Home Blog articles UAV payload insurance – let’s clarify

UAV payload insurance – let’s clarify

by Fabio Affortunato
Assicurazione Paylaod Droni
Reading time / Tempo lettura : 4 minutes / minuti

Insure the payload

The payload is often the most precious and expensive part of our drone, especially if we refer to professional payloads such as multispectrum cameras, thermal cameras, LIDAR lasers or professional video cameras.

As we know, ensure the drone is compulsory for all in terms of harm to others, but the payload insurance is a plus not well ‘explained’ by the various insurance companies. So let’s try to clarify how to insure our drone’s paylaod and what payload insurance covers.

What is the paylaod

Taking for granted that everyone knows exactly what a drone payload is is an act of presumption that we cannot afford when we talk about expensive and specific tools.

The payload is an English term which translated into Italian literally means paying load. In practice, the payload identifies an instrument, which installed on a drone, performs a specific function.

So, for example, for a professional drone used for performing thermographic surveys on building facades or for finding missing persons, its payload is made up of the installed thermal imaging camera.

Payload DJI Zenmuse X7

DJI Zenmuse X7 – Image taken from DJI store

In the case instead of a drone used in free time such as a Mavic Air 2, in which the video camera is “in-built” with the drone, although this is a device that performs the function of shooting and photography, we cannot speak of a real payload as part of the drone.

Finally, it is good to remember that many insurance brokers define the payload as “all the loads and additional equipment to the UAV that are not strictly necessary for its operation“; understand well then that already the definition of the paylaod is questionable!!!

Why insure the payload

The legitimate question has immediate answers:

  1. because ’the payload normally costs a few thousand euros (such as multi spectrum cameras, LIDAR lasers, thermal cameras, etc.),
    because the third party drone insurance does not cover the payload.
  2. However, securing the payload is not an easy task, considering that insurances, as usual, play with clauses, and are not at all clear.

However, securing the payload is not an easy task, considering that insurances, as usual, play with clauses, and are not at all clear.

What does paylaod insurance cover (or what should it cover)

So here we are at the heart of the matter, that is to understand what the payload insurance covers.

In theory, it should be possible to insure the paylaod individually in relation to its value, possibly taking into account the obsolescence of the payload. So in the event of destruction or partial damage of this – on the ground or in flight – the insurance should compensate the insured value with the exception of any deductible (to which we will return shortly).

This regardless of the insurance of the vehicle (drone) on which it is installed.

In practice, it is not possible to insure only the payload but we are talking about a combined APR and paylaod insurance! In addition, some brokers only pay damages due to accidents during the flight !!!

Another element to keep in mind when approaching an insurance broker for the paylaod is that insurances cover damage to the drone (UAV) and payload together, without making a clear distinction between the insured value of the APR and that of the payload.

Do not forget also the impact of the deductible, or the economic part to be paid by the insured in the event of an accident, which also impacts the drone and payload. This is often expressed as a% value of the damage, even here, without a clear distinction between UAV and payload.

Finally, it should keep in mind that in practice accidents may occur in which the vehicle (i.e. the drone) does not report damage, while the payload does.

This is due to the position of the payload (most exposed), and to the relative robustness. Well how does insurance behave in this circumstance? Compensation in full, apart from the deductible, for the damage suffered to the paylaod or not? We are not given to know!

How to insure the paylaod

Faced with a rather disconcerting scenario, it seems an obligatory choice that it is possible to insure the paylaod only by insuring the drone against damages.

If this mandatory choice is still a good rule of thumb, ask the insurer in writing for clarifications about the premium paid for damages:

  • reported only by the payload,
  • reported by the payload on the ground.

what to know:

  •  the % (quote) of the deductible due to the paylaod
  • the impact the obsolescence of the paylaod on the prize

Come assicurare il paylaod

Di fronte ad uno scenario abbastanza sconcertante, sembra scelta obbligata che è possibile assicurare  il paylaod solo assicurando il drone contro i danni.

Se questa scelta obbligata è comunque buona norma chiedere per iscritto all’assicuratore, sia chiarimenti circa il premio pagato per danni:

  • riportati solo dal payload,
  • riportati dal payload a terra.

che sapere:

  • in % la quota parte della franchigia dovuta al paylaod
  • l’impatto l’obsolescenza del paylaod sul premio.


Note regarding the images: The images of the payloads shown in the article and in the highlighted image are taken from the websites of the producers who are the legitimate owners. The use of images has the exclusive purpose of a better understanding of the contents of the article. The foreground image was created by 4mydrone, the paylaods in the image are: DJI Zenmuse X7 video camera, Flir Vue Pro R thermal camera, LIDAR Riegl VUX-1UAV, Micasense Altum nultispectrum camera, DJI matrix drone 600 Pro.

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