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Who Can Fly My Airplane?

A common theme of aircraft insurance coverage denials stems from having an unapproved pilot at the controls. As an owner of an aircraft, it’s important you identify the pilots who regularly fly your aircraft and name them on your insurance policy to help avoid these type of issues should there be a claim. The last thing any aircraft owner wants to hear is that a claim is not covered. AssuredPartners Aerospace, AOPA’s strategic partner for aviation insurance, recommends that all owners and those who have regular access to fly the aircraft be identified and listed on the insurance policy as named pilots.

While a pilot may be flying appropriately based on the FAA requirements, the insurance policy requirements may be different from, and often exceed, FAA standards. Such things as total time, time in type, recency of experience, recurrent training and related items are usually spelled out very specifically in the policy. Prior to flight, the owner of the aircraft needs to verify the pilot meets all the policy requirements.

Some aircraft insurance policies are ‘Named Pilots Only’. This means that if the pilot is not specifically named on the policy there is no coverage. Other policies have an ‘Open Plot Warranty’ (OPW) which is a clause that allows pilots with certain minimum qualifications to fly the aircraft on an occasional basis without being specifically endorsed on the policy as a Named Pilot. The OPW provides some operational flexibility in case an aircraft owner needs the aircraft relocated or otherwise flown whenever they are unable to do so themselves.

The OPW is not meant to cover pilots who have regular access to fly the aircraft, instead it is to be used for those ‘ad-hoc’ occasions when you need a pilot to fly your aircraft. The OPW also isn’t a place to ‘hide’ a pilot with less experience or advanced age. It is best to be transparent with your insurance broker as to who is flying the aircraft to ensure your insurance policy provides you with the proper protection.

AssuredPartners Aerospace understands the complexities of the aviation insurance policy and can assist you with getting the coverage you need. Visit us at and let us help you navigate the insurance market.

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