Shooting Risks Posed to Commercial and Recreational Drones

September 17, 2015

Incidents involving people shooting down drones flying overhead has grown in the last two years as drones have become more widely used by hobbyists and small businesses. What might be seen as a defense against invasion of personal space (or a target practice opportunity) has become a serious offence given the new Federal Aviation Regulations.

According to the FAA, drones are now classified as aircrafts. Therefore, shooting down or even threatening to shoot a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) is deemed a federal offence and can incur fines of up to $250,000 with possible jail time.

You can also insure the camera system or payload that you may be flying. This payload may be integrated with the drone or it may be separately purchased and installed. Some camera system costs significantly more than the drones so please don't forget about insuring your important payloads.

Fliers of drones also have new guidelines to follow. The regulations involve approval by the FAA for commercial UAS as well as a strict set of rules for hobby fliers. Breaking those rules may incur fines as well. Any non-hobby or non-recreational flights must be approved by the FAA.

Luckily, drone fliers have an option that can help protect their hardware and businesses through the purchase of insurance. Overwatch, a division of Avalon Risk Management, is now offering policies for UAS. Overwatch President, Grant Goldsmith, speaks on this topic in this issue of Property Casualty 360. for more information on risks posed to drone flights to get an online estimate on drone insurance.