Lloyd’s of London wrote the first-ever aviation insurance policy in 1911. By 1912, the company stopped writing aviation policies due to steep losses suffered from crashes by several of its policy-holders. Today, general aviation pilots face a similar situation: There were once a great many companies providing aviation insurance, but that number has dwindled in recent years as the economic payoff of underwriting GA insurance has become less attractive.
When looking for the best aviation insurance deal, you can contact the underwriters themselves or call a broker, but understand that a smaller number of insurers generally means you’ll pay higher premiums. The thing to keep in mind when shopping for the best rate, according to Falcon Insurance, one of the country’s largest aviation brokers, is that computers and not humans almost always make the call when it comes to deciding what you will pay.
While many pilots prefer to use a broker who is a trusted friend and others swear by the big-name brokers in the business, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and Falcon, the human touch in setting prices has disappeared in the modern age. These days, underwriters including AIG Aviation Insurance, Avemco, Chartis, Phoenix Aviation Managers, Global Aerospace, Starr Aviation, USAIG and others rely on a vast amount of data compiled over many years to set pricing. What does that mean for you?
According to Falcon, here are some tips to make sure the insurance underwriter’s computers look upon you favorably:
• Provide the most up-to-date pilot information.
Rates are determined partly on the number of hours you have. Total time, time in type (multiengine/retractable gear) and make and model are all important, as are the certificates and ratings you hold.
• Stay current.
Pilot hours in the last 12 months and 90 days factor into the rate
• Keep training.
Recurrent training with approved facilities will qualify you for a discount with most insurance companies. Your agent should be able to give
And most important, shop around. Don’t call just one broker and take his word that you’re getting the best deal. With a little time and effort on your part, you can almost always find a lower price somewhere else.
For more on this topic, read our full-length aviation insurance feature here.