Disaster Relief Drone Insurance

How drones are assisting when disaster strikes

As drone technology has advanced and their reliability improved, the use of drones to aid operations in disaster relief is increasing.

Used as a standalone tool or in conjunction with aircraft, helicopters and satellites to gather information quickly are crucial to getting aid/relief to the affected areas.

Assessing the scale of the disaster and the seriousness of a humanitarian crisis can often be time critical when lives are at risk. Being able to gather the necessary data quickly is vital and the use of drones can only assist in collecting data and ultimately saving lives.

Types of insurance for disaster relief drones

Drone Damage Insurance

What could go wrong when using a drone during disaster relief operations?  In any situation things can go wrong.  You could suffer damage or loss to the drone whilst in flight or in transit.  For example:

  • Unintentionally fly the drone out of range and lose signal resulting in the drone flying away and never being recovered
  • As a result of pilot error hit an obstacle and the drone spirals out of control
  • Tripping over and falling whilst carrying the drone resulting in damage to the drone

If the drone is damaged but repairable the insurance will also cover the cost of hiring in equipment whilst the drone is being repaired.  If a drone is unrepairable, is uneconomic to repair or the drone has been lost and not recovered then the full cost of replacing the drone will be met up to the sum insured on the policy schedule.

Drone Liability Insurance

Drone liability insurance provides cover for injury or damage to a third party property or person.  Slips and trips can and do happen, so causing third party property damage as a result of an accident whilst using your drone means you would be covered.  So for example:

  • If you are operating your drone whilst in a disaster relief area and your drone hits a person either due to malfunction or pilot error and you cause bodily injury, you will be covered

Drone Equipment Damage Insurance

In the event of an incident it’s not only the drone which can be lost or damaged.  Loss or damage to the payload is also a risk.  Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis’ can be catastrophic and working in these conditions can be difficult.  Working in areas where war has caused a major refugee crisis can be fraught with danger.

All kinds of payloads can be attached to a drone and the only restriction is the weight and size of the payload.  Most drones are fitted with cameras by the manufacturers but different types of payloads can be attached to a drone and include:

  • Cameras and microphones; these can be regular cameras for obtaining images and video footage but can also be infrared. Infrared cameras may also enable night vision and heat sensing which can be vital when searching for victims of a disaster
  • Biological sensors to trace microorganisms
  • Chemical sensors (sniffers) to trace and measure particles of substances including radioactive particles
  • WiFi to restore communication networks in the event of a disaster
  • Medical supplies
  • Food
  • Water

Equipment damage insurance is necessary because accidents can and do happen. Whilst operating a drone after a disaster loss or damage to the drone can happen, for example:

  • The drone malfunctions whilst flying over a flooded area and falls into the water. Result total loss of the drone.

Drone Spares and Equipment Insurance

A wide range of spare equipment and drone spares such as spare batteries are likely to be taken on a disaster relief mission. Working in an area where the infrastructure is badly damaged or the conditions are difficult doesn’t make life easy and having drone spares and equipment insurance which covers for loss/damage if the worst should happen, for example:

  • Drone spares and equipment are damaged as a result of rising flood waters whilst the are being securely stored

Is having drone disaster insurance necessary

Using drones after a disaster or crises can be vital when gathering data, searching for survivors, delivering vital medicines and provisions to inaccessible areas.  Working in an area which has been subject to extreme conditions is never easy and sometimes unforeseeable events happen which could result in loss or damage to your drone, payload, spares, equipment or third party property damage/ bodily injury.  Ensuring that you have disaster relief drone insurance gives you peace of mind that in any event you and your drone and equipment are covered.

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