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Getting a Drone for Christmas? What you should do first.

Are you hoping to find a drone under your Christmas tree next month?

An estimated 200,000 drones will be given as gifts this holiday season and some believe many of them will wind up crashing before New Year’s Day.

The insurance industry is looking at the growing popularity of drones as an opportunity, as much as an exposure that needs to be managed, according to Gerard Finley, the senior vice president of Casualty Treat Underwriting at Munich Reinsurance America Inc. in Princeton.

Finley said in the past, drones have been covered by homeowners and personal liability insurance policies, but if someone is getting a drone for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza this year, “a homeowner should check their policy carefully and talk to their insurance professional, their agent or whoever they bought the policy just to make sure and double check.”

He said most of the time, “homeowners policies, renters policies and other personal liability policies do provide coverage for personal use of drones, as long as they don’t carry people or cargo.”

Finley said anybody that’s flying a drone, either for personal or commercial purposes should have insurance.

“Drones will crash into things, they’ll crash into buildings and sometimes into power lines,” he said. “they’ll crash into people and crowds and maybe even cars, so anybody that’s planning on flying a drone should obtain coverage for the use of that drone.”

He recommends getting insurance, not only for bodily injury and property damage, “but also personal injury coverage because invasion of privacy and trespass and nuisance where there is no property damage per say , will also be a risk that they’ll be exposed to.”

When trying to determine insurance costs for commercial drone usage, Finley says the industry will look at the type of equipment that’s going to be flown and consider other factors as well.

“How much safety features are built into the equipment, for instance sense and avoid capabilities, and we also look at where the drone is going to be flown, how it’s going to be flown, and who will be piloting the drone,” he said.

According to Finley, legislation is currently being drafted in the majority of states to make sure if commercial companies wind up using drones for deliveries and other services, that a certain amount of insurance coverage would be mandatory.

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