How to insure your UAV

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry in New Zealand is an incredibly fast growing industry and is being assisted by the uptake of the technology by traditional industry's such as agriculture and construction. UAV owners and operators are being urged to ensure they’re adequately covered by insurance. However we've found there is a lack of understanding when it comes to insuring drones especially from brokers and insurers who think they're covering some of the risks but aren't providing the advice that the industry needs.

Thats why we decided to make this guide and provide the risk advice that UAV owners need. Lets cover off the the basics, the rules and the cover available.


There are a huge variety of craft available ranging from the tiniest hand sized quadcopters to large commercial multirotors capable of hauling a decent payload. 

Regardless of which type of craft you want to use  if your new to UAV's we'd  first suggest joining Airshare and undertaking some basic training such as their Drone 101 course which will help you understand the Civil Aviation Rules and airspace, basic flight preparation, planning and operations.

Part of these courses run through the basics of managing risks involved with flying an aircraft which aren't to be taken lightly.

It’s important that all operators both domestic and commercial fully understand the consequences they face if there’s an incident with their UAV
— Samuel Kerr , Seneca Insurance Brokers


The two main rules that govern all flights of UAV flights (and other small craft) are known as CAA 101 and 102, you'll fall under one of these two categories and the CAA have produced the handy outline below to understand your obligations.

For more info on the rules visit the CAA website or their frequently asked questions.

The Cover

Seneca Group have access to a number of insurers offering bespoke protection including full cover whilst in flight, aviation liability and many more key covers to keep you flying.


You've probably heard the term liability before attached to something like public liability, a cover provided for businesses to protect them from their "legal liability for property damage or personal injury". You might be thinking "Perfect, that will cover me!" the short answer is no it won't. There's a standard exclusion removing liability cover for an accident involving any aircraft, motor vehicles and boats.

When you think of liability to cover your drone operation think more along the lines of third party liability insurance for your car, which is still similar but has specialist covers. This is the basic cover we recommend for any operator that fly's in public environments or commercially and surprisingly it's not too expensive starting from around $600 + gst (may vary between regions and operations.)

Some insurers are now able to write extensions capable of insuring your liability for UAV operations as part of standard liability policies. When exploring this type of cover we would strongly recommend the advice of one of our brokers.


This falls in to two types of cover available for your drone, we call them flight risk and non flight risk. They're pretty self explanatory but for clients we like to go into a bit more detail than the below:

Flight Risk

Covers your drone while in flight (as the name details) and also while on the ground or in transit/storage between jobs. Cost for this cover is dependent on a number of factors but is typically a set rate against the value of your UAV.

Non Flight Risk

Covers your drone only while on the ground, in transit and storage between jobs. This cover excludes all flights including takeoff and landing, so don't come down to hard! Most operators use this cover if they are capable of quickly replacing their UAV or its parts and therefore will cover the flight risk themselves rather than insuring it. Typically the cost difference between flight and non flight risks is 1-2% of the value of the UAV so it can be worth exploring both options when setting up your cover.

Why Use Seneca?

  • We understand the risks involved and understand the mechanics and properties of small unmanned aircraft.
  • We have a passion for technology and are openly working with a number of other operators, designers and industries.
  • We provide choice by working with all insurers to ensure your cover suits your need and your business.
  • We value personal service highly and that’s why we appoint dedicated advisers to our customers. That way we get to know you and you get to know us. A basis for a great working relationship and definitely not a number in a call center.

Ready to speak to one of our team about insuring your UAV?

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