Playing Aviation Insurance Poker With a Deck of 21?

We all know that there are 52 playing cards in a deck. However, there are currently 21 aviation insurers offering liability and property coverage in the United States. Are you sure you understand the hand you’re dealt with them?

With many new carriers in the picture, your aviation insurance choices have more than doubled in the last dozen years. With all these new choices we see more aircraft owners take a gamble with an insurer they know little about let alone understand the coverage they purchased. An owner’s knowledge may be limited to just the annual premium they must pay.

Here are the top 10 considerations when purchasing aviation insurance for your Twin Commander, or any aircraft for that matter:

  1. Hire an aviation insurance broker that knows your aircraft type, use, and pilot requirements and make sure the broker can access all markets on your behalf. (i.e. Gallagher Aviation).
  2. Renewal documentation: Provide complete and accurate details on your aircraft hull value, liability limit, entity names, lien holder, territory and any changes from the prior policy period.
  3. Have your aviation insurance broker confirm that you have the highest limits and all ancillary coverages available, such as family assistance coverage.
  4. Concerning aircraft documentation, make sure to include in your important onboard documents a “To Whom It May Concern” (TWIMC) certificate evidencing your aircraft’s insurance coverage. If you overfly Mexico, the European Union or the U.K., make sure those certificates are printed in color and included.
  5. Financial Integrity: Make sure your insurer is, at minimum, A.M. Best “A” rated.
  6. Know your policy’s pilot warranty requirements, and make sure the active pilots qualify and maintain currency.
  7. Know what uses and activities will void your policy. Performing criminal acts with your aircraft such as drug trafficking, or flying into excluded areas such as war zones without prior approval, will likely void coverage.
  8. If your aircraft is dry leased, make sure the lease conforms with FAR Part 91requirements and isn’t operated under Part 134.5, otherwise known as illegal charter. Commercial use can also void coverage if it is not an approved use.
  9. Request written confirmation for any recurrency extension, coverage exceptions or pilot approvals that fall outside of the policy’s requirements.
  10. Pay your aviation insurance premium promptly to avoid cancellation.

Whether or not you currently know your aviation insurance coverages, it is crucial to have the broadest policy possible from an “A” rated insurer that’s competitively priced. By taking the time now to ensure you have broad, competitive coverage while understanding its limitations, you will save time and potentially millions of dollars in the event you experience an accident.

Dale Barnard is manager for Gallagher Aviation’s Twin Commander program. A lifetime aviator, Dale brings more than three decades of aviation experience to clients. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, active pilot, aircraft owner and EAA Flight Leader, Dale has presented at Twin Commander University. He can be reached at