CBS Boston Guest:

Tom Skelly, Vice President of Sales and Operations for Deland, Gibson Insurance and the former chair of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, talks with CBS Boston’s Chris McKinnon about Drones and Insurance coverage. Click to watch on Boston.CBSlocal.com:

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Drone Accidents Could Cause Insurance Hassles

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Actually these days it might be neither. It could be a drone.

These unmanned aircraft with their ability to take breathtaking panoramic pictures have exploded in popularity. It is estimated that one million machines were given as gifts this past holiday season.

There are concerns emerging that all of these new pilots could confront an insurance issue if they have some type of accident. Jeremy Waltzer of the Drone UAV Store in Foxboro said, “Some homeowner’s policies won’t cover it.”

A quick search on YouTube is evidence that many of these new pilots need more training. There are many crashes into water, houses, and people down below.

Waltzer has posted a sign by his drone display with insurance information on it. “We do a lot of repair work. People do crash them.”

Tom Skelly, a partner with Deland, Gibson Insurance in Wellesley, suggests any drone operator check with their agent about their specific policy. “The devil is in the details.”

Skelly said many policies do cover model air plane hobbyists today, as long as their planes don’t carry people or cargo. But he believes the insurance industry could change their policies as more drone related claims are filed.

“They are watching it,” said Skelly. “They are watching every emerging risk. Hoverboards, and this.”

Skelly explained why the stakes are high. “If you are the start of a chain reaction of events and incidents that can be traced back to you, and you don’t have coverage, then your personal assets are at risk.”

Some supplemental policies are now available through groups like the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Its policy provides coverage of up to $2.5 million.

Skelly suggests getting a copy of that type of policy and bringing it to a professional independent insurance agent to find out if it is appropriate coverage.

Chris McKinnon
CBS Boston
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