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Not My Airplane: Renters (Non-Owned) Insurance

By Bob Mackey, Vice President, Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc.

Much has been written about non-owned, or renters, insurance. Some of the articles and advertisements hype the possibility of an aircraft owner or their insurance company coming after the renter for damages to the aircraft, injuries, or other property damage. Is this really a risk? Do insurance companies really try to recover their losses? YES. Insurance companies do try to recover their losses whenever they feel they have just cause. Why? Because they have a responsibility to stockholders to be profitable, and so they make sure they don't pay more than they should according to the policies they issue and the circumstances of an accident. Whenever and wherever appropriate they attempt to recover losses from someone else.

In a simple automobile fender-bender, for example, insurance companies will negotiate to determine how much each will pay or be reimbursed based on the circumstances of the accident. If you get rear-ended at a stoplight your automobile insurance company will seek and recover a major portion of what they pay for repairs to your car from the insurance company of the driver that hit you. The recovery can easily be 95 percent in cases where one driver is clearly at fault.

The same is true in aircraft accidents. An aviation insurance company will seek out and recover some portion of what they pay from other insurance companies, and in the absence of insurance they will try to recover losses from the person(s) or business(es) they see at fault.

If you own an aircraft and have aircraft insurance it probably includes coverage for use of aircraft you do not own. Read your insurance policy to know if you have this and if there are any specific limitations. If you do not own an aircraft, or you choose to not buy aircraft insurance for the aircraft you own, you are totally uninsured and vulnerable if an accident happens or you cause even minor damage to an aircraft you are using. Even if the place you rent the aircraft from says they have insurance coverage for you, don't count on it.

EAA, Falcon Insurance Agency, and Global Aerospace have teamed up to offer EAA Members an insurance plan that provides the broadest non-owned insurance plan available. The EAA Non-Owner and Renters Aircraft Insurance Plan includes coverage for the use of standard, primary, experimental amateur-built, special light-sport, and experimental light-sport aircraft. The insurance is available to student, recreational, sport, private, commercial, and airline transport pilots; however, it does not apply to student pilots flying experimental amateur-built or experimental light-sport aircraft.

The insurance costs less than you might think, especially considering the benefits. Liability insurance is available for as low as $180 for a combined liability insurance limit of $500,000 per occurrence plus defense costs-if you've ever had to hire an attorney you know how valuable this is! Coverage is also available for any damage to the aircraft you are flying. This costs $210 for $15,000 coverage. Higher and lower limits of coverage are available depending on how much you need.

If you are flying an aircraft you don't own you should protect yourself. The insurance application is available online at www.eaainsurance.org. By filling it out and sending your first payment you'll be covered as soon as the application is processed and you have been notified the insurance is in effect.

The EAA Non-Owner and Renters Insurance Plan is designed especially for EAA Members. The coverage is the broadest available and the price is competitive with any other non-owned insurance available.

EAA INSURANCE TIPS is a special EAA Member benefit. If you have an insurance related topic you’d like to see addressed or if you have any comments, please email bmackey@falconinsurance.com. If you need an insurance quotation call 866-647-4EAA (4322).

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