requirements for new clients versus existing clients. A lapse in your policy coverage turns you into a “new” customer and resecuring coverage could be extremely difficult or, sometimes, even impossible.
In the event your airplane is down for maintenance or you’re taking a hiatus from flying, you might consider temporarily reducing coverage. While that might be appropriate, depending upon circumstances, don’t cancel or non-renew your policy altogether. If you are going to reduce coverage from “full flight” to “storage only,” for example, make certain your broker confirms that going back to your original coverage won’t be a problem.
Another important point is not to move insurance companies to save a few dollars. Building a long-term relationship and loyalty with an underwriter increases the likelihood they will continue to offer you coverage. Strive to settle in by age 65.
Here are some other pointers for mature pilots to consider:
- Train every year, whether it’s required or not. Consider getting instrument rated, take the AOPA Accident Forgiveness courses, or get an annual Flight Review. Make sure to share these training details with your broker.
- Fly More! Underwriters want to see that you are staying current and flying frequently.
- While many insurance carriers support BasicMed, consider proactively obtaining an annual 3rd class medical.
- Consider aircraft complexity and the option to step back to a simpler and slower aircraft as you age. When purchasing a new aircraft, discuss it with your insurance broker before you buy to be sure that you can be insured in that aircraft at a premium that fits your budget.