Experimental Pilots - How do you insure your plane for a reasonable rate?

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by MarkH, Aug 1, 2022.

  1. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    I just had my agent quote insurance for a Whittman Tailwind (O-200, taildragger), and the quote came back as just over $5K for $20K hull, and $2600 for liability only.

    I recognize I am low time (175 hours, 26 Tw), but a Luscombe with $30K Hull was quoted as $1700.
     
  2. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    The blunt truth is that you fall into the high risk category when it comes to insuring, not to mention premiums have just been rising exponentially the last few years. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do besides get more time in type and even then, it’s not guaranteed to make a huge impact.
     
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  3. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Technical Administrator

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    All true to some extent but 5K for a Tailwind is outside the norm in my experience. There are a lot of variables, one of which is the broker and the insurer. I'm well under $2K/year for an RV-4 with Global through Gallagher. Probably lower due to the number of -4's and experience, and possibly higher due to my age.

    @MarkH who is the insurer and did you get other similar quotes?

    Nauga,
    under cover
     
  4. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    I may have jumped the gun, my agent just sent a competing quote for $2350 w/ $20k hull coverage.

    But the $5k quote still boggles my mind. I was expecting to pay more than what I paid for my Yankee (1000/year), but I am wondering if the parts and maintenance cost savings will make up for the insurance costs even at $2350.
     
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  5. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    There's a big advantage to the experimental being from a kit or being a replica of a standard category airplane. My kit Cub, very modified and very expensive, has an insurance cost advantage over a less valuable, plan built, less popular design.
     
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  6. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    You're a low time pilot, a very low time tailwheel pilot, and you're trying to insure an airplane that is a bit less forgiving than the typical homebult. That price isn't surprising.
     
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  7. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    Spending 10% annually on the cost of a $20,000 experimental airplane makes no sense, imo. Just put the $2k a year in the bank, if your worried about paying for damage. Making any claim on aircraft insurance may significantly increase your cost of insurance in the future. Since it's a homebuilt you can fix it yourself if it gets damaged.

    Just get liability insurance and go fly.
     
  8. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    $217/yr for a Sonerai II, liability only (no hull coverage).
     
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  9. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    What if you total it in the first year? You're not gonna replace it for the $2K you've saved so far.
     
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  10. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My E-AB tailwheel off-brand ride with a Rotax 912 was $1548 last July - $20K hull through the Forrest Agency in Forest Park, IL
    400 hours total, 350 tailwheel, 250 make and model, 70 year old pilot.
     
  11. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    "Totalling" a homebuilt aircraft is not the same as totalling a certificated aircraft.

    There are many less than catastrophic accidents that can "total" (too costly to repair) a certificated aircraft.

    Unless you lawn-dart your experimental, you can likely rebuild it for far less than the total value of the aircraft.
     
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  12. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    If I completely destroyed a $20k airplane I might be a bit disappointed but wouldn't lose much sleep over it. Everyone has their own threshold for a loss like this but I'd think most that are dabbling in aviation could take that kind of a hit.
     
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  13. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    You gotta pump up those numbers, rookie!
     
  14. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    If I wrecked my plane today it wouldn't break me financially but I'd be grounded for several years at least if I didn't have insurance. As you said, everyone has their own threshold.
     
  15. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    Raising the deductible and lowering the hull value are the only way I've found.
     
  16. Rich Holt

    Rich Holt Line Up and Wait

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    Every year I shop around for Homeowner's policies. This year I was quoted $6400, $5600, $4800, and $2300 for the same house with the same terms. The $2300 quote was from the company I have been using for 25 years. It's a crap shoot.
     
  17. Justin Brady

    Justin Brady Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mines certified but I had a similar experience.
    Quoted 6-8k from one company and under 3 from another. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but the key is shop around.
     
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  18. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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  19. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's the chance you take. Most people drop full coverage on a car once it's paid for and run the same risk.

    Unlike a car I consider a plane to be a long term investment so that approach would not work for me.
     
  20. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Some companies do that with both car and aircraft insurance because they really don't want to be in the high risk market.
     
  21. MarkH

    MarkH Line Up and Wait

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    I want insurance for at least the first year or two for the same reasons why my insurance will be rather expensive. I'm a low time pilot, with little tailwheel time and my "this looks fun" fund will take a $20K hit when I buy it. But after I log a couple hundred hours in the plane, replenish airplane fund and (maybe) get a hangar, I would drop the coverage to liability only. The first quote shocked me because liability only is more than twice as much as I was paying for full coverage on my Yankee with $29K hull.
     
  22. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Damage estimates aren't figured for what it'll cost for YOU to fix it, it's what the insurer will have to pay a pro to fix it. The danger is if they total it? They keep the plane. You may get a chance to buy it back but in most cases there's no assurance of that. Insurance has pros and cons.
     
  23. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Similar to the post above, Insurance looks at the other side of this coin, something like a Wittman Tailwind they are probably thinking that even a minor accident could total it because there are very few places that have experience repairing them and there is no factory or company to go to for parts or expertise for it.

    Brian
     
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  24. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Who are these people? I’ve never heard of anyone doing such a thing.
     
  25. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    People that continue driving them for years or decades after the warranty runs out.

    At some point the cost simply no longer makes sense. If you're into the higher income brackets that changes but not for most of those in the lower income brackets.
     
  26. sarangan

    sarangan Pattern Altitude

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    They are expecting that you have a 25% chance of destroying the airplane in the first year. If you believe your odds are better than that, just forget the hull insurance. There is no requirement you must have it.
     
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  27. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    We’ve done that with every car we have owned once the value drops below $10,000. At that point we only carry liability.
     
  28. Kenny Phillips

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    Certainly "most people" do not drop full coverage when their car is paid off! I've done that on beaters, but not when the value gets up there. Some uninsured mouth breather could run into me.
     
  29. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah... Using "paid off" as your determining factor is not very smart. A lot of cars (especially now days) are holding their value beyond anything we've seen before. My friend has a two year old Honda and the current price on it is the same (maybe more) as it cost new. :confused:
     
  30. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Most folks aren't in the upper half of the middle class or better.

    Uninsured driver is available without full coverage. FC including comprehensive is to protect us from our own stupidity and carelessness and pays to fix/replace the vehicle after we crash it and are at fault.

    When you add comprehensive to basic liability and uninsured driver the rates go up substantially so those who are struggling to make ends meet tend to drop it after payoff when it is no longer a requirement.
     
  31. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sounds like a good way to remain struggling. If you can’t afford the insurance payment, how are you going to afford another car or to repair damages to it if you are in an accident?
     
  32. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    Not at all. I buy cheap cars and pay cash, have no car payment, low insurance payment without collision coverage, and if I wreck it I buy another cheap car. The money I save over buying and insuring a new car helps pay for my plane.
     
  33. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The assertion was that these people can't make ends meet. They certainly wouldn't have money sitting around to buy a new "cheap car".
     
  34. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When you're in those brackets it's a chance many are willing to take. Easy credit seems to keep the cycle going along with the outfits that both self finance and sell cars.
     
  35. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Actually the "assertion" is that they struggle to make ends meet and saving a hundred bucks or more a month makes a big difference.
     
  36. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Not paying $4500.00 a year in car payments means one can afford a fairly nice used vehicle if they know how to shop and wait for a good deal. I have several used vehicles (all paid for) of which one is a 20 year old Ford Ranger pickup. Great truck! They are very reliable and quite easy and inexpensive to repair.

    A one time payment instead of 5-7 years of payments gives me money to buy overpriced 10LL with. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022
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  37. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's exactly how people stay poor. Get into an accident, or have a break down on an old car and have to fork over all that money just to keep it limping along. Or more likely, go into debt.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022
  38. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Thank God I haven't had a vehicle destroying accident in more than 40 years. Last time a vehicle broke down on the side of the road it took me about $10.00 in parts and 30 minutes to fix it after I limped it home. I guess I could have used some of that $27,000.00 I saved in car payments (the other 6 years) to replace that 20 year old $4500.00 vehicle but the ten bucks in parts and thirty minutes under the hood took care of it. BTW ... it's still in the driveway and performing very well.

    My milage may vary ... and it does. But you you do it your way and I'll do mine. ;)
     
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  39. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When you are poor and buy an old used vehicle, the odds of it needing expensive repairs is quite a bit higher than when you're buying cars under warranty.
     
  40. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Again ... that hasn't been my experience at all. Perhaps you should define poor as I'm not talking about buying "junk" cars. A reasonable mechanic should be able to spot a used vehicle that has been well taken care of from types that don't typically need "expensive repairs". I get your point though as I know a fella that got a great deal on a Cadillac but it turned out to be a nightmare with many failed electronics, a rear drive set-up that was toast, and after dealing with all of that the engine blew up. The deal was too good to be true but he was certain of it.

    So I do get your point but I don't believe you've properly considered that what I'm saying, as properly applied, works very well. Over the time that I've owned just one of my, used and paid for vehicles, I estimate that nearly $50,000.00 has gone into savings from not having to make payments or run high dollar insurance on this vehicle. Yes I've had to do some light maintenance on the vehicle but that's part of the ownership of anything.

    It's like buying a used plane, fixing it up & selling it for a profit, adding some cash, and getting a better plane. Lather, rinse, repeat. One secret to the success of this plan is that you cannot crash the plane & destroy it unless you have replacement insurance on it. If I lose a cheap car the large amount I've saved by driving it will replace it easily. Watching that $375.00 (a cheap car payment if ever there was one) a month go to the bank for a car is just stupid. That money can be earning me interest instead of paying someone interest.

    Again ... what I do has been working for me quite well. You do what works for you. ;)