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Friends from abroad...

would often like to come flying, and I would like to take them, but they haven’t generally taken out travel insurance that covers flying in light aircraft.

Obviously I have 3rd party insurance via the policy for the plane I fly, and at least in numerical terms it would seem to cover potential healthcare costs. However in an accident with injuries it’s obviously going to be important that the claim is processed in a very timely manner with no quibbling. Travel policies seem to add a real premium, and can’t always be modified after leaving home.

In practical terms, would my regular insurance be likely to meet the needs of any overseas (Europe or Australian) passengers, and if not are there any additional policies that I could take out?

I’ve spent a lot of time riding motorcycles in Europe, and some flying, with US health insurance that covers me without issue when I am overseas on holiday. German visitors to me in the US have likewise been covered overseas for a number of weeks every year, and I have taken them flying without concern. Assuming your guests are happy with their arrangements in general, would anything different be required for flying?

Last Edited by Silvaire at 18 Mar 02:30

The insurance policies available here generally come in different grades depending on what you want to do. e.g. if you want to go round museums in Paris you pay the basic rate. If you want to go hang-gliding you have to pay a premium. If you want to go skiing you have to pay even more…

Many insurance policies specifically exclude flying in light aircraft and even some things that I take for granted as a normal part of daily life – e.g. cycling on the road is how I get to work, but may be counted as an extreme sport. Hence the need for extra cover. :
general exclusions
iii. Any claims arising out of the ownership, possession or use of any horse drawn or mechanically propelled vehicle (other than golf buggies), aircraft, waterborne craft (other than sailboards, surfboards, canoes, rowing dinghies, foot or hand propelled paddle boats, and inflatable dinghies), firearms or animals.
‘Flying, except as a fare-paying passenger’.

Interestingly many policies now exclude:

‘Flying (except passengers in licensed passenger aircraft)’ whatever that means.

Whereas my recollection is that they used to exclude flying, except on scheduled airlines. Recently in Australia my partner offered to buy me a flight from the local airport and when we checked, we found we weren’t covered.

It’s a real shame as I would like to take people up. I always have a brief discussion about the risks ‘about the same as riding a motorbike’ before taking people up, but pointing out that it’s so dangerous that they ought to spend an extra £50 on travel insurance would, I suspect, put a bit of a dampener on things.

Last Edited by kwlf at 18 Mar 03:04

I have to admit the concept of travel insurance is foreign to me on several different levels

with US health insurance that covers me without issue when I am overseas on holiday

Given US medical costs they would probably like you to spend your whole life abroad. It’s not just medical costs though – repatriation of bodies if you die or simply need an aeromedical transfer. A friend took up a whole row of seats in an airliner back from South Africa. A recent patient with a broken pelvis/leg got a private flight in a PA31 from Italy.

A US based friend of mine fell off his motorcycle in Romania a couple of years ago, with punctured lung plus broken ribs. The description of the Romanian hospital was ‘interesting’, they screwed up treatment for the punctured lung and treatment required cash payment to the doctors individually. Eventually he got back to Strasbourg where his brother lives, and because of the screw-up and subsequent recovery he couldn’t fly on the airlines for six weeks. His US health insurance paid the bills. He hung out and since he does long term commercial real estate deals for a living he wasn’t unduly harmed. In my case company disability insurance would’ve paid me salary for that period, and I maintain ADAC Plus membership to get me and my stuff to Germany if required.

Another friend fell off in Switzerland five years ago, broke a leg, the hospital billed him and he had to lean on his US insurance company to pay the hospital. He’s pretty good at that sort of thing, so after he threatened to write the state insurance commissioner they paid. I’m sure that kind of thing is common but he wasn’t significantly out of pocket.

In 2001 I was riding a rented motorcycle from Milan up Maloja Pass and came off in the rain, slid across the road at 80 kph into ditch. By some miracle the bike was still rideable and I wasn’t scratched so I continued on the trip as far south as Latina and back. Returning the bike I told the rental company owner what had happened and he was happy at my honesty, enough that he gave me back my Amex deposit and said he’d be in touch. A month or so later he emailed to say he’d got the parts cheap so $1300 total would do it That’s equivalent to extra 15 days rental cost on a 30 day trip, for falling off a $10K motorcycle at speed

Enough war stories… It seems to work out in the end, one way or another! They can bury my body locally if required Nothing would stop me flying anywhere if that’s I wanted to do. I’m apparently lined up to fly right seat in a 172 to Friedrichshafen in a few weeks, and looking forward to it.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 18 Mar 05:38

I hope I am not hijacking the thread, but I have been trying to get a clear picture on insurance requirements for flying (I just passed my skills test 2 weeks ago) so if anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated:

- I have life insurance which covers flying and will at least pay off the mortgage so my family will have a roof (although no income I guess unless I get income protection insurance);
- the club I rent from has hull insurance for its a/c with a GBP1,000 excess;
- is there any other insurance I should get to cover myself, i.e. is there a “basic package” so to speak of insurance that one should have (if not owning a plane).

I have a friend coming from Australia in a couple of weeks and he would like to fly as pax with me. The flying club insurance will not cover any injury or death to him and I am not insured against such third party claims either. Do I need to:
a) get third party insurance; and/or
b) tell him to make sure that his travel insurance covers flying?

It may sound like I am insurance obsessed but having broken my back in an accident (fortunately fully recovered) in 1997 from which I had an air ambulance lift me out to hospital, I am conscious that the last thing I want to worry about if I survive is then not being covered for health of myself or others.

Apologies again to kwlf if I am hijacking your thread! Happy to repost separately if you wish!

EGLM (White Waltham)

In the UK, 3rd party insurance (including passenger liability) is mandatory anyway. If you rent from a club, they will have that (but ask to see the certificate).

The club’s insurance would pay out to the club and the passengers, not to the pilot (unless the pilot is a named party on the policy, etc). It is thus possible that if you crash the plane, the insurer will pay out to the club and then go after you (or your estate if you are dead) to recover what they paid out. This is very rare but in a large profile case they might do it – especially if you yourself are insured Or live in a nice house.

I don’t know if there is a policy you can buy for yourself to cover this (there probably is). A normal aviation policy will not pay out to the pilot (whether he is the owner/operator or just a renter, etc). They should pay out to passengers, but a pilot has to arrange his own life cover.

In the UK, there is also the interesting aspect that there is no passenger liability unless the pilot is found negligent (ref: Civil Aviation Act). So if any passengers are injured, they have a huge incentive to establish (by whatever means) that you were negligent. I don’t think there is anything you can do about this, however.

Life insurance covers flying (or any other activity) if

  • you started it before you started doing that activity, or
  • you started it after you started doing that activity and the insurer agrees

unless specifically excluded.

This is also worth a read.

Last Edited by Peter at 18 Mar 11:34
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

When I go back to the US to visit my friends there (some of whom fly) I don’t worry about the travel insurance part: I know how my friends have their aircraft insured and it includes sufficient liability insurance to send me home if they break me and/or do significant amount of medical repairs even in a US hospital. I’ve never seen travel insurance that covers private flight in a light aircraft. It’s also difficult to find travel insurance that will insure you for riding a motorcycle with anything more than a fart-box engine so it seems. Personally I’m more concerned about the bike because having lived in Texas I know how little personal injury coverage comes with motor insurance policies for the driver of the vehicle (since it’s usually the driver’s health insurance that would pick up the tab).

Last Edited by alioth at 19 Mar 17:18
Andreas IOM

I used to have American Express annual travel insurance that covered flying in light aircraft. They wouldn’t insure me after age 65. I now have it through Hayward, who insure our plane.

EGPE, United Kingdom
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