An insight into Coverdrone’s 2023 claims

At Coverdrone, our aim is to offer a valuable and flexible insurance product for drone users that is easy to purchase, provides real peace of mind and protection should anything happen, and is underpinned by helpful, friendly and expert support at every step.

But of course, we understand that the true value of our drone insurance products is often only actually realised at the point you need to make a claim.

In this blog, we share some insight into the Coverdrone claims from last year.

We know exactly how important it is to provide a quick and efficient claims service following an incident and get you back up and running again with minimal fuss and delay. We’re incredibly proud to say that in 2023, we paid over 97% of all claims we received.

Below we share the most common reasons for drone-related claims from our customers in 2023:

Please note this list only gives an indication of the most common types of claims we receive. This is not an exhaustive list of all claims for 2023.

Now we take a look at the common causes in a bit more detail.

1. Pilot error

Firstly, let’s start with pilot error. This continues to be the most common cause of drone-related incidents, with over 50% of all claims reported into us in 2023 being a result of pilot error. Factors such as fatigue, poor communication and distraction can all increase the likelihood of a drone-related incident resulting from pilot error. Whilst there are numerous reasons why this can occur, it is easily avoidable when the pilot is aware of the risks when flying. Check out our 10 tips for preventing drone crashes blog for some helpful guidance.

2. Loss of data link

Loss of data link was our second most common claim type in 2023. Typically, this was caused by the drone losing GPS signal. There are a few ways to mitigate the damage to your drone as a result of a loss of data connection. These include:

  • Ensuring everything is working correctly at a low altitude – we recommend initially hovering your drone a few metres from the ground during take-off. This will enable your battery to sufficiently warm up and give you time to check you have a strong GPS signal before you commence your flight. This allows you to quickly and safely return your drone to the ground if you do identify an issue.
  • Ensuring safety functions are pre-set before the flight – the Return To Home (RTH) is a useful function that can be used manually by a pilot to land the aircraft at the touch of a button, or automatically if the signal is lost between the drone and the controller. The automatic functions are safety measures designed to give additional protection and peace of mind when flying. We recommend setting a new Home Point, ensuring you have a least four GPS bars, at the beginning of each flight.

3. Accidental damage

Our third most common claim type for 2023 was accidental damage. “Accidental damage” is defined as damage that occurs suddenly as a result of an unexpected and non-deliberate action. In simpler terms, this usually means a one-off and unintentional incident that can cause harm to your property or the property of others.

Again it’s worth checking out our 10 Tips For Preventing Drone Crashes blog for further suggestions on how to avoid accidental damage as a result of a drone crash.

4. Accidental loss

Accidental loss makes a regular appearance in our top 10 claim reasons each year, although 2023 did see this claim reason jump up three places from the previous year. If you own multiple drones and a lot of associated equipment, it can be easy to leave something behind when you pack up to go home. Make sure you properly scour the area and gather all your kit before you leave.

5. Bird strike

Birds have occupied our skies long before the invention of drones. Many people wrongly assume a bird strike is uncommon, yet bird strikes were the fifth most common cause of claims in 2023, retaining this position for a further year. It’s therefore really important to understand the potential risks of a bird strike and the damage that it can cause to your drone and look at ways to mitigate the risk throughout the course of your flight.

We recommend scanning your immediate surroundings before you take-off to check if there are any bird flocks nearby. If you spot any lingering in the area, it’s likely they will stay there to take care of their young, or to source food. If you observe any flocks, we recommend relocating to another location to reduce the risk to your equipment and avoid disrupting their natural habitat.

Check out our 7 Tips to avoid a drone bird strike blog for more hints and tips.

6. Fly Away

Unfortunately, flyaways happen from time to time. In fact, they were the sixth most common claim reason in 2023, up two places from the previous year.

Flyaways can result from several different factors, including flying beyond your visual line of sight, compass interference and not setting (or updating) your designated Return To Home (RTH) point.

Read our How to prevent drone flyaways blog for further information.

7. Mechanical failure

Our seventh highest cause of claims in 2023 was mechanical failure, down three places from the previous year. All drone manufacturers will have their own set of guidelines that pilots should adhere to in order to minimise the chances of mechanical failure during a flight. Ensure you have carefully gone through your mechanical and safety checks before you take-off. This includes regularly updating any software.

8. Weather

Drones have many intricate motors and sensitive electronics that need to be protected as best as they can against airborne moisture resulting from rain, fog and snow. Colder temperatures can also greatly reduce the chemical activity in lithium batteries. This reduces flight times and can cause your batteries to become unstable, putting your drone at risk of falling out of the sky without warning.

If you intend on flying during the winter months, check out our Top Tips For Flying Your Drone This Winter blog.

9. Theft

You may think theft of equipment is unlikely, but unfortunately it is a lot more common than you perhaps realise, and we continue to see a number of claims reported for this. Many drone operators now own multiple drones and a whole array of associated equipment, which is very valuable and attractive to potential thieves.

It’s therefore really important that you remain vigilant, never leave equipment unattended in a public area and keep equipment locked away and out of sight when not in use.

10. Loss of power

Loss of power is a regular feature on our top 10 claim reasons year on year – and continued to be a common cause of claims in 2023. Always ensure your batteries are fully charged before take-off and wherever possible try to avoid flying with low or partially charged batteries. Whilst you may think you have enough power to complete your flight safely with a semi-charged battery, it will always carry the increased risk of losing power mid-flight.