Drone insurance explained

Confused.com C icon
Our expert panel review all content. Learn more about our editorial standards and how we operate.

With drones taking off, it's important to understand why dedicated insurance for your gadget is essential.

There are regulations and legal obligations, so you'll need to assess what you use your drone for and what cover you need from your policy.

We'll explain what types of drone insurance are available to you and what is protected with your cover.

Woman piloting drone

Some home insurance policies can cover theft if your drone is stolen from your home. A personal possessions policy can include theft and accidental damage protection for drones. But, you must check the terms of your policy to confirm this.

It's more than likely that a home insurance policy can only provide limited cover for your drone. For more extensive cover, it's worth considering specialist drone insurance or a gadget insurance policy.

We don't currently compare drone or gadget insurance policies at Confused.com, unfortunately. You may plan on using your home insurance cover, or decide to buy a specialist policy. Whatever the case, always check your documents to make sure you're satisfied with the level of cover you have for your drone.  

Drone insurance is there to cover you for damage sustained to your drone, injury and damage caused by your drone to others, and legal costs.

There are regulations that can determine whether you must have a drone insurance policy in place. These rules take into account what you use your drone for, and its weight.

Whether you use your drone commercially or recreationally, you must follow the drone and model aircraft code by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).

If you intend on flying a drone under 20kg for recreational purposes, you’re not legally obliged to have insurance. You still may want to consider insurance to protect you if you need to make a claim, or if someone makes a claim against you.

If your drone is 20kg or heavier, at very least you must have third-party drone insurance, regardless how you use it.

Flying a drone can be an enjoyable experience, particularly capturing breathtaking images. If you don't fly your drone that often, you could consider policies that cover you for a one-off period.

Even if you're not legally required to buy insurance for your drone, you should always consider a policy for peace of mind. Recreational drone insurance can cover:

  • Travelling abroad: If you decide to take a drone on your travels.
  • Public liability: Financial protection to cover costs if your drone causes damage or injury to someone else.
  • Personal injury: If you have an accident and suffer an injury while using your drone.
  • Accidental damage or loss: Can provide cover to repair or replace your drone if its destroyed or damaged.
  • Theft: If your drone is stolen.

If you need to use your drone for work purposes, you're legally obligated to buy insurance to fly it. If you're caught without insurance, you could face fines and potentially hefty legal costs if a claim is made against you.

At a minimum, you'll need an insurance policy to cover third-party and public liability. There are wider benefits you could choose to include in your policy such as:

  • Theory and flight exam cover
  • Associated equipment cover
  • Transit cover
  • Employer liability

It's easy to overlook, but you'll still be responsible for buying a policy regardless of the industry you work in. There are numerous jobs that could require a commercial drone pilot, including:

  • Photographer
  • Security
  • Film and media
  • Estate agents
  • Contruction
  • Search and rescue operations

When it comes to paying for drone insurance, you can choose between two common policies that offer flexibility to suit your needs:

A traditional annual policy: Recommended for commercial pilots who regularly use their drone. You'll have the option to pay monthly or in one go as you would with other insurance policies. This cover is ideal for those using a drone as part of their job and could require a wide-ranging comprehensive policy.

A pay-as-you-fly (PAFL) policy: The preferred option for amateur pilots and those using a drone occasionally as a hobby. A PAFL policy can cover you per flight, or for a set period of time. The best use for this policy is if you plan to use your drone during a scenic holiday to capture striking images, for example.

According to the CAA, there are two IDs you may need before flying drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK:

Flyer ID: You'll have to pass the CAA official theory test to get a flyer ID. Acquiring your flyer ID can authorise you to fly certain drones, in some cases you must have a flyer ID in addition to an operator ID.

Operator ID: The operator ID confirms you are responsible for your drone, its maintenance, and making sure it's only flown by an individual with a flyer ID. An operator ID is your registration number and must be labelled on your drone. You must be 18 or over to get an operator ID. So if you’re younger than 18 and you own a drone or model aircraft, you must ask your parent or guardian to register for an operator ID. You can still fly a drone below the age of 18, but you must obtain your flyer ID first.

Depending on the weight of your drone, you may need an operator ID, or a flyer ID in addition to the operator ID. You must check the CAA requirements before flying your drone.

Before you begin flying your drone, you should consider reading through the CAA drone code. It can help you understand what you need to legally fly, where you can fly, and your responsibilities. You'll need to refer to the code before flying, but some of the key topics are:

  • Why you need operator and flyer ID's and how to obtain them
  • Categories of drone and model aircraft operations
  • Flying safely and legal restrictions/limits
  • How to fly with authorisation outside of the code
  • Protecting people's privacy while flying your drone

There are legal restrictions surrounding drone use, reading the code and taking courses can help you get the most out of flying your gadget.

Compare home insurance quotes

Share this article

Home insurance guides