For more information or to get a quote contact us today
Possible Liabilities for Flight Instructors & Pilots
An Important Lesson for Flight Instructors
You’ve got your pilot certificate and your flight instructor certificate. You’re one of 85,539 active flight instructors in the U.S. and take great pride in sharing your love for flying with future pilots. But what of the dangers — and financial liability — to you as an instructor? Your student hits or clips the hangar or damages a door of an aircraft — or worse. Consider this: private flight crashes were 12x higher than the average for other types of general aviation flying. Thus, you should consider having liability insurance for flight instructors.
Understanding Negligence by a Flight Instructor
Liability for an accident involves two categories — intentional or negligent acts. An intentional act will leave a certified flight instructor (CFI) without insurance protection, but flight liability often comes from negligence.
What is negligence in the insurance world? Negligence is often defined as a lack of due care. As a flight instructor, it’s your responsibility to pay attention to safety details and make smart decisions. If you’re held liable for an accident, legal professionals will consider whether you properly executed your duties as a CFI.
As a certified flight professional, you’re held to a high standard. If a prosecutor finds you weren’t fulfilling your responsibilities as a flight instructor, you’ll have to pay out a large sum of money. In an instance where you’re flying with a student pilot, the responsibility may technically be theirs due to their lack of experience, but the event will still likely fall on your shoulders since you’re the instructor.
One of your many responsibilities as a CFI is making sure you have fulfilled all of your duties as a flight professional.
What Can You Do to Reduce Risk?
When you’re looking to avoid claims of negligence, risk management is key. As a CFI, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and prove you weren’t negligent in a damaging event. Risk management techniques should include:
- Release forms: You should always require your student pilots to sign release forms before starting instruction. These official documents express the involved risk with flight lessons, and when a student signs one, they acknowledge that you may not be liable for any harm that could occur. Waivers like these can be valuable, but they won’t protect you on their own.
- Documentation: As a CFI, you have a series of steps you have to complete before taking flight, like checking various parts of the plane. Make a note of and date these steps, and you’ll have evidence of you following through with your duties. It’s also critical to follow all training instructions closely and record proof of taking these steps.
- Attention to details: While documentation often involves an eye for detail, you should maintain that philosophy in everything you do. Exercise good judgment and ensure your students are making good decisions as well.
Liability Insurance for Flight Instructors
Insurance coverage is an essential step in risk management. While release forms and documentation can have your back if something goes wrong, they won’t cover you financially if you’re still held liable for an event.
Liability Insurance for Flight Instructors
Fact is, there are two main areas of exposure to pilots operating an aircraft — liability for physical injury or property damage, and physical damage to the aircraft. Think you’re covered because you’re working for a flight school? Think again. Although the school has insurance, when an accident happens, claimants are looking for multiple sources of compensation. That includes your personal estate, whether you’re alive or deceased. The aircraft owner can also come after you.
“Any aircraft owner can seek reimbursement from pilots for the deductible and for increased insurance premiums,” says Rick J. Lindsey, president, CEO, and Chairman of Prime Insurance Company, an excess and surplus lines insurance carrier that specializes in providing solutions for specialty and declined risks. “Owners and pilots are separately liable for accidents under FAA regulations.”
What, then, do you do to protect yourself? The best protection against costly litigation is individual liability insurance from a trusted insurance company. XINSURANCE, powered by Evolution Insurance Brokers, offers customized, individual liability insurance coverage solutions for pilots of all experience levels. Certified Flight Instructors, AMTs, owners, fractional owners, FAA check ride pilots, and private contractors can obtain this coverage.
How Much Liability Coverage Do You Need as a CFI?
When you apply for CFI liability insurance, you need to decide how much coverage you need. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for every CFI, you should consider your circumstances. What kind of plane do you use? Who takes your lessons? Think about your assets and earnings and how much financial damage you can take.
At XINSURANCE, we offer flexible underwriting with an all-in-one approach to create customized insurance coverage. Talk with one of our agents to discuss your options and find true peace of mind.
Get a Quote for Flight Instructor Liability Insurance Today
Let’s face it, as a flight instructor, you’re fully trained to take students up. But probably your most important lesson is to cover yourself before you even start teaching. XINSURANCE is the way to go before you go. Contact our team today.
Last updated on March 26, 2021