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
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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