From search and rescue missions in the Sequoia Forest to site-seeing tours over the Grand Canyon, helicopters can go just about anywhere, for any purpose. They are one of the most versatile flying machines around.
But helicopters also face many risks from passengers getting injured in flight to the rotors or skids being damaged while landing. The right helicopter insurance protects you, your passengers and the helicopter in the event of an unforeseen mishap.
A local independent agent in our network can help you compare several helicopter insurance policies from several different insurance companies to find one that fits your needs and budget.
Contact an agent today to begin comparing affordable helicopter insurance quotes.
Top Causes of Helicopter Accidents
- 40 accidents caused by a pilot's loss of control
- 32 incidents caused by engine failure
- 12 caused by low altitude operations other than agriculture
- 13 caused by rotor strikes with buildings, trees or other objects
* Based on the study of 205 helicopter accidents, 2002-2003
What Is Helicopter Insurance?
Helicopter insurance is coverage that can protect you if:
- You own a helicopter and rent it out to helicopter pilots
- You are a helicopter pilot and fly for fun
- You are a helicopter pilot and you fly rescue missions or medical evacuations
- You are a helicopter pilot and you work in the firefighting division of the U.S. Forest Service
The coverage you need will depend upon the risks involved in your particular use of your helicopter, where you fly, and other factors. For example, you you may need personal helicopter insurance if you fly for fun. If you fly as a part of a commercial operation, you may need a business insurance policy to cover your risks.
Because the specifics of your policy will vary depending upon your use and risks, it is important to work with a knowledgeable agent who can fully assess your needs and ensure that your helicopter insurance is tailored to your use.
What Does Helicopter Insurance Cover?
Your helicopter insurance policy will cover a variety of risks, including:
- Liability coverage: This portion of your policy will cover your legal responsibility in the event that you cause another person's personal injury or property damage while flying or landing.
- Passenger liability: Passenger liability insurance is necessary if you carry passengers in your helicopter. Sometimes general liability, also called public liability, will be packaged with passenger liability, which will offer an overall coverage limit that can be applied to public liability claims, passenger liability claims, or a combination of both.
- Hull insurance: Hull insurance, which is another name for property damage insurance for airplanes and helicopters, can insure your helicopter when it is on the ground or when it is in flight. Make sure your coverage protects your helicopter from a range of risks, including theft, vandalism, damage from severe weather and damage or total loss due to an accident.
A solid helicopter insurance policy with adequate liability coverage is a must-have for helicopters since they can cause significant collateral damage to people and property.
How Are Private and Business Helicopter Insurance Different?
Today, in addition to flying for fun, helicopter pilots are engaged in a wide variety of jobs and contracts, from medical evacuation, fire fighting, traffic patrol, news reporting, business transportation, charter rides and search and rescue.
You will need liability and property damage coverage for any of these uses, but you also may require specialized endorsements or additional policies, particularly if you fly commercially. Some additional coverage that may make sense for you includes:
- BOP: A business owners insurance policy, or BOP, insures other business property and equipment beyond your helicopter or fleet of helicopters, and can provide loss of income protection in the event of a covered business interruption.
- Equipment coverage: If the work you perform involves the use of specialty equipment or medical supplies, you may need additional coverage, most likely in the form of a rider, to protect your investment in your equipment.
- Business interruption coverage: This type of policy will cover you in the event of a covered loss that interrupts business operations. This insurance can bring in income so that you can continue paying bills and employee wages.
- Workers compensation: If you have employees, you may be required to purchase workers compensation insurance, which covers your own employees for work-related injuries or illness. Workers compensation also provides a percentage of pay to employees if they are unable to return to work. Laws vary, so check your state regulations to make sure you're getting the required coverage.
To get a policy in place that is tailored to your specific needs, it is essential that you work with a qualified insurance agent. Independent agents have access to many different companies, including specialized helicopter insurance companies, and can help to assemble the right coverage package for you.
Medical Helicopter Insurance for Special Risks
Medical helicopters, such as air ambulances and Medevacs, often perform risky flights to get to critically injured patients or to transport organ donors to medical centers.
If you fly medical missions, you may need to travel any time of the day or night in any weather, and may have to manuever your chopper to ground on difficult landing areas such as mountain roads.
You may also be under pressure to travel quickly. All these conditions increase the risk of a mishap, so the proper helicopter insurance coverage is of critical importance.
Ask your independent agent about special Medevac insurance, medical equipment insurance and other specialty coverage that can help mitigate the risks you face as a medical helicopter pilot.
How Do I Cover Cargo on a Helicopter?
If you are carrying cargo or delivering mail, parcels or equipment on your helicopter, it's a good idea to carry some type of cargo insurance, also called inland marine coverage. This insures the cargo while it is in your care, custody or control. Be sure to read these policies carefully as every policy has certain exclusions.
Exclusions are events that are not covered, such as employee theft. By carefully reviewing your policy, you can determine if there are any coverage gaps and can purchase additional coverage as needed.
An independent agent can advise you on the cargo insurance best suited for your needs, since they have access to wide range of insurance companies and coverage options.
How Much Does Helicopter Insurance Cost?
Due to the risks associated with helicopters, the insurance policies can be expensive. However, your specific helicopter insurance cost will depend on the type of coverage you buy, the value and use of your helicopter and other factors. Your piloting experience and safety record also factor into your helicopter insurance rates.
Compare helicopter insurance rates today through an independent Trusted Choice member agent. These agents can help you compare multiple quotes, look for discounts you may qualify for, and help you find the specialized helicopter insurance you need at an affordable rate.
Find a local independent agent today for customized coverage that fits your needs.