Aviation Insurance policies are not standardized. Your needs will vary from your neighbor’s and since you fly in Alaska, your needs are different from those of pilots in the lower 48. Alaskan pilots might not operate their planes as frequently as someone in southern California. It may be to your advantage to look for an insurance policy with a storage option so you’re not paying for time you’re not in the air. With a simple phone call to an Aviation Insurance Specialist, Avemco Insurance Company allows you to stay insured when you change up your landing gear to floats or skis. And if your missions ever include trips into the bush, you’ll want an insurance policy that covers off-airport landings—and preferably one that will retrieve your damaged airplane no matter how far away the airport is located.
Of course, there are important insurance considerations for every pilot to take into account, no matter where he or she flies. You will want to check into the history and reputation of the company. How is the customer service when you contact your agent or underwriter? What is the claims-handling history of your insurance company? Do they settle claims in a fair and timely manner? You may want to request a sample policy to review the exclusions and conditions. There is a lot of hangar talk about what an insurance company covers and doesn’t. It’s best to contact the underwriter or agent and ask specific questions about the policies that interest you.
There are typically three coverage options available on an aircraft insurance policy: Liability, Aircraft Damage (referred to as Hull), and Medical Expenses.
We get asked “what limits of liability should I carry?” No one can truly answer that question. As underwriters, we recommend purchasing the most that your budget will allow. And your legal defense is included under your liability coverage.
Aircraft Damage or Hull coverage is what will protect your aircraft from fire, theft, vandalism, and takeoff or landing accidents as well as a possible bear or moose attack. There are typically two types of Hull coverage: “including-in-flight” and “excluding-in-flight.” Often people purchase “excluding in-flight” coverage because it’s cheaper and it covers things that are beyond your control such as wind damage. But, as the name implies, it doesn’t cover your airplane when it is “in-flight”. ‘Including-In-flight” coverage is more comprehensive and will protect your airplane while it is on the ground, including taxi, and during take-off, landing, and en route.
Medical Expense is a no-fault, no liability coverage that includes payments for medical bills and funeral expenses for you and your passengers. The Avemco® policy also includes payments of $100 each day you and your passengers are hospitalized, up to the medical expense limit you choose when you take out your policy.
There are two systems of distribution for aviation insurance. There is the agency system that you may be familiar with as it is often used when you purchase auto, home, or life insurance. The agent can shop multiple markets to secure the policy. The second distribution for aviation insurance is a Direct Underwriter which is how Avemco sells coverage. When you call Avemco, you are speaking directly with an experienced aviation insurance underwriter that sells nothing but aviation insurance and who can discuss the different coverage options directly with you. When you work with a Direct Underwriter company there is no “middle-person” between you and your insurance company.
The next time you’re shopping for aircraft insurance keep in mind there are options available to you. Find out if the insurance policy you are purchasing is going to offer you the flexibility and coverage you need for the unique challenges of flying in Alaska. That includes working with an insurance company that has experience in insuring aircraft in Alaska and who understands your passion for flying.
Luke Barnette joined Avemco in 2007, after a post-college stint as a personal claims representative. He routinely represents Avemco at The Great Alaskan Aviation Gathering and other tradeshows around the country. Luke devotes his free time to hunting and fishing in the woods and waters of Maryland.
Not all coverages or products may be available in all jurisdictions. The description of coverage in these pages is for information purposes only. Actual coverages will vary based on local law requirements and the terms and conditions of the policy issued. The information described herein does not amend, or otherwise affect, the terms and conditions of any insurance policy issued by Avemco. In the event that a policy is inconsistent with the information described herein, the language of the policy will take precedence.