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Insurability and Cost, Part Three: Airports

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

This is part three in our series about insurability and cost in airplane insurance. Part one addressed airplane selection, while part two discussed pilot skills and experience. In part three we explore the airport where you base your airplane.

Even though not as significant as the choice of airplane or pilot skills and experience, the airport at which you base, or plan to base, your airplane can impact your insurability and the cost of insurance. Obviously airplanes have runway length requirements for takeoffs and landings. While 1,000 feet of grass is plenty of runway for an experienced pilot in a Piper J3 Cub, that doesn’t mean you can get insurance or that you will get as good price on the insurance as you might think. There are margins, and airplane insurance companies are always thinking about the margins. Hot weather, soft ground, or maybe an older and tired engine—any one of these could cause a loss.

Matching the right airplane to the right airport is crucial. In some cases insurance companies will take the easy way out and simply refuse to insure any airplane based at a grass strip. Some companies use a rule of thumb: if the elevation is higher than the runway is long, no quote. In other words, a Cessna 172 based at a 5,000-foot paved runway where the elevation is 7,000 is not insurable. (That’s when we look for another insurance company.)

However, if the mismatch between airplane and airport is severe, there’s a chance none of the insurance companies will offer coverage. In our runway length and elevation example you might find insurance readily available for a turbocharged single- or twin-engine airplane; the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan will figure that out for you.

Like I mentioned previously, first call the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan to find out if what you are thinking about doing or what you are already doing is insurable, and if you are getting the best price. All three elements are interrelated. The right airplane with the right pilot at the right airport will get the right insurance in the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan.

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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