Drone Use – Maine Bureau of Insurance Alert

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Did you get a drone this past holiday season? Federal regulators now require recreational drone operators to register their aircraft for a small fee (visit https://registermyuas.faa.gov/ for more information). This allows authorities to trace a drone back to an owner, which means it’s vital to be in compliance with laws and regulations and have the appropriate insurance coverage.   Insurance for Private Use Insuring your drone isn’t difficult. Using a drone as a hobby is generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy (subject to a deductible), which typically covers radio-controlled model aircraft. This also applies to a renter’s insurance policy. Confirm whether your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover your drone if it is lost, stolen or damaged, by reviewing the content section of your policy or by speaking to your agent. If you have an auto policy with comprehensive coverage, it may cover damage to your car if your drone collides with it. A larger concern is the liability for an accident caused by your drone. If your drone crashes into someone else’s vehicle or a person, the accident is your responsibility. If you have a homeowners or renter’s policy, generally the policy will cover liability for an accident caused by your drone. Check with your agent or insurer to verify your policy contains this important coverage. Privacy is a concern when it comes to drone use. Drones are often equipped with onboard cameras and other data-collection capabilities. Drone owners will want to remain mindful of privacy concerns. Insurers are developing policies to cover these liability exposures, so keep in touch with your insurer to make sure your use remains covered. Drone Safety Hobbyists have been flying model aircraft for decades. However, advances in technology allow drones to hover quietly and fly far from their pilot. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, by 2020 there will be 30,000 small unmanned drones used for business purposes. This does not include ones used by hobbyists. With some drones weighing up to 55 pounds, a fall from the sky can cause significant damage to property or bystanders. The FAA has issued these guidelines for drone hobbyists: – Don’t fly higher than 400 feet and stay clear of surrounding obstacles. – Keep the aircraft in sight at all times. – Stay away from manned aircraft operations. – Don’t fly within five miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying. – Avoid flying near people or stadiums. – Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds. – Use caution when flying your unmanned aircraft. For questions about homeowners’, renters’ or other property and liability insurance, call the Maine Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty division at...

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How to Help Winterize Your Car

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You may be inclined to think that your car runs well without much maintenance year-round, and besides an occasional trip to the mechanic for an oil change, any preparation for the winter months is not high on your priority list. In fact, cold temperatures and icy roads can create additional hazards for drivers and place extra seasonal strains on your car. In addition to making sure your vehicle is prepared for slippery road conditions, it is equally important to ensure it is in top mechanical condition to avoid getting stranded in bad weather.   Before You Hit the Road The cold, snow and ice can make driving dangerous if your vehicle is not properly maintained. Here are some things you can do to help prepare your car for winter: Make sure all scheduled maintenance is up-to-date. Have your mechanic check belts, fluids and hoses to help reduce the risk of a mechanical breakdown. The mechanic should also check the exhaust system for holes, missing or loose clamps and leaks. Ensure that your tires are in good condition, properly inflated and have ample tread. If you live in an area where heavy snow is common, consider having snow or winter tires installed. Be aware of the various state laws, which dictate if and when chains and studded tires can be used. Make sure your heater and window defrosters are working properly. Check that your lights and windshield wipers are operating properly. Also, check that your engine coolant and washer fluid reservoirs are full and that the fluids are protected with a sufficient percentage of antifreeze for the temperatures in the area where you will be driving.  Make sure your battery and connections are in good condition. Even a newer battery can fail if it gets cold enough or the battery terminals are not clean and corrosion-free. Check your oil for proper level and weight (viscosity). Heavier oils become thicker (more viscous) at low temperatures, which can make the engine harder to start.  Make sure your gas tank is full and your phone is charged. In bad weather, roads could either be backed up for hours or closed.  If you drive in remote areas or are planning a long trip, keep a winter survival kit in your car. We know that winter can create challenging conditions for drivers. But we also know that adequate preparation can help keep you safe, even under the worst weather conditions. We encourage you to drive carefully in adverse weather conditions and to avoid driving in blizzard conditions unless absolutely necessary. Information courtesy of our partners at Travelers | www.travelers.com  Subscribe to our blog If you would like to receive informative articles about saving money, staying...

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