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What Every Pilot Should Know About Aviation Insurance – Part 3

by John M. White |

The first “Who’s Covered” clause I quoted from was from an insurance company that takes a very broad view of whom they will provide liability coverage for; however, many other insurance companies take a much different view. The same can be said of the “Who’s not covered”, “Rights against third parties” and “Pilot Warranty” clauses. This is the reason I urge everyone who owns an Aircraft Hull & Liability Insurance Policy carry a copy with them in the aircraft, and make sure they read the policy to make sure they are absolutely clear on what is and is not covered. Every aviation insurance policy is different, and every aviation insurance policy will carry some endorsements that modify or change the coverage provided by the insurance policy. What this means is that every aviation insurance policy is unique to the person and airplane being covered. If you don't understand an insurance policy you are counting on to protect you, then you are not very smart. You must know and understand any aviation insurance policy you purchase and count on.

”Insured” Definition As Opposed To A “Who’s Covered” Clause

Aircraft Accident Debris on All Things Aviation This wording is taken from a Private, Business & Pleasure Insurance Policy, and as you can see is quite different from the previous one. “Insured” The unqualified word “Insured” wherever used in this policy with respect to Coverages A, B, C and D, includes not only the named insured but also any person while using or riding in the aircraft and any person or organization legally responsible for its use, provided the actual use is with the express permission of the named insured. Except with respect to the named insured the provisions of the paragraph do not apply:
  • (a) to any employee with respect to bodily injury, sickness, disease or death of another employee of the same employer injured in the course of such employment;
  • (b) to any person or organization or to any agent or employee thereof (other than an employee of the named insured while acting in the course of his employment to the named insured):
    1. who manufactures, builds, sells or distributes aircraft, aircraft engines, aircraft components, aircraft accessories or fuel used in aircraft;
    2. who is engaged in the operation of an aircraft repair shop, aircraft sales agency, aircraft rental service, aircraft flying school, aircraft management service, aircraft aerial application service, aircraft inspection, appraisal, certification or examination service, commercial flying service, airline, airport, hangar, pilot training center or charter brokerage service;
    3. who is engaged in the activity of instruction, evaluation, examination or certification of any pilot or crew member or prospective pilot or crew member;
    4. who is charging a fee and/or receiving any remuneration or benefit for providing any service whatsoever in connection with the ownership, maintenance of use of any insured aircraft;
  • (c) to any person or organization operating the aircraft under the terms of any rental agreement or training program which provides any remuneration to the named insured for the use of said aircraft;
  • (d) to the owner or lessor, or any agent of employee thereof, of any aircraft which is the subject of the extended insurance provisions of Special Insurance Agreements.
The Final Flight on All Things Aviation

So, What Does All This Mean?

It means every insurance policy is unique to that aircraft, aircraft owner and pilot. If you own an aviation insurance policy of any kind covering your aircraft or your operation, you must understand your policy completely. This means that you need to have an excellent insurance agent who does not just mail you your policy and collect your check, but rather one who sits down with you at every policy renewal and explains in great detail to you exactly what is and is not covered. If it is not possible to meet personally with your aviation insurance agent, then be sure to spend enough time going over the policy in detail.

If You Are A Named Pilot Are You Covered?

If you are named as an approved pilot on an aviation insurance policy it does not mean that you will be provided any coverage under the insurance policy. It depends entirely on the definition of “Insured” and typically does not provide coverage, particularly for physical damage coverage. Of course there is always the issue of the deductible. You fly a friends airplane and prang it, and while the insurance company may cover the loss, there is still the deductible. And the size of the deductible might surprise you!

If You Get A Certificate Of Insurance Are You Covered?

Aviation Insurance on All Things Aviation In most cases a Certificate of Insurance issued to you simply describes what coverage the Insured has, and does not extend any coverage to you. Once again the wording of the Certificate of Insurance is important. All too often I have received a call from an insured who asks to have his friend added as a named pilot, or to provide a Certificate of Insurance to a third party. If you don’t specify exactly what this newly named pilot is going to do with the aircraft, and if you want your aviation insurance policy coverge to extend to him, then naming a pilot may prove embarrassing if a loss were to occur. The same applies to a Certificate of Insurance. If it is not clear what the Certificate Holder is requesting, then the coverage described therein may not provide the kind of coverage both parties assume are provided.

Are All Aviation Insurance Policy Equal?

By now I am sure you can guess that they are not! Selecting the right insurance policy to provide the kind of protection you as an aircraft owner want requires a lot more than comparing prices and agents. Most policyholders never expect to have a loss, so they never expect to use their insurance policy and typically don’t like paying for something they think they will never use. The problem is losses occur all the time – sometimes minor but sometimes very serious involving injury or death to third parties.

To Be Continued…

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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