Articles, Legal

Traveling and Insurance Issues that May Arise

Posted on Nov 2, 2020 by Toms Surgalski, Jenny Brower, Kelly Shillito

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You’re away from home and something happens to your Cirrus. What do you do? If something happens to the airplane and if it’s off the airport, off the runway or has suffered any kind of major damage, you are going to take care of the initial things: Make sure everyone is okay, notify the insurance company and get the airplane secured as soon as possible.

This article will discuss circumstances where the incident in question may affect your ability to continue to your original destination.

In any of the following situations, seeking the advice of an A&P is always the best choice. If you are at a smaller airport with no service center, you may have to make the call as to the airworthiness of the aircraft. As a COPA member, your commitment to safety should guide you.

Hail – a thorough look at the airplane’s skin will obviously be required. Any damage to the propeller, windows or control surfaces are an automatic no-go. Sometimes there may only be a few minor blemishes in the paint.

Hangar/Ramp rash – this type of damage can be the most frustrating if you aren’t certain of what struck your aircraft and with what amount of force. In the claims we see, the areas most damaged are the outer leading edge, elevator or rudder.

Stolen avionics – the main concern here is damage to the door locking mechanism. Often, thieves only take one or two radios (older Garmins). File a police report as soon as possible.

Bird strikes – recent claims have ranged from no damage to over $50,000. It is that time of year.

It’s always a good idea to carry a copy of your policy and your insurance broker’s card or contact information with you in case of an emergency, or if you need to show proof of coverage. Oftentimes the office may be closed and the policy will have contact information so you can call the insurance company directly.

Keep receipts of any costs associated with getting the airplane evaluated. If you can’t fly it, also keep track of all expenses incurred to get yourself back home. Many policies offer extra expenses for trip interruption due to a covered loss. If you are out of the country, the repairs may take much longer if parts have to be shipped.

While we are on the topic of coverage, you will want to make sure you are carrying enough liability to protect the passengers you carry. The question of “how much liability insurance should I have?” is actually a very complex one that involves consideration of many factors, including whether the named insured is an individual or a company, the type of corporate vehicle (C Corp, LLC, partnership), the financial worth of the named insured individual or company, the applicable laws of the state in which the individual or corporation is located, and even the risk tolerance or willingness to accept risk versus the cost of purchasing higher liability limits.

All of the above factors are unique to each person or company and therefore can vary significantly; all should be considered and discussed with your broker. If you are only carrying $1,000,000 of coverage, you really should make a phone call to your broker and discuss what options are available to you. You can either get your current carrier to offer higher limits or use an additional insurance company to increase your coverage.

The most important thing to remember if you are going out of the country is to make sure you are covered under your insurance policy. Be sure to read it thoroughly so you know what territories are included or call your insurance broker to help you review the policy to be sure that nothing else is required on your end to be covered during your trip.

When traveling, or anytime for that matter, make sure you are fully protected and if the worst would happen that any loved ones left behind would be protected as well.

Now relax and enjoy your trip!


This article was initially published in the June 2018 issue of COPA Pilot

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