From the White House to your neighbor’s house drones have become serious business. So much so that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been requiring that any drones over a half pound in weight must be registered with the agency. This requirement comes as a precaution in the wake of drone incidents including hundreds of reported near-misses with regular FAA aircraft.
FAA Registration Requirements
Your drone must be registered with the FAA if it is over 1/2 pound in weight according to federal rule as of December 2015. Drones purchased before Dec. 21, 2015 must have been registered by Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. Drone owners after December 21, 2015 must register before their first use. The registration fee is $5 and the registration documentation must be present when the owner operates their drone.
Drone Insurance Concerns
Drone use has also prompted many to ask questions about its insurance accountability. Since most drone operators tend to be children or hobbyists, it is recommend to refer to your homeowners policy or auto policy to make sure that you or your child are covered for liability if a mishap should occur.
Possible accidents involving drones can include personal injury from a malfunctioning drone, property or auto damage, and automobile driver interference. If you plan to use the drone for business purposes, first check your commercial liability insurance for coverage limitations. Privacy is a also a concern for drone operation. Contact your agent to find out if invasion of privacy can also be covered even if it is inadvertent.
FAA Safety Guidelines for Flying Drones
- always use caution when operating a drone
- do not attempt to operate an aircraft that is more than 55 pounds
- do not fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you’ve made prior arrangements with the control tower
- keep your drone in sight at all times
- keep your drone within 400 feet high or lower
- avoid surrounding obstacles, people and stadium areas.