That Drone Flying Over Your Home? It Might Be Your Local Insurance Company

CSAA allegedly terminated a customer's homeowner insurance coverage because “drone photos” showed clutter in their backyard.
April 10, 2024
Facebook LogoTwitter Icon
Black LinkedIn Icon

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Drone.

While drones have been around for a while, consumer awareness of drones has spiked over the last 10 years. What caused this? In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a comprehensive and generally applicable set of rules for anyone wishing to operate small drones for commercial purposes.

While consumers are flying drones for fun, corporations are using the functionality of drones with high-tech cameras and sensors to drive revenue. Some drone as a service (DaaS) examples include:

  • Virtual mapping - creating virtual replicas of real-world objects and systems that can be uploaded and used for virtual simulations, testing, and analyses. This use case is prevalent in the construction, manufacturing, logistics, and utilities industries.

  • Field scanning - collecting data about a specific field or area. Common applications include wildlife preservation, search and rescue efforts, and detecting infestations in agricultural areas.

  • Critical infrastructure inspections - inspecting areas such as powerlines, telecommunications towers, tunnels, pipes, powerplants, etc., with drones tends to be quicker, cheaper, and safer than sending in a team of people to inspect.

  • Transportation of goods - transporting vital medical supplies to rural areas, and groups like Amazon are trying to use drones to deliver your everyday packages.

Now, insurance companies are using drones to determine your home insurance coverage. In 2017, WSJ reported on this practice, but many state laws have cracked down and prohibited it. However, there have been recent reports from homeowners that some insurance companies are still potentially using drones, or at the very least, aerial photos from tools like Google Earth to determine the risk on specific home properties. The California State Automobile Association (CSAA) Insurance Group shared with ABC “that anyone can go online to services like Google Earth 3-D to get a good idea of what companies may be looking at when they assess the risk of insuring your home.”

We previously covered how insurance companies are no longer offering home insurance in many areas at risk of natural disasters, and it seems that they are using all the tools at their disposal to remove even more homeowners from their books.

Read next