By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policyfor more information.

Industry Insights

Words of wisdom from our business insurance experts.

Aerial Survey & Mapping: Insurance Costs, Coverage, and Considerations
6 min read
March 29, 2023
Aerial Survey & Mapping: Insurance Costs, Coverage, and Considerations

Drones are becoming the new superheroes for surveying companies. They're like the Swiss Army knife of surveying tools, but on steroids. More and more industries are using them for tasks that are traditionally tedious, risky, and inefficient.

For companies that need to survey land or structures, it's changed their business. Drones can get into those hard-to-reach places that would make even the most seasoned surveyor's head spin. That means no more dangling off of cliffs or dangling over buildings.

Drones can also take high-resolution images and videos from above, giving surveyors a bird's eye view of the area they're surveying. With the use of sophisticated remote sensing technology such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), operators are able to generate precise, three dimensional information about a job site. The LiDAR systems allow professionals to analyze both natural and manmade areas and provide insightful data for other teams to use. It's one of the greatest inventions and applications of the 2000's.

Here's a great example of what the imaging looks like from a surveying drone:

Plus, drones are incredibly efficient. They can cover large areas quickly and easily, which means surveyors can get more done in less time. No more walking across a field or job site to collect data points - send the drone on a route and collect data in hours vs days.

What applications are surveying drones used for today?

Aerial surveying is the process of gathering information about the Earth's surface and environment from a bird's eye view, usually with the use of an aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a drone. Aerial surveying can provide a wealth of data and insights that are difficult or impossible to obtain through ground-based methods.

Aerial surveying has many applications across various industries, including:

  1. Land Surveying: Aerial surveying is used to create precise topographical maps, identify property boundaries, and conduct land surveys.
  2. Agriculture: Aerial surveying can provide farmers with data about crop health, irrigation, and soil moisture levels, which can help optimize crop yields.
  3. Infrastructure and Construction: Aerial surveying can be used to monitor the progress of construction projects, identify potential safety hazards, and create 3D models of buildings and structures.
  4. Environmental Management: Aerial surveying can be used to monitor wildlife populations, track deforestation, and assess the impact of natural disasters.

Aerial surveying typically involves the use of specialized sensors, such as cameras, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors, and multispectral sensors, which can capture a range of data including images, elevation data, and infrared and thermal imagery. This data is then processed using specialized software to create detailed maps, models, and reports.

Overall, aerial surveying is a powerful tool that can help businesses and organizations make more informed decisions by providing accurate and comprehensive data about the Earth's surface and environment.

What industries are using surveying drones?

Aerial surveying is used by a wide range of industries for various applications. Here are some of the industries that commonly use aerial surveying:

  1. Land Surveying: Aerial surveying is used extensively in land surveying and mapping to create accurate and detailed topographic maps, to identify boundaries and property lines, and to conduct land-use planning.
  2. Agriculture: Farmers use aerial surveying to obtain data about crop health, water usage, soil moisture, and other factors that affect crop growth and yield. This information is used to make informed decisions about irrigation, fertilization, and other crop management practices.
  3. Mining: Aerial surveying is used to survey mining sites, assess mineral reserves, and monitor environmental impacts.
  4. Construction and Engineering: Aerial surveying is used to monitor construction projects, assess the condition of existing structures, and create 3D models for building information modeling (BIM).
  5. Environmental Management: Aerial surveying is used to monitor the environment, track wildlife populations, and assess the impact of natural disasters. It is also used in urban planning to assess the impact of development on the natural environment.
  6. Transportation: Aerial surveying is used to survey highways, railroads, and other transportation infrastructure, to monitor traffic flow and congestion, and to assess the impact of transportation projects on the environment.
  7. Oil and Gas: Aerial surveying is used to survey oil and gas fields, assess reserves, and monitor pipelines and other infrastructure.

These are just a few examples of the industries that use aerial surveying. With the continued development of drone technology and other aerial surveying methods, it is likely that even more industries will find new and innovative ways to use this technology in the future.

What insurance do they need?

An aerial survey and mapping business typically needs several types of insurance coverage to protect against potential risks and liabilities. Here are some examples of insurance coverage that an aerial survey and mapping business may require:

  1. General Liability Insurance: This type of insurance provides coverage for third-party bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury claims that arise from your business operations. For example, if you accidentally damage a property or someone gets hurt as a result of your drone operations, this insurance would cover the associated costs.
  2. Aviation Liability Insurance: This type of insurance provides coverage for damages or injuries caused by your aircraft or drone. It includes liability coverage for property damage, bodily injury, and wrongful death claims.
  3. Hull Insurance: This type of insurance provides coverage for physical damage to your aircraft or drone in case of an accident or incident.
  4. Cyber Liability Insurance: This type of insurance provides coverage for cyber attacks, data breaches, and other cyber risks that may impact your business operations and data security.
  5. Professional Liability Insurance (E&O): This type of insurance provides coverage for claims related to errors or omissions in your work, such as inaccurate survey data or mapping information.
  6. Workers' Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, this type of insurance provides coverage for work-related injuries and illnesses.

It's important to consult with an insurance professional to determine the specific types and levels of insurance coverage that your aerial survey and mapping business needs, as the requirements may vary based on your business size, location, and other factors.

How much does insurance cost for a survey company?

The cost of insurance depends on multiple factors and underwriting data such as projected annual sales, replacement value of property, numbers of workers, and amount of data collected. It's best to speak to a Fullsteam insurance advisor to learn more about coverage and discuss premium indications.

To help with budgeting, we've listed the top policies and their average annual premium.

General Liability: 

Average Annual Premium: $500

Aviation Liability:

Average Annual Premium: $1,000

Hull Insurance:

Average Annual Premium: $1,500

Cyber Liability & Data Breach:

Average Annual Premium: $1,500

Professional Liability:

Average Annual Premium: $2,500

Workers Compensation:

Average Annual Premium: $2,000

A new company starting it's operations with one drone and $30,000 in payload should budget $5,000 to $10,000 for an annual insurance package covering their customers, people, property, and more.

Get in touch with a Fullsteam Insurance Advisor today and learn more about coverage, costs, and next steps to get insured.

Tyler Crawford
by Tyler Crawford
Email AuthorLinkedIn Profile
Talk to a risk
management specialist
schedule consultation