Drones were a very popular holiday gift with nearly one million ending up under Christmas trees across North America in 2015. If you were one of the lucky ones that got a drone you’re probably also aware of the less-than-stellar reputation these amazing gadgets are starting to acquire.
Technically known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), drones offer a bird’s eye view of the Earth but they can also mean damage and disaster if not flown correctly. In December, for instance, a drone crashed into a car in Belleville, Ontario. While no one was injured the UAS caused over $1,000 in damage and police were left wondering if charges should be applied to the drone-owner.
More and more municipalities are enacting rules around drones. Transport Canada also has rules for commercial and recreational drone operators, including restrictions on flying near airports. Other places have restricted drone flying as well, including provincial and national parks.
Before you operate your drone, you should be aware of your local bylaws as well as Transport Canada’s rules. Furthermore, if your drone is larger than 250 grams, you’ll need a license.
You should also check your home insurance policy to ensure you’re covered if your drone damages someone’s property or causes an injury. Otherwise, you could be on the hook for medical expenses or legal costs if you’re sued.
If you’re a commercial drone owner, you should also check your commercial insurance. Most policies have an exclusion (often known as an Aircraft Exclusion), that stipulates that any liability for damage caused by an aircraft is not covered. Separate drone insurance may be available.
Speak to your broker to ensure you’re fully protected when using your drone.