Despite the increasing use of drones in agriculture, there remains a grey area when considering the insurance implications of using unmanned aerial systems as a farm business tool.
“First and foremost, insurers and brokers need to be aware if drones are being used, and for what applications,” explains Paige Dalby, of Farmers & Mercantile Insurance Brokers (FMIB).
“Each individual insurer will take a slightly different stance. Some may include it as part of a standard farm-policy, but as drones represent a civil aviation risk, it is possible that operators will need to use a specialist insurer for commercial use.”
There are several key points that every drone operator must consider.
- You are responsible for each flight. Take time to understand the rules as you are legally responsible for every flight. Failure to comply could lead to a criminal prosecution. Visit www.caa.co.uk/drones for information from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- Keep your drone in sight at all times, and be aware of the height restrictions. Stay below 400 feet.
- Keep your distance. It is illegal to fly your drone over a congested area. Never fly within 50 metres of a person, vehicle or building.
- You are responsible for avoiding collisions. You should never fly a drone near an airport or close to aircraft. It is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight.
- Learn to fly your drone. Why not join a local flying club to help you learn new skills and keep within the law?
- Consider rights of privacy. Think about what you do with any images you obtain as you may break privacy laws.
FMIB’s advice is to speak with your broker, ascertain the risks and balance that with the benefits. Insurance products will be available should you decide to proceed.