Drone insurance: Ready for takeoff?

Drone flies in the air

Drone insurance: Ready for takeoff?

"All good things come from above" - this is not the case when a drone crashes, demolishing the neighbor's new car. The small flying objects can cause quite a bit of damage, which is one reason why liability insurance is now mandatory in Switzerland for most types of drones.
Only 10 years ago, drones were not available without considerable expertise and a corresponding budget. Thanks to technical progress, they are now used both commercially and privately. Companies use the images recorded by the unmanned flying objects for surveying buildings, film productions or inspecting wind turbines, among other things - or for marketing purposes such as image videos. Privately, the razor-sharp images provide a fascinating bird's-eye view. For some hobby pilots, on the other hand, what counts most is the fun of piloting, flying and maneuvering.

Foresight even before the first flight

Regardless of whether the drone is used privately or commercially, certain rules have to be observed. Switzerland adopted the EU legislation in this regard on 1 January 2023 and applies its regulations. For example, drones must always be registered with the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and drones weighing over 250g may only be flown after an inspection. Since further changes are possible, it is worth taking a look at the FOCA news page.

In the case of drones above a certain weight, liability insurance is no longer optional, but a "must have". The insurance must cover a guaranteed sum of at least 1 million Swiss francs. However, suitable insurance is recommended regardless of the drone weight, because damage can quickly become expensive. The FOCA also recommends insuring drones weighing less than 250g.

Why is drone insurance necessary?

If your dream of flying ends up crashing into your neighbor's parked car, it’s not just good advice that will be expensive, but probably also cost of repairs. Accidents can happen to even the most confident drone pilots. What if the drone nosedives into your neighbor's new car? Or ends up in a haystack with damaged electronics and causes a fire?

The dream of flying is within reach

Ready for takeoff? Once your drone has been registered, inspected and insured, you are almost there. All you have to now is find a suitable place to fly, because the drone can't be used just anywhere. You might be tempted to view the airport from a different perspective or to look around the neighborhood, but "do as you like" doesn't apply to flying drones.

A suitable place to fly can be easily determined by looking at the interactive map of the FOCA. Areas that may not be flown over are marked there. Other important guidelines, such as certain maximum altitudes, can also be called up there.

However, once the drone finally takes to the air far from airports and other restricted areas, drone pilots still have to remain vigilant. For example, recording neighbors sunbathing is definitely a no-go area under data protection law. And simply flying over someone else's property next door isn't allowed either. Communication is the name of the game here.

The dream of flying is and remains omnipresent. And with the growing popularity of drones, it is now within everyone's reach. One thing is clear: some lead time is needed to learn and comply with all the rules. But once this checklist has been ticked off, "Ready for takeoff" is suddenly no longer a question, but a statement of fact.

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