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Flight Insurance offered by the AMA

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by Skynet1, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Skynet1

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    I recently had read some information regarding flight insurance coverage offered by the Association of Model Aeronautics here in the States to club members, however I was wondering if anyone had personally had the occasion to file a claim thru the AMA or was aware of someone who had, basically to determine the pros and cons if any to there insurance claim process.

    I had placed a call into the AMA today and spoke to one of the customer service reps. regarding the ins. coverage offered, and found it was provided as a secondary, or excess insurance to the members primary homeowners, renters, health, or automobile ins. policy, and so long as all safety guidelines as outlined by the AMA were adhered to at the time of the incident, there shouldn't be an issue with filing a claim.
    While the insurance sounded reasonable at the cost of membership, I was more curious if anyone here on the forum and as a AMA member had the occasion to use the accident or theft insurance coverage offered.

    As far as FAA guidelines, they clearly state you should not fly at altitudes above 400 Ft. or beyond LOS, and not within (5) miles of a major airport. That proper notifications should be made to the appropriate control tower personnel when flying within similar parameters to other small airfields and airports, this if I had understood correctly.
    That you are not to fly over unprotected people, vessels, vehicles, or structures, or near manned aircraft, and shall avoid the endangerment of life and property..
    You are definitely not to fly within National Park facilities or other restricted venues as deemed applicable to your local jurisdiction. This coupled with new FAA regulations on the horizon makes me wonder why I would need any insurance at all.
    The only authorized place to fly will be at some remote uninhabited location. So who will get accidently injured. : )

    For those who care to read up on this particular topic, here are a few links which outline AMA insurance, and safety guidelines.

    http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/105.pdf
    http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/Howt ... aclaim.pdf
    http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/Insu ... embers.pdf[/b]
     
  2. msinger

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    This requirement will probably nearly make this insurance unusable by anyone that is not flying at an R/C club.
     
  3. GoodnNuff

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    There is no requirement to be flying at an RC club. Only to be flying within the AMA's guidelines. They would have to prove you weren't following their guidelines. You can google cases where they have paid out claims, and those who've used it seem happy.
     
  4. msinger

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    Correct -- there is no R/C club requirement. However, their strict guidelines are modeled after the sterile environment found at R/C clubs. Environments like that do not exist in most place where people are flying.
     
  5. GoodnNuff

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    I've heard that even homeowner's insurance companies will not honor liability claims (this is regarding fixed wing RC planes) if they deem you are flying recklessly. I imagine they would give the same scrutiny to a claim involving a drone. Not sure whose criteria they would base "safe flying" on, the AMA's or the FAA's guidelines, but they are both about the same, aren't they?
     
  6. msinger

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    GoodnNuff, it would be best to ask your insurance company directly. I doubt all will handle these claims the same way.
     
  7. Skynet1

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    These were my thoughts exactly, or environments interestingly enough to consider aerial photography for the most part. : )
     
  8. Vas Deferens

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    I'd be real careful about asking your insurance company questions like that.

    Better to read your policy or have an attorney read it for you so that you are clear on the exclusions.

    The drawback to calling up your insurance company and asking, is just from your asking, they could draw that you are an unacceptable risk to them and take steps to cancel you. Do know that in some states, insurance companies can cancel your policy at their discretion.

    I've seen people have auto insurance policies cancelled after calling up and asking if they would be covered for any off road activities such as auto cross and performance driving schools.
     
  9. Mopar Bob

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    If you read any of their ads, they specifically state that you are covered anywhere you fly. Even your back yard. The caveat is that you need to fly within their safety guidelines. And the safety guidelines make a lot of sense to most pilots.
     
  10. msinger

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    All pilots who hand catch are not covered by this insurance.

    Also, pilots must establish a safety line.

    I'm guessing these two rules alone are going to exclude most of those sensible pilots.
     
    doomclam likes this.
  11. K9pilot

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    What other flight insurance options are there? Is there a list of insurance providers that cover R/C aircraft?
     
  12. MapMaker53

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    When I fly at a site, my "safety line" is usually the property fence, which I do not fly beyond.
    And if I've caught my Phantom by hand, I obviously have not crashed it or caused any property damage.

    I carry the extra $2.5M AMA insurance in the event I have a flyaway that goes out of my control, travels beyond my established safety line, and causes property damage or bodily injury to someone -- the same as any AMA member flying his rc plane at an AMA sanctioned field or event who loses signal and his aircraft flies beyond the field and safety line and crashes God knows where. I also choose to be an AMA member because I think it is helpful to show that I belong to a reputable and recognized organization should I ever find myself speaking with local authorities.

    I agree that anyone flying a drone out over populated areas, especially on a GS mission has no chance of being covered by either home owners insurance or the AMA insurance if a crash occurs during that flight.
     
  13. K9pilot

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    Well, both actually so that's good to know. I have USAA as well so I'll check with them. I was under the impression there is "toy" coverage out there though. No overwater flying for me then...thanks.
     
  14. MapMaker53

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    Yes, I fully understand that. But I don't expect my homeowners insurance to cover anything that doesn't occur on my property and certainly not a drone crash that occurs at a location tens of miles away. I'd be shocked if it did. But just for the heck of it I'll ask my agent when I get a chance, just to put the question to rest. We've had the same agent for years and I've often asked him hypothetical questions.
     
  15. Mopar Bob

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    I pulled it out of the air! A wild *** guess! It's a generalized statement!....SORRY. Maybe I should have said "most pilots that give a crap about keeping our hobby from being overly controlled by the government". If you don't agree with the AMA or the safety guidelines, then don't join. But please, stop with the negative bullshit about the organization. But, if all pilots followed the common sense rules offered by the AMA, then we wouldn't be getting all this bad press and possible restrictions in where we fly because of it.

    There are over 170,000 members of AMA. These pilots joined for a number of reasons. Getting the insurance is one, being able to join a club may be another. Most clubs require the AMA membership. They have been offering the insurance plan for a very long time (I first signed up for it in 1971). If there are, or have been, issues with it, don't you think they would have surfaced by now?
     
  16. GoodnNuff

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    +4 !!!

    I welcome an insurance that costs me less than $100/year and will pay the remainder of a balance that my homeonwers, auto, or medical insurance won't cover, which could easily run several thousand dollars or more.
     
  17. SilentAV8R

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    I have given testimony as an expert witness in 2 cases involving model aircraft accidents. In both situations the defendant had primary Homeowners insurance. But neither one had sufficient coverage to cover the accident claim. Both were in the neighborhood of $3000,000 coverage from their HO policy. So make sure you know what your policy limits are, if they even exist at all.

    To remind everyone again, there is no such thing as an "AMA" flying site. AMA does not approve, sanction, authorize or in any other manner recognize a flying site other than to issue a certificate of insurance to the site owner at the request of the chartered club that uses the site. The club must pay for that additional certificate as well. It provides the site owner with primary liability coverage for accidents involving AMA members who use the site.

    It is also worth noting that the AMA insurance coverage also provides for paying for legal fees if your insurance does not cover it (which it typically does). Here in SOCAL there was a group of AMA members who were being harassed by an unhappy homeowner adjacent to their glider flying site. The guy filed suit on the AMA members who then contacted AMA. AMA provided them with legal counsel to the tune of nearly $100K. This is exclusive of any liability coverage.

    Bottom line, the AMA insurance works and for me is worth every penny of the $58 being a member costs me annually.
     
  18. who

    who

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    State parks/forest preserve have areas to fly in. You need a permit AND ama insurance. But they said only if you launch off or land inside the area, since they do not control airspace anybody can launch off nearby. Atleast some of us do research before flying in certain areas
     
  19. Skynet1

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    There has been a lot of good info. provided on this topic both pro and con, and much food for thought.

    I'm certainly one for abiding by all necessary safety precautions in the hopes of preventing any such accidental injury to persons or property while enjoying this great hobby. Having said that, I do want to explore what if any coverage may or may not be provided with my homeowners policy or any other source for that matter, as I feel that many pilots incl. myself don't necessarily fly in what has been termed a "sterile environment" which may or may not be provided at a more traditional R/C model aircraft field, but rather enjoy flying our models where we may best take full advantage of our models photographic equipment accessories and surroundings.

    The need for insurance however I believe is monumental, as we are well aware of the possibilities which may arise and lead to a crash, or uncontrollable fly away, even when under optimal conditions and all precautionary safety measures are followed.
    I suspect I would like to believe that any supplemental insurance offered by the Academy of Model Aeronautics at the price of membership is genuine on its face should it be necessary to seek some relief in a true emergency. As to what may be considered flying safely at the time of an incident as outlined in the AMA guidelines, well I intend to simply adhere to those guidelines to the best of my ability, and implore the AMA to prove otherwise.

    Personally, I don't see a whole lot of alternatives, and believe this may be the best course of action for the time being.
    Any specific information or source of insurance which may be available to pilots would surely be welcomed.

    Thanks to all who have responded, and your thoughts on the matter.
     
  20. DronePilot

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    Another option for drone insurance in the US
    http://highlandinsagcy.com/

    Appears fairly pricey but may be more comprehensive than homeowners or AMA