new pilot and insuring retractable wing airplanes
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Answered By AOPA
So, it is pretty much a hard and fast rule that I'll be restricted from insuring a retractable wing model airplane till I've had 100 hours in one?  looking to buy as I do my training, rather than rent and fuss over whether the plane is booked or not when I'm ready to go, and wondered how restricted I'm going to be.  
9 Replies
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AOPA Staff Answer
Greg,
I see where 'some confusion' has flown into our blue skies here:  pilots are asking: are you a newer private pilot already , or, are you a new 'student' pilot? My AOPA answer assumed a 200 hr. licensed, private pilot.
If you are a student training from hour one, I'll go back and get more specific data for a Bonanza.
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Do you mean retractable gear?  If so, not sure about the 100 hrs requirement  - AOPA's insurance group could get that answer.  Also of interest:

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2013/april/01/efficiency-rationalizing-retracts
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That is an excellent article, thanks.   it is, I'm sure, a lot of emotional reasoning on my part.  honestly, I've had "the bonanza" on my head since I as a kid, as my dad flew one professionally for a company when he got out of the air force for a while, before professional school.  don't NEED one, just like the idea and style of them.  ah well.  thank you!
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For a Student Pilot in a retractable gear airplane, expect the insurer to require something like a minimum of 50 hours of training before solo, and a 5-digit premium -- and not starting with a "1".  A "gear up" in a Bonanza can cost them $60k easy.  That said, there are those who've done zero-to-Private in Bonanzas and even a twin-engine Baron -- but they had a LOT of hours before solo and a lot more before they took the practical test (north of 200 total time in the case of the Baron, IIRC).  And further, I think they were all people for whom the purchase price of a Bonanza/Baron was essentially pocket change.
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Hello Greg and All,
Checked w/ AOPA's Insurance partner:
NO-- the 100 hours comment is NOT correct and often misunderstood;
1. a pilot can buy & insure a retractable at 0-hrs retractable time. The limitation- FOR THE OWNER PILOT -- will be to fly it 10-25 hours dual before solo operations. Indeed cost of the policy will be higher for the first 100 (or so retract hours) at maybe 20-40% higher than if he/she had 100 retract hours.
2. the 'open-pilot-warranty' within the owners policy (for someone else to fly under the owner's policy will indeed be 100 hrs retract minimum).
3. the instrument rating makes a larger difference in retract pricing.
4. so there: if you have that Bonanza interest, it should only cost-ya' an extra $5-800 the first year or two-- for starting at 0-retract hours. 
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Greg, I purchased and trained in a 1974 Piper Arrow II.  Totally worth the investment as I used it for my Private, and Instrument.  And then flew it for another 1000 hours.  I found my flight training experience to move along much faster as I not only had a plane available to me, but it was always the same plane, my own.  For me, I knew I wanted to own a plane following my training, so I chose a plane I would want to keep for awhile and would suit my mission.  Don't be discouraged by the insurance.  Shop around and you'll find a carrier that will work with you.  Good luck!
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that is VERY helpful, thank you!
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Thank you John!
 
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Growler At AOPA:

1. a pilot can buy & insure a retractable at 0-hrs retractable time. The limitation- FOR THE OWNER PILOT -- will be to fly it 10-25 hours dual before solo operations. Indeed cost of the policy will be higher for the first 100 (or so retract hours) at maybe 20-40% higher than if he/she had 100 retract hours.
...
4. so there: if you have that Bonanza interest, it should only cost-ya' an extra $5-800 the first year or two-- for starting at 0-retract hours. 

That sounds about right for an already-licensed pilot stepping up to a Bonanza with no prior complex/high performance time.  However, Gregory's post indicates he's just starting training, and getting insurance for training from scratch in a complex/high performance training will have significantly higher premiums and pre-solo restrictions.