Renter's insurance after incident as student

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by StudentPilot0525, Aug 2, 2022.

  1. A little less than a month ago, I did a stupid thing and caused some minor damage to my flight school's airplane. It involved bumping into something while taxiing. I got fixated on something in the plane and lost situational awareness. The plane was repaired quickly, but the school would only communicate with my insurance and made it seem like they were going to come after me later if they "found" any more damage to the plane caused by the incident. So I was stupid and let insurance handle it. They paid the claim with no problem (after catching that the school was trying to submit some fishy charges). It ended up being about $2k. I know I should have paid out of pocket, but by the time I was even told the charges, the school had already signed the insurance settlement.

    So I have been grounded for about a month, and I'm ready to get back to learning. However, my insurance is up for renewal in about a month. My application is in progress, so I guess they're deciding if they're going to renew or not. My broker said he "thinks I'll be okay" since I am not applying for a new policy, but after reading people's stories I don't know if that will be the case. The broker said if I was applying for a new policy, I would be denied. It looks like every insurer out there asks about claims within the last 3-5 years, so they probably would not be okay with one in the last month.

    Do I have any chance at not being dropped by insurance or finding another policy? I've been slowly working on becoming a pilot for a year and a half and I hate to think that it's all over because I made one stupid mistake that wasn't even in flight.
     
  2. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,105
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    What insurance did you have? Call them and ask. Staying with your current company is your best option.
     
  3. Global Aerospace. I have already applied for renewal and the application is in progress. I was just wondering what my chances are of them renewing it.
     
  4. Cloudhound

    Cloudhound Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2020
    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    Southern WI

    Display name:
    Cloudhound
    What are the chances that you bump into something again while taxing?
     
    RyanB likes this.
  5. Not sure what you mean. I think I'm much less likely to after learning some valuable lessons, but are you saying the insurance will think it's likely to happen again?
     
  6. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    12,354
    Location:
    Wichita, KS

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    I’m not going to speculate on your original question…your broker probably has the most accurate view of underwriters right now.

    As far as “does the insurance company think it’s likely to happen again,” I suspect it’s more about watching you for a bit to ensure that you learned the right things from it.
     
    Ed Haywood likes this.
  7. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,105
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord

    You will just have to wait and see. My guess is they will not insure you from the stand point of a yes answer to accident/incident or FAA violation is usually the end of the process for renters insurance.
     
  8. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    15,327
    Location:
    high desert NM

    Display name:
    Billy
    This part caught my attention, but there are 2 sides to the story.
     
    TCABM and MauleSkinner like this.
  9. They were charging for loss of use and tried to charge more hours than the plane was actually out of service. Plus they were charging for operating expenses not being incurred while the plane was on the ground, instead of lost profit.
     
  10. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    4,420
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    That doesn't sound fishy at all. Operating expenses are how you pay bills...
     
    TCABM likes this.
  11. I'm just telling you what the insurance told me. They said they were only allowed to charge for the profit they would be making, not the gas or whatever they didn't have to pay for while the plane was on the ground. This is coming from the insurance adjuster, not me.
     
  12. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    5,447

    Display name:
    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    You weren't stupid to let insurance handle the claim, that's why you have it. A $2k claim is nothing...I doubt you'll have any trouble renewing.
     
    Ed Haywood, sarangan and TCABM like this.
  13. Thank you. Several people have told me I was dumb for not just paying out of pocket, but I didn't know what the total was going to be until insurance was already done with it. Plus the original bill was apparently $1k higher and reduced after the insurance found issues with the charges. I truly hope I'll be able to renew, I just have no experience with this sort of thing and I've read so many stories about people being dropped/non-renewed for filing claims.
     
  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    15,327
    Location:
    high desert NM

    Display name:
    Billy
    Insurance is a game to be played.

    Insured files claim, insurance company ''adjust'' to lower pay out on claim. This keeps going back and forth until a settlement is agreed on.

    Out of pocket payment would have been easier, but this is what insurance is for.

    I would not lose sleep over the renewal.
     
    Ed Haywood likes this.
  15. DFH65

    DFH65 En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,517

    Display name:
    DFH65
    I can't imagine a company dropping you over a 2K claim but insurance companies can be quirky. Let us know how you make out.
     
  16. I will once I hear back. I'm mostly worried about it because I've only had this policy for a year, so I'm not someone they've made a bunch in premiums from yet.
     
  17. TomF

    TomF Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    May 10, 2022
    Messages:
    49

    Display name:
    TomF
    Keep in mind at least with house insurance once they know about the claim it’s on your record even if you don’t take the money.
     
  18. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,105
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    True, the school is not going to get fuel reimbursed, but the school should get fixed expenses + lost profits.
     
  19. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    May 24, 2022
    Messages:
    425

    Display name:
    Pinecone
    So it is ok to charge for fuel and oil that was not used???? Or a per hour charge for the 100 hour, that is done on actual flight time?

    Fixed costs, just as insurance price normalized over a typical year's flying, I can see that.
     
    AmeliaGrace likes this.
  20. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    4,420
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    I can, of course, see the insurance company disputing fuel and oil, but then, too, a tight operation might have agreements to purchase X amount of fuel per week with the FBO in order to get a discount, and an airplane down for even a week might affect things. Margins in a significant percentage of flight schools are razor thin.
     
  21. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2019
    Messages:
    645

    Display name:
    TrueCourse
    I wouldn’t lost sleep over whether your policy will get renewed or not and I wouldn’t try to jump the gun and get a different policy right after a claim is paid.

    Doesn’t surprise me the flight school tries to get the most out of a claim, but recovery of profit makes more sense. Trying to recover operating expenses on a plane that isn’t flying? Their hourly rate may include an allowance for overall business profit, not just what the airplane nets on its own. Not sure, but they could have tried a claim that recovered the entire business profit built into the rental rate if they were savvy at their accounting. If the insurance company wanted a detailed breakdown that only included gas, oil, maintenance estimate, airplane insurance expense, etc. then the school would be losing revenue that covers overhead. They could make a claim against a customer over that, but don’t know if they’d win.

    I would spend more time making sure you aren’t distracted during your ground ops (from starting to takeoff, or landing to shutdown). It ain’t over till it’s over is the key to a damage free flight.
     
  22. Like I said, I'm just reiterating what the insurance adjuster told me. I really don't know how that all works.

    Talked to the insurance broker today and he still says they may renew me, and that since the policy isn't up for renewal until next month, they probably haven't even looked at it yet .

    So for now, the plan is to go back and start flying again on Friday and hope for the best. If I get to keep going I'll be grateful and if I don't, at least I got to fly a little bit more.
     
  23. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    2,423
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas

    Display name:
    Mark
    2AMU is chicken scratch
     
    Ed Haywood likes this.
  24. WDD

    WDD En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    3,616
    Location:
    Atlanta / KRYY

    Display name:
    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    I'm surprised that your policy covered it. Usually the school has insurance for their planes. I guess they had a high deductible (more than $2k) which is why they used your renter insurance. But you got the renter insurance to cover you in case of a bump like this. So not a bad idea to let them do what you were paying them to do - cover you for an accident loss.
     
  25. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Messages:
    3,353
    Location:
    Alameda, CA

    Display name:
    Mike Brannigan
    I thought renter's insurance was one of those "zero or low underwriting" high-margin products, where it's priced such that you fog a mirror, you get coverage? even with a past claim? Kind of like those $250K life insurance ads you see out there.

    Also sounds like the school was lazy and just said "we would've flown 10 hours in the downtime, so 10 x <rental rate> is our loss of use claim" which of course got the horse's laugh out of the insurer.

    I'm pretty confident someone will write your policy. If not, your moves are to switch to a school with no renters insurance requirement, or just buy a plane and get your own hull insurance :) There are worse things.
     
  26. The renter's agreement says that after solo, students are responsible for all damage resulting from negligence or misuse. So they won't even use their insurance unless it was something out of my control.
     
  27. If it were car insurance I wouldn't even be questioning it, but I keep reading that no aviation insurance will cover you within 3-5 years of a claim. So if my insurance company decides to drop me, I won't be able to find anything else and I will have to quit my training. I'm worried they will look at a claim within the first year of the policy as too much risk and decline to keep covering me. My CFI uses the same company and said he can't imagine they'll drop me for such a small claim, but I have a lot riding on this. That's why I feel stupid for using the insurance.
     
  28. I unfortunately can't change schools. I'm a sport student (for now) and this is the only school with an LSA in my state. I've also heard that it'll be impossible to get coverage on my own plane after this for at least 3 years.
     
  29. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    3,614
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    I hope this turns out well, eventually, for you.

    It's an expensive lesson about paying attention when operating expensive machinery.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
  30. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2022
    Messages:
    122

    Display name:
    O2 Birddog
    Students by definition are high risk thus the high rates.

    I'm no expert but having had a lot of interactions with insurance companies but my guess is if there are no other issues you should be fine although your rates may increase.
     
  31. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    May 24, 2022
    Messages:
    425

    Display name:
    Pinecone
    Have you personally seen such an agreement????

    Maybe so much per year. But per WEEK? A hurricane would blow that away.
     
  32. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    4,420
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    I'm pretty sure I saw an agreement about X amount of gallons per week or month meant a significant discount, which was negated if the volume was too low.
     
  33. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,105
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Actually students aren’t high risk at properly managed flight schools.
     
  34. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    5,119
    Location:
    North Texas

    Display name:
    Lindberg
    You don't need insurance to get it keep a pilot certificate. Don't sweat it; it is what it is.
     
  35. Yes, but I do need insurance to rent from the flight school and finish my certificate.
     
  36. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2022
    Messages:
    122

    Display name:
    O2 Birddog
    The lower your time is the higher the risk you are. That's why a pilot with thousands of hours will be cheaper to insure than one with fifty.

    It's all based on how the numbers crunch out.
     
  37. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,105
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  38. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2022
    Messages:
    122

    Display name:
    O2 Birddog
    The bulk of accidents, over sixty percent occur in VFR daytime conditions with 68% of them on landing or approach and during the first year of flight.

    BTW:

    https://aerocorner.com/blog/imc-in-aviation/

    Is this no longer the case?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  39. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,462

    Display name:
    Warlock
    Find another broker or call around yourself. Insurance companies are actually in the business of paying claims…no claims no way to justify rates…claims are part of the model…maybe your broker is worried about his loss ratio. My recent renewal I had multiple offers from different companies and have a total loss with multiple fatalities and lawsuits, two years ago on my disclosure…I am paying a little more but thats part of the deal…obviously I was not operating the aircraft, but I was the owner.
     
  40. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    May 24, 2022
    Messages:
    425

    Display name:
    Pinecone
    Actually, with insurance, if there are no claims, and never have been a claim or court judgement, they won't write insurance, as there is not way to predict the costs of paying a claim.

    I ran into this for professional E&O insurance.