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What Do You Mean I'm Not Insured?

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

Here’s a true story. A young pilot home from college over the holidays decides to go flying. A current renter pilot at the local flight school, he heads out to the airport with a friend. After the required paperwork and a complete preflight inspection, the pilot proceeds with the pre-start checklist, which includes a few injections from the primer, per cold weather engine start-up procedures.

The pilot starts cranking the engine and continues through several compressions; however the engine does not fire. The pilot applies a few more shots of prime and tries again to start the engine, again with no luck. Repeating the procedure, the engine suddenly backfires, which causes the pilot to immediately stop cranking the engine.

A few seconds later smoke begins to appear from the cowling. The pilot and passenger quickly get out of the aircraft and with no fire extinguisher they grab as much snow as possible from the ramp and throw it up into the engine compartment from the lower cowl opening. Fortunately, the fire is put out.

The post-fire inspection reveals significant damage of $10,000, which the flight school’s insurance company pays…or so the young pilot thought.

A few weeks after the incident, he receives a letter from the insurance company asking him to reimburse the insurance company for the expenses incurred to repair the airplane. The company feels the loss was the pilot’s fault and therefore expects to be reimbursed.

The company adds that if the pilot has non-owned aircraft insurance (also known as ‘renter’s insurance’), he should contact his insurance company.

The pilot immediately calls the flight school and asks, “I thought you told me you have renter’s insurance?” The flight school operator responds that he does, but the insurance doesn’t cover the renter pilot’s responsibility for damages or liability for injury to others, or damage to the property of others.

The pilot eventually negotiates to pay some of but not the entire repair expense, however a significant amount of tuition money.

When you rent or borrow and airplane, don’t assume you are insured under the aircraft owners insurance. You can almost be certain that you are not insured unless you’ve purchased your own personal non-owned aircraft insurance.

At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year, EAA, Falcon Insurance Agency, and Global Aerospace just launched a new exclusive EAA membership insurance plan that not only provides renters’ aircraft liability and aircraft physical damage liability insurance, but it covers standard category, experimental amateur-built category, and the all new experimental and special light sport aircraft categories. Further, the EAA Non-Owned Aircraft Insurance Plan offers special expansion exclusively for EAA Members.

Don’t take chances and don’t assume you protected by someone else’s insurance. Check out the EAA Plan today by calling 866-647-4EAA (4322) or visit www.eaainsurance.org.

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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