By: Victoria Neuville
When I started flight lessons in 2005, I’d simply show up to the airport, fly, and go home. I trusted my CFI to guide me through my certification and for my flight school to have everything in order. Fancy words such as ‘indemnity’ and ‘subrogation’ were not in my vocabulary. Filled with an eagerness to learn and an excitement for the skies, the ‘what ifs’ never crossed my mind. I never took a moment to consider the ramifications if I were to damage a rented aircraft, or worse, someone was injured due to my piloting actions. Several ratings later, I found myself newly employed at an aviation insurance company and boy were my eyes opened!
For those that were curious, indemnity is defined as “security or protection against a loss or other financial burden”. Indemnity is insurance! But did I need insurance as a renter pilot?
Let’s say I was on my first solo, flared too high, and slammed the aircraft into the ground causing a prop strike. My ego is bruised and the plane is damaged. The flight school has an insurance policy so they’ll pay for it, right? Yes…but:
- There could be a deductible, let’s say it’s $2,500. That flight school will receive a payment to repair the damage of the aircraft minus that $2,500 deductible. It will be up to the flight school to foot the rest of the bill. Maybe they are very nice and have no problem with that. Or, more likely, make you responsible for that $2,500 balance. If you had a non-owned aircraft insurance policy, that could be helpful in this scenario!
- It’s time for my second fancy word: subrogation. The flight school’s insurance carrier determines the aircraft damage was your responsibility. They may go after you to recover the claim they paid out to your school. It would be very comforting to have an insurance policy to pay that claim (and provide your defense) versus having to pay out of pocket.
A wing struck a vehicle, student ran off runway, the aircraft had poor braking action on ice and hit a sign; all these are examples of non-owned aircraft insurance claims I have seen paid out over the past nine years at Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR). When learning to fly these are all incidents I didn’t think about but I certainly do now. A non-owned insurance policy provides comfort knowing that if an accident were to occur, I’d have a carrier ready to defend the loss versus impacting my financial status.
You can purchase non-owned insurance for less than the cost of an hour with a lawyer! All it takes is a visit to the Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR) website and you can quote and begin aircraft renter’s coverage online in as little as 5 minutes! Any questions? Drop myself or one of the other pilots and agents at AIR a line today at 301-682-6200!