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Insurability and Cost, Part Two: Pilots

By Bob Mackey, Vice President, Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc.

I've heard the saying many times and I'm sure you have too: "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots." While I have no idea who said these sage words of wisdom, I believe these words are accurate beyond question. There may be a few lucky pilots, however most would agree that recklessness, in anything you do, often comes with a heavy price.

In airplane insurance, pilot skills and pilot experience have a huge impact on insurability and cost of insurance. In some cases pilots cannot obtain insurance because their experience does not match the airplane they want to fly. This happens all the time and this phenomenon is not limited to the fringe areas of recreational flying, like high-performance homebuilts. No, actually, I've seen situations where a student pilot tries to get insurance for a Cessna 210 and none of the aviation insurance companies will provide a quote.

A little more realistic are the circumstances where a private pilot with 200 hours is looking for insurance for the purchase of a high-performance retractable gear aircraft and, while some of the insurance companies still pass, others offer insurance at a much higher premium, along with stringent check-out requirements, (i.e. 25 to 40 hours of dual instruction).

Besides pilot skills, certificates, ratings, number of hours flying, etc., there is another element related to the pilot that can and does severely impact insurability and cost of insurance. Pilot experience! If a pilot with an instrument rating and over 1,000 hours has not flown for several years, that pilot will still be rusty and very likely to have an accident unless undergoing a thorough and well-planned entry system. It takes more than just going out and getting a medical along with a few hours of dual and your BFR! Sure you are legal, but are you insurable and if so, at what cost?

Anyone planning to get back into aviation, whether as a private pilot or maybe under the new sport pilot rules, needs to invest the extra time in a thorough and complete checkout. If you are thinking about buying an airplane or joining an airplane partnership, start getting lessons lined up and get yourself back in the cockpit safely.

The difference in the cost of insurance will be significant. You may even find the money spent on adequate dual instruction will be more than made up in insurance savings. In fact, here's an idea. Lets say you've been out of aviation for a few years, you've got your private pilot license an you know you'll need 25 hours of dual to get insurance in a newer high performance airplane you plan to purchase. Why not go ahead and get your instrument rating at the same time and plan to get 40 or more hours of dual in the process. (Two birds….one stone!)

There is one surefire way to know where you stand before you make the move into a new airplane. Pick up the phone and call the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan. Talk to the pros at Falcon Insurance Agency and find out what you need to do to become insurable and how much the insurance will cost. The EAA Plan has saved a lot of money for EAA members and it is a great EAA member benefit, providing great insurance at a low price with outstanding service. Call 866-647-4EAA (4322) or go online at www.eaainsurance.org. What are you waiting for?

In Part 3 of this series, we will look at how your home airport can affect insurability and cost. In the mean time, if you have a topic you'd like to see covered in Insurance Tips, please email me at bmackey@falconinsurance.com. Remember; you and your airplane + EAA Plan = Great Insurance, Low Price, and Outstanding Service.

EAA INSURANCE TIPS is a special EAA Member benefit. If you have an insurance related topic you’d like to see addressed or if you have any comments, please email bmackey@falconinsurance.com. If you need an insurance quotation call 866-647-4EAA (4322).

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