View Full Version : Your fault,you pay (insurance)
24th Jul 2012, 18:03
I was talking to my instructor while I was waiting to be picked up after my checkride and I happend to ask him about the companys insurance policy...seeing as he works for the company,I figured that he would know the policy.So after numerous questions,he said to me,"That is why we are extremly careful because If we happen to hover taxi (for example) and I mis-judge the distance to the apron gate and I clip the gate,we will end up paying for the damages."
I looked at him with surprise as I did not quite understand what he was implying to me..And so I asked him,"If I do something incorrectly and we happen to crash,do we pay out damages?"
"Yes" was his anwser.
So what I understand is that if there was a genuine failure (eg tail-rotor failure) then insurance will pay out,but if it is pilot error,then they are not liable?
I should ask the owner of the flight school as he will know,but I just dont want to seem like a twot (fool).
I thought maybe my instructor is just trying to spook me out so that I am absolutely careful but Im not too sure.
I am reffering to the R22 helicopter by the way.
PS:If this is the wrong forum section,please could you advise me as to when I should move my question to.
24th Jul 2012, 19:03
Depends on the country/state and the policy, of course, but insurance held by the FBO is for THEIR protection, NOT their students' or renters'!
The insurance companies use a process called "subrogation" to recover their losses from anyone they can find at fault. In the case of airplanes, that will usually involve any pilot aboard.
You'd have to look up your local laws regarding the liability of unlicensed students' liability, but you'd be smart to get renter's insurance to cover yourself. In the US it's relatively cheap ($100-200/year).
24th Jul 2012, 19:15
If it were that way, I wouldn't go closer than 50 metres to any aircraft. There are different types of insurance of course and they may differ between countries.
Here, there are basically three kinds:
1. Third party liability (mandatory in this part of the world) will cover damages that are caused to others by your aircraft. For example if the downwash of your rotor blows stones into the windshield of somebodys car.
2. Passenger liability (mandatory for commercial operations in this part of the worls) covers damages inflicted to your passengers by the operation of your aircraft.
3. Hull insurance (usually not mandatory) covers damages to your own aircraft. It usually is the most expensive of the three, therefore some operators and even flying schools do not take it. Even if they take the insurance, there may be a quite substancial deductible to keep the premium lower (this means that you have to pay yourself for the first xxx $ or Euros of damages).
All those three kinds of insurance will pay in any case except gross negligence, like flying under influence, not getting a weather briefing before a cross-country flight, flying outside mass and balance limits, flying with an unairworthy aircraft, etc. . In your case, it looks as if your training provider did to take a hull insurance for his aircraft (if your instructor is right) thereby shifting his risk towards the pilot in command. Which will always be your instructor and not yourself while under dual instruction. I would not even think about instructing at such a company (I instruct on fixed wing aircraft, but the principle is the same)!
But you should really talk to the owner of the flying school about this issue, maybe your instructor is just ill informed.
24th Jul 2012, 20:48
How much does it cost to create company which is also a separate legal entity? Now if said legal entity hired the plane and one of it's employees made a boo-boo, the insurance company would have to deal with a company which would be wound up at a moment's notice. Oops! Artificial? Yes. Legal? Yes. Moral? Against an insurance company - Definitely!
25th Jul 2012, 13:13
Thanks for the anwsers guys..
I'll look into it abit more just so I can get a better idea.
It just freaked me out abit because can you imagine how someone would feel if they went for their introductory flight and screwed up and crashed?
And then having to be told that you have to pay for damages...Just didnt seem right to me.
But thanks again:ok:
31st Jul 2012, 18:07
This is not a definitive answer, but after an incident at a previous school where I worked, the student who was at fault agreed to pay the insurance excess.
I wasn't involved in discussions about this, so I don't know whether he volunteered to do that or was asked to do it by the school (he certainly didn't begrudge it, he admitted responsibility, and came back to fly our aircraft again afterwards). I doubt there'd be a way the school could insist on a student paying anything unless it was agreed in writing in advance.
But pay the whole cost? No - the school's insurance should cover that. That's what it's for.
31st Jul 2012, 20:43
READ VERY CAREFULLY all forms and agreements you sign before renting airplanes or taking flight training or introductory flights! I've seen liability clauses buried in the fine print that would make the student/renter liable for a significant portion of any hull loss. In one particular club ~15 years ago, it was presented as the renter 'accepting' any subrogation claim by the insurance company. That would effectively make a renter potentially liable for the entire airplane.
5th Aug 2012, 10:15
Some good advice from others in response to your question.
As a trainer, one of the lines I use when someone says "This might be a stupid question..." is:
"The only stupid question is the one you DON'T ask."
It's easy in most cases to assume that someone knows the answer to something, but; as a trainer I learned long ago... "to ASSUME is to make as ASS out of U and ME". I remind myself of that regularly.
Go to the owner of the flight school and put the question to him/her in plain language, and if you don't understand the answer, say you don't. It's potentially your life/ income/ liability we're talking about here.
All the best in your training.