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Engines and Insurability

By Bob Mackey, representative for the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan, Administered by Falcon Insurance Agency

October 15, 2009 — The Experimental Amateur-Built aircraft category allows you to pretty much build your own airplane for your own enjoyment and education. But Experimental Amateur-Built certification doesn’t always mean that you’ll be able to obtain airplane insurance.

The FAA has their rules on building one’s own airplane, and aviation insurance companies have their own underwriting guidelines when it comes to what they will and will not insure. If they do insure, companies will spell out what conditions or limitations they may apply.

Take engines for example. When it comes to selecting an engine for your airplane here are some guiding points:

  • Traditional aircraft engines are widely accepted without restrictions, limitations, or an impact on cost of insurance by the aviation insurance companies that insure experimental amateur-built airplanes.
  • Clone engines and clone engine kits based on traditional aircraft engines are also widely accepted by the aviation insurance companies without any restrictions, limitations, or impact of cost of insurance.
  • Firewall-Forward engine packages (complete or kits) are pretty much accepted by the aviation insurance companies although deviations from the package or kit may impact insurance with restrictions on coverage during the FAA-required Area Restriction period. Generally you will not see an impact in the cost for insurance if you go this route, but that is not an absolute.
  • Original engine designs and engines built up as original installations will very likely have some limitations in coverage. This may include no physical damage (hull) insurance during the first the first 40 to 100 hours of flight operations. In addition, adding performance equipment such as turbo chargers may limit the availability of insurance. The cost of insurance may be impacted if you go with an original design.
  • High-performance original designs and high performance package designs are often difficult to insure without restrictions or limitations on insurance coverages. These restrictions may include no coverage for passengers and no physical damage (hull) insurance during the first 100 hours up to the first 12 months and 100 hours of flight operations. If insurance can be obtained, there will most likely be an impact on the cost of insurance as well.

Before you settle on an engine for your E-AB, or you decide to change the engine in your E-AB, it’s advisable to check on what this may do to your insurability, or the insurance you currently have in place. Again, make sure you are dealing with an aviation insurance expert that knows and understands Experimental Amateur-Built airplanes so you receive clear and correct information about what you are doing with your engine. If you are not working with a aviation insurance expert, contact the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan at 866-647-4EAA (4322). With the EAA Plan you’ll find aviation insurance experts that can assist you with getting the right airplane insurance at the best price.

If you would like to know more and the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan, or if you would like to know more about find the right insurance for the type of flying you do give the EAA Plan a call 866-647-4EAA (4322) or you may go online www.eaainsurance.org and complete the online quote request form. When you insure your airplane in the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan you’re helping support EAA Member Safety Programs and EAA Youth Education Programs. Peace of mind insurance coverage plus support for the future of aviation…now that’s a WIN-WIN combination!

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