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Insurance for Drones (UAV) Payload, Equipment, and Business Property

Protect your drone payload, equipment, and property with an insurance plan and dedicated risk management advisor. Scroll down to learn more about coverage, pricing, and the next steps.

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Drone Payload, LiDAR, Geospatial, Equipment, Property
What is aerial equipment?

Broadly speaking, the category of “aerial equipment” includes any tools used for aerial survey work. These are some of the most well-known types of aerial survey equipment:


If you’ve been involved with the aerial imaging industry for any amount of time, you know drones are a big deal in this field. Drones—otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—can carry cameras and LiDAR scanners.

Compared to “traditional” aerial survey methods involving manned aircraft, drones have a few significant advantages. Notably, drones tend to be less expensive than airplanes and helicopters. And since UAVs can fly at far lower altitudes than standard aircraft, you won’t have to worry about cloud cover or other atmospheric conditions.

Manned aircraft

While drones are an increasingly popular choice for aerial surveying, they certainly aren’t the only type of aircraft available to surveyors. Manned aircraft such as planes and helicopters are still commonly used for photogrammetry and LiDAR sensing applications.

One reason why this is the case is the high payload capacity found in manned aircraft. The average plane or helicopter can carry far more weight than a UAV can, allowing surveyors to use large cameras and heavy sensors in their work.

Photogrammetry cameras

The photogrammetry process begins with a high-resolution camera attached to an aircraft. This camera takes multiple images while traveling over an area, and these pictures overlap in such a way that specific points are visible in more than one photo.

Your brain takes images from both eyes and uses that information to create depth perception. Photogrammetry works on the same principle—when you have access to images of the same point from multiple perspectives, you can use these images to create a detailed 3D map.

LiDAR scanners

Like photogrammetry, LiDAR involves an aircraft-mounted sensor that takes measurements of the ground below. However, there’s one big difference between this technology and photogrammetry—LiDAR relies on laser measurements instead of photographs.

LiDAR provides far better results than photogrammetry when operating in densely forested areas. But photogrammetry also delivers some noteworthy advantages, such as simpler post-processing and a photorealistic end product.

Why is it used?

Obviously, aerial survey equipment is ideal for surveying large areas. Whether you opt for photogrammetry or LiDAR, an aerial survey can give you a quick, affordable look at almost any property.

Aerial surveys are perfect when dealing with places or buildings that are difficult to access, such as small islands, tall structures, bridges, and older buildings. In situations where accessibility is an issue, the small size and minimal take-off/landing requirements of drones make them an ideal option.

Some industries where aerial surveys are commonly used include:

  • Engineering. For example, aerial surveys can help with the development of models and the study of certain problems in traffic engineering.
  • Construction. Aerial maps make it easy for construction companies to get a bird’s-eye view of potential construction sites and plan their upcoming projects.
  • Real estate. Photogrammetry and LiDAR mapping can let real estate agents know what to expect from the properties they’re selling and make it easier to find buyers for these parcels.
  • Mining. With aerial maps, companies in the mining industry can plan future operations and look out for possible safety hazards.
  • Forestry. Foresters can use aerial surveys to search for diseases and pests, find illegal logging operations, and monitor the progress of their harvesting and reforestation efforts.
  • Oil and gas. Aerial maps are helpful for finding possible drilling sites and monitoring current sites.
  • Emergency services. Search and rescue teams, fire departments, and other emergency services rely on aerial surveys to plan operations and find people in danger.

What risks do they have? aerial

Some of the most prominent risks that people face while using aerial survey equipment include:

Unexpected Crashes

At the end of the day, you are relying on an experienced pilot or pre-programmed software. Both are subject to error and unexpected crashes may occur. The value of the equipment needs to be protected if the property is damaged.


It’s no secret that the sensors and cameras used for aerial surveying can be expensive. Because of that, these products can be attractive targets for theft—and if you don’t have the right insurance, you’ll need to pay out the nose for replacements.

Natural disasters

Theft isn’t the only reason you might lose one or more pieces of aerial survey equipment. These vehicles and sensors can also be damaged or destroyed in fires, floods, and other unexpected events.


Are you planning to use manned aircraft for surveying? In that case, you’ll need someone to fly this aircraft—and those people could get hurt on the job. With that in mind, you can’t afford to skip out on insurance that will cover situations like these.


Aerial surveying isn’t a foolproof process, so there’s always a chance that a client won’t be satisfied with their results. In a worst-case scenario, you could find yourself dealing with legal action because of this.

Auto accidents

If you’re transporting a drone for a survey, you probably won’t just be walking there. Instead, you’ll travel to the survey site in a business vehicle—a vehicle that could get involved in a crash.

What insurance do they need?

While you can’t eliminate the risks discussed above, you can take steps to minimize their impact on your aerial survey business. As part of these efforts, consider purchasing:

General liability insurance

No matter how careful you are on the job, someone could get hurt due to your aerial survey work. Even if you stick to drones, these UAVs could cause injuries or property damage in the event of a crash. To mitigate risks like these, you’ll need to invest in a general liability insurance policy.

With general liability insurance, you’ll be covered for risks like customer injury and customer property damage. These policies also protect businesses from advertising injuries—that is, accidental copyright infringement or libel/slander. And if you need a commercial lease, there’s a good chance you’ll have to have this form of insurance first.

Inland marine insurance

When you’re working with expensive survey equipment, commercial property insurance alone isn’t enough. You’ll also want to know this property is insured when it’s in transit, and most commercial property insurance policies don’t cover situations like these.

Buying an inland marine insurance policy is the best way to fill this coverage gap. These policies can protect your drones, sensors, and other valuable pieces of aerial survey equipment while they’re on the move. If this equipment gets damaged or stolen outside your primary workplace, inland marine insurance will help to cover the losses.

Commercial property insurance

If your drone, LiDAR scanner, or other expensive piece of aerial survey equipment gets stolen, one thing’s for sure—you won’t want to buy a replacement on your own. But that doesn’t mean you can avoid replacing this equipment, since you won’t be able to run your business without it.

Fortunately, commercial property insurance can help. This type of insurance focuses on protecting business-owned real estate and other assets—and not just from theft. You can also use this insurance if your property is damaged by fire, flooding, or other natural disasters.

Business owner’s policy

As you can see, it’s wise for aerial survey businesses to invest in both general liability insurance and commercial property insurance policies. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy both of these policies individually. Instead, you might be able to save by purchasing a bundle known as a business owner’s policy (BOP).

Not every business qualifies for a BOP, but you’ll likely be able to buy one if you meet a few prerequisites. Companies that employ under 100 people, operate in a small facility, and bring in less than $1 million annually are strong candidates for these policies.

Professional liability insurance

Many different industries count on aerial survey work, which means getting something wrong could have serious consequences—and you could end up facing a lawsuit as a result. But even if a client sues you over something frivolous, you’ll still need to pay legal fees to fight these charges.

If you’re facing any lawsuit (no matter how justified), professional liability insurance can help. With this insurance policy, you’ll get valuable assistance paying legal fees for suits related to:

  • Oversights and mistakes
  • Alleged negligence
  • Failure to deliver services that were promised

Workers’ compensation insurance

Piloting a drone may seem like a low-risk activity, but drone pilots can be injured as easily as anyone else if the UAV they’re operating crashes. And if your aerial survey process relies on manned aircraft, there’s an unavoidable possibility that the people flying these aircraft could get hurt on the job.

Workers’ compensation insurance can make it much easier for companies to deal with the financial impacts of employee injuries. This insurance can help cover:

  • Upfront medical costs (like ambulance rides and ER visits)
  • Ongoing medical expenses (such as medicines and physical rehab)
  • Partial lost wages when an employee cannot work due to their injuries

Commercial auto insurance

Of course, your equipment isn’t the only thing you’ll need to insure on the road. If you’re taking survey equipment from Point A to Point B, you’re almost certainly using a company vehicle to do so. That opens you up to the risk of getting involved in an auto accident.

With commercial auto insurance, you won’t have to worry about the financial implications of legal fees, medical bills, and property repair work related to auto accidents. Some policies in this category even cover theft, vandalism, and weather damage affecting commercial vehicles.

How much does it cost?

The total cost for an insurance package covering your business, property, and people depends on numerous factors. As things like your people, your property, or your customer base grows, the cost of insurance will increase. Below are some of the most common elements that affect the price of insurance:

  • Value of Property: the more property the more premium.
  • Business Operations: an office-only business will pay much less than a manufacturer.
  • Total Projected Sales: a business doing $5m in sales will pay much less than a business doing $25m in revenue
  • Number of Workers: more people create a higher chance of losses
  • Number of Locations: more locations to insure create higher premiums
  • Territory of Operations: domestic only pay less than domestic + foreign operations
  • Risk Management Safeguards: business practices like alarms, employee handbooks, and cyber defense systems decrease premium
  • Prior Claims & Lawsuits: insurance carriers charge more if you have prior losses or lawsuits. Insurers are businesses and if they deem you a company that will cost them money, they will charge more.

On average, a startup pays anywhere from $2,000 a year for the most basic insurance package, but growing businesses with higher sales, more people and property, can pay $7,000 to $10,000+ if they include all the necessary coverage. Below are the average prices for each key coverages we mentioned above:

  • Business Owners Policy: $500 to $1,000 a year
  • Commercial General Liability (CGL): $300 to $750 a yea
  • Commercial Property: depends on price of property - 1% to 7% of the value
  • Product Liability & Recall: $250 to $500 a year
  • Cyber Liability & Data Breach: $400 to $750 a year
  • Business Automobile: $200 to $500 for non-owned, $2,000+ for owned autos
  • Commercial Crime: $500 to $750 a year
  • Fiduciary Liability: $400 to $600 a year
  • Group Health Insurance: $300 per person
  • Workers Compensation: depends on type of worker 0.1 to 1% per $100,000 in payroll
  • Employment Practices Liability (EPLI): depends on number of employees - $250 to $500 per worker
  • Directors & Officers (D&O): $2,000 to $5,000 a year
  • Key Person Insurance: $1,000 to $5,000 a year

Call, text, or email us today, or schedule a meeting, and speak wit a Fullsteam Cannabis Advisor. You deserve a specialized insurance agent, modern processes, and an insurance carrier that has your back.

How do you get it?

The process to get insurance is an easy and straightforward process. You get us the information we need to engage insurance providers and we'll supply the best possible quote(s). We're also real people that probably live in your city, and we value relationships, so meeting in person is always an option. At the end of the day, our job as brokers and advisors is to educate you on what everything means. It also helps us to understand your business and insurance needs, so we can get underwriter comfortable with quoting. We'll help you understand insurance and risk management practices, and be there for you as the business grows.

Some traditional businesses can move through the process faster as a lot of underwriting is supported by artificial intelligence, but most policies today will be reviewed by an actual person. We have decades of experience working with the underwriters at each insurance company, and pitch your business to each of them. We work with and for you.

The standard process to produce quotes for your business is as follows:

  1. Advisor Introduction: this can be a quick phone call, email, video conference or in person meeting. You'll decide if you enjoy the advisor and trust their advice. This is also where you'll be able to ask questions, provide information about your operation, and go over the process to get insured.
  2. Data Collection & Underwriting: this is where you'll get into the fine details about underwriting questions and information that will be necessary to engage the insurance market. You'll be able to chose from filling out PDF's, going through our smart-form technology, or provide it all over the phone, email, or in person.
  3. Quote Proposal & Review: once your advisor has the information needed for underwriting, they will work with the insurance market to produce quotes. This can take a day or up to a week, depending on the time and operation.
  4. Finalize Coverage: here you'll decide the coverage to move forward with. Final steps include signed documents, payment, and selecting a specific start date.

ADIVSOR TIP: Be prepared to spend 5-10 minutes with your advisor to break the ice and get the ball rolling. Once aligned, your advisor will create clear next steps and create a timeline for quotes. If your business is new, and has unique risks, then you should expect a little back and forth.

Get in touch with your advisor, or send over the details digitally today.


Why Fullsteam?

We’re humans, not robots.

We could have our algorithm give you a quote in 10 minutes. But your business deserves better than that. You deserve a dedicated insurance advisor and service team who knows how to manage complex risk.

We serve you, not the bank.

Your personal insurance advisor will negotiate the best coverage, at the best rate, from the best insurance carriers. Because anything less wouldn’t be acceptable.

Excellence is our middle name.

Think of us like your personal risk management concierge. The godparents to your business. Call, email, text, DM... we’re here whenever you need us.

We e-everything.

Paperwork is annoying. So we do business digitally. Life is just easier that way. Plus killing trees is mean.

Got questions? Give us a call.