Aviation umbrella policy
Answered By AOPA
I have CFI insurance with $1,000,000.00 in liability coverage but it is limited to $200,000.00 per seat. Where can I get an umbrella policy to cover the full $1,000,000.00? My normal umbrella policy will not cover anything aviation related.
3 Replies
AOPA Staff Answer
You will have to have the aircraft owner increase his/her per-seat limit up to the desired $1million level; as, non-owners/CFI coverage is not offered, alone, above the $100k-to-$200k level. Importantly further, make sure that 'as a CFI' you either are named in the policy as a 'named insured' (not a 'named pilot') or, that by what ever contractual words the policy offers: you as a CFI, are not subject to subrogation. Typical open-pilot clauses are not sufficient, and, as a working CFI, you need to work with the aircraft owner's (your own aircraft??) broker and/or underwriter to get this correct !.

Although the $1 million per seat coverage will cost the owner about 30-50% more than the $100k seat policy, your addition as a CFI- non subrogated- can then often be added at minimal extra cost--- depending on the aircraft and the nature of your CFI operation. That is: you could instruct the aircraft owner and his/her family. If you are trying to rent someone else's aircraft to provide commercial instruction, then you must expect rates comparable to any commercial FBO, depending on how many students you are talking about. You probably realize that commercial FBO rates run about 200-to-400% of private owner rates. Lastly, you are correct that typical homeowner umbrella policies simple don't cover aviation. ( My homeowners $1million no-aviation umbrella costs me $350/year.) If you are instructing millionaires and billionaires, better make sure they get a multi-million aviation-only umbrellas in the $5-10-20 million size; they cost/start at $10k/year and up, but that's affordable to them. Have them call their (full-time) aviation insurance broker.

Not enough independent CFIs make the effort to check all this out, in detail. Never settle for a second-hand insurance answer from the owner. They don't take the time to check or understand either. Stay safe-- it may take you an extra hour of calls to get this right. You want to see this on paper before you fly as a CFI.
Unfortunately, most of my instructing is done through two different flight schools that can only get $1,000,000.00 liability coverage with $100,000.00 per seat coverage.  I pay for my own policy to at least get $200,000.00 per seat coverage. I was hoping to find an umbrella policy to cover me above the limits I have. Doesn’t sound like anyone offers that.
Back with you Mr. Williams,

Two further follow-up points that I've checked...
1. Your personal cfi/non-owners insurance is considered 'in excess' of the FBO coverage; i.e. your $200k seat would be on top of the FBO's $100k seat. Thus $300k total.
2. Check with the FBO ownership, I bet they have additional business coverage beyond the specific aircraft policy. where. as an employee/agent as opposed to a contractor, you would have more coverage. This of course assumes both you and they would want an official employee relationship as opposed to the contractor position.