Corporate Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance provides coverage to companies or individuals that use aircraft that they do not own and that are operated by third parties such as chartered aircraft or permissive use. These exposures are primarily contingent liabilities where the user does not employ the crew and is not directly involved with the operation and maintenance of the aircraft.
Non-Owned Hull and Liability for Corporate Aircraft
- Non-owned aircraft third party legal liability with limits of $100,000,000 or higher
- Non-owned aircraft hull physical damage $1,000,000 and up.
Non-Owned Hull and Liability for Special Uses
- Film and Production
- Power-line Patrol
- Pipe-line Patrol
- Aerial Photo and Survey
- Air Ambulance
Who needs Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Protection?
You do, if you or your organization uses an aircraft that you or your organizations do not own, even if you are only a passenger.
What are some examples of non-owned aircraft exposures?
- A person or organization that charters an aircraft (pilot furnished by the aircraft owner), whether for personal or for business use.
- A person who is a passenger in an aircraft that they do not own when a loss occurs, even if accompanied by the aircraft owner/pilot.
- An independent professional contract pilot operating an owner's aircraft.
- A person or organization with an employee pilot who owns or rents an aircraft for use on company business.
- A person or organization that borrows or uses an aircraft, even though an approved user.
- A person or organization that employs professional flight personnel that may operate other owners aircraft regardless of whether part of their primary employment.
How likely is it that there will be protection under the owner's insurance policy for a "non-owner" user, passenger or charter customer?
It depends on your connection to the aircraft owner, whether there are adequate limits, what the owner's policy says about protecting you, the use of the aircraft, etc. Are you a passenger or organization responsible for chartering the flight? If you are in the aircraft in any capacity as someone responsible for arranging or operating the flight, you most likely do NOT have protection.
Why wouldn't the aircraft owner's aviation insurance policy protect me?
As stated above it may. Most policies extend protection under the liability coverage (bodily injury and property damage) to permissive users, and to others in the aircraft, or to entities responsible for the aircraft use. Such extensions generally do not apply to damages to the aircraft itself but only to bodily injury and other property damage.
Protection, however, is not generally extended to persons or business entities in the "aviation" business therefore any charter broker, pilot service or travel department would not be protected under most owners' individual aircraft insurance policies.
How can I know if I am protected under the aircraft owner's insurance policy?
You can't know for sure unless you read and understand the owner's policy. Some policyholders may not be sure about who is and who is not protected in their own policy. Some have confused being a permissive user, customer or an approved pilot with being included for liability insurance protection. Such may not be the case, especially for persons working in commercial aviation or the business of arranging charter flights on behalf of others.
Can I buy my own insurance to apply when I use an aircraft I do not own?
Yes, if you qualify. Coverage is generally available for non-commercial uses:
- For Corporations - Corporate Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance
- For individual licensed renter pilots - Personal Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance
Corporate Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance policies can be broader in the types aircraft covered provided they are only operated by pilots furnished by the aircraft owner such as chartered aircraft. With chartered aircraft the exposures are mainly contingent liabilities since the charter customer is not directly involved with the operation and maintenance of the aircraft. If the pilot is an employee of the corporation being insured, coverage may still be available, but would be rated in accordance with the pilot's experience and may be limited to certain aircraft types or models.
Personal Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance is usually limited to single engine, fixed wing, non-pressurized, piston, land aircraft having a seating capacity not exceeding seven total seats and a maximum engine horsepower rating of 450 hp, with a Standard Airworthiness Certificate. Coverage can also be provided for student pilots. Multiengine and other aircraft not included in the above description would require special consideration by underwriters for Personal Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance and may not be readily available at a comparable cost (see premium indications below).
How much does it cost?
Corporate Non-Owned Aircraft Liability underwriting can become very involved because corporate and high net worth insureds usually require higher limits of liability. Also, the rating depends on whether any employees of the corporation will serve as pilots or if only chartered aircraft will be used (pilots furnished by owner). If employee pilots are involved the pilot experience and types of aircraft to be used must be factored in along with other information such as anticipated hours and geographical areas involved.
The Personal Non-Owned Aircraft Liability is easy to rate since a couple of companies provide a simplified application process. For those who qualify, the premiums can range from around $125 for a limit of liability of $250,000 with passenger bodily injury limited to $25,000 each passenger to around $325 for a limit of liability of $1,000,000 with passenger bodily injury limited to $100,000 each passenger. The insured's employer (if not in the aviation business) can also be protected for an additional charge of $50. The above coverage does not apply to damage to the non-owned aircraft itself. For that protection you need the following "Liability Coverage for Damage to Non-Owned Aircraft".
What if I own an aircraft, have insurance for it, but occasionally use someone else's aircraft?
Most aircraft insurance policies have provisions that could apply to the named insured's use of a non-owned aircraft. The coverage is usually set forth in a section called "Use of Other Aircraft." Under it, liability coverage is extended to apply when the named insured is operating another aircraft. It should be noted that this provision usually applies ONLY if the named insured is one individual (may include spouse) and not if the named insured is a corporation or more than just one individual (such as co-owner named insureds). Approved non-owned aircraft may be limited to aircraft of the same type as the insured aircraft. This protection would apply as excess over any other valid and collectible insurance available to the named insured (e.g., coverage may be available under the owners insurance).
It should also be noted that the "Use of Other Aircraft" provision may not extend to cover damage to the aircraft being operated. Further, coverage would not apply to any aircraft that the named insured owns, in whole or in part, or that is rented or leased for more than a short period, seven to 30 days.
Corporate named insureds can usually have the insurance on their owned aircraft endorsed to include the corporate use of non-owned aircraft, although this feature is not always part of a corporate aircraft policy. An endorsement can be added to include property damage liability resulting from damage to the non-owned aircraft.
Most aircraft insurance policies have a provision for extending liability coverage to apply to a temporary substitute aircraft. This coverage applies when the insured aircraft is down and out of service because of breakdown, repair, servicing, loss or destruction and another aircraft is used as a substitute.
What is "Non-Owned Hull" insurance?
It is a confusing term that could be misleading. It has been occasionally misunderstood as being physical damage ("Hull") coverage on a non-owned aircraft. It is not. Actually it is provided as an exception to a typical property damage liability exclusion. The exclusion eliminates protection under Property Damage Liability insurance for damage to property belonging to others but which is damaged while in the care, custody, or control of the insured. The so called "non-owned hull" insurance sets aside this exclusion and makes coverage available for property damage liability arising out of damages to a non-owned aircraft. This coverage is more properly referred to as "Liability Coverage for Damage to Non-Owned Aircraft." Since the phrase "non-owned hull" is not as wordy, it is often used when discussing this coverage, even by insurance professionals.
Do Non-Owned claims really happen?
Yes. And when they do occur, they tend to be very complex especially when interchange or fractional ownership becomes part of the equation.
One very high profile loss involving nearly all of the above can be found at the following link.
Alberto-Culver Corporation v. AON Corporation