Aviation insurance is an important consideration for all pilots. Whether you are an aviation enthusiast or a professional pilot, insurance protection should not be ignored. Knowing how and where to purchase this insurance is key in selection the right coverage for your needs. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can get from your favorite pilot store so you’ll need to do a bit of research. The choice of aviation insurance protection should be considered if you are a professional pilot providing paid pilot services to an aircraft owner as an independent contractor. Most owners of aircrafts use contract pilots as primary as-needed flight crew members when there is no regular crew.
All pilots must be approved as pilots under the insurance policy of the aircraft owner, by being named specifically as an approved pilot in the policy’s endorsement, or by meeting the stated minimum requirements of the policy (the “Open Pilot Clause“). When all pilots are approved under an insurance policy, it is only for the aircraft owner’s benefit, and not for the approved pilot. If the policy does not provide approval for the pilot, a denial of coverage could be applied on the aircraft owner if any loss occurs.
When operating an aircraft, there are two areas of exposure all pilots have. These are (1) physical damage to the operated aircraft, and (2) liability for bodily injury or for damage to property (damage caused by the pilot to other people’s property).
Protecting Yourself through Aviation Insurance
To protect yourself, you should buy your own insurance plan, which covers your exposures when operating an aircraft not owned by you. It is impossible or difficult to get that type of coverage, and is usually expensive.
The best way of protecting yourself is when you buy coverage under the policy of the aircraft owner. For the property damage liability and bodily injury exposures, you need to be included as an additional “Insured” under the insurance policy of the owner. This is done through the company-issued endorsement. Being included as an additional insured under the liability plan supersedes any contrary of the policy’s provisions, like the exclusionary wording which describes who does not have any protection.
What would happen if you caused damage to the aircraft operated by you? You need to have an agreement with the owner of the aircraft, wherein the owner agrees that you will not be held responsible for damage caused by you to the aircraft. The insurance policy will then require the owner to make the insurance company to know of the agreement. After the insurer gives an approval, an endorsement will be issued, with the rights of recovery against you being waived for the aircraft’s damage.
Certificate of Insurance
To confirm that the insurer has agrees to give you protection, a Certificate of Insurance will be issued to you, stating that you are an additional insured. It will also state the waiver of subrogation, and that it has been agreed that you be given a prior written notice of 30 days if the policy is cancelled by the company.
Different ways are used by companies in requesting protection for a contract pilot. Some companies do not mention the name of the specific contract pilot, but will only disclose the name of the company providing professional pilot services. Additional premium is charge by some insurers, while others do not; while there are some who refuse the protection.