May 20, 2013
By Brenda J. Jennings
It’s no fun to consider, but let’s say you or one of your passengers suffers an injury while in your aircraft. Medical payments coverage pays the medical expenses for those injuries, including ambulance, surgical, dental, professional nursing, and the like. It also covers injuries that occur to anyone entering or leaving your airplane.
Regardless of who’s at fault in the accident, your policy will pay the set amount (usually between $1,000 and $10,000 per passenger) for those related medical expenses. Because their purpose is to pay for immediate medical treatment, most policies have a time limit on the payment of medical services provided.
Carrying medical payments coverage on your policy is a smart idea because it can sometimes cover the smaller injury claims and prevent a larger lawsuit against your bodily injury liability coverage. Additionally, it may pay expenses not covered by personal health insurance.
The good news is that this coverage is often available at little to no extra cost, with rates varying by the number of passenger seats on your airplane and the limit you choose. Even better news is that most policies will include the crew in the coverage.
For those bodily injury claims for which you are legally liable, coverage would be provided under the bodily injury and property damage under your policy. These limits were discussed in the August 2012 issue of AOPA Pilot, also available at aopainsurance.org/limits.
Brenda J. Jennings, senior vice president, AOPA Insurance Agency, is an aviation insurance professional with more than 35 years of experience.
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The Aviation Safety Reporting System is a voluntary safety reporting program that allows airmen to make anonymous reports to the government about issues encountered in aviation, with anonymity allowing the airman to be candid–even when their actions may have been a violation of the regulations.
The difference between a private pilot flight operation and a commercial pilot flight operation depends on whether there has been any compensation exchanged for the flight. If money passes from the passengers or the person responsible for the cargo on board, that would be considered compensation. But, could compensation mean more than money? You bet.
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