The State of Maine utilizes various types of aircraft to conduct its governmental business. The State can be held liable under the law for the negligent acts or omissions that arise from the ownership, use and maintenance of any aircraft. In addition, there is a significant financial investment in the purchase and ownership of an aircraft. Aviation insurance is available through the Risk Management office to cover both of these exposures. (Also available is insurance for State owned and/or operated airports and flight strips.)
Aviation insurance resembles auto insurance, in that it is divided into liability and physical damage categories. (Aircraft physical damage insurance is sometimes referred to as "hull insurance".) The Risk Management Division has purchased a commercial insurance policy to insure the liability exposure as it relates to both owned and certain non-owned aircraft. Aircraft hull insurance is provided through a self insurance policy and is available only for certain categories of aircraft.
Aircraft liability insurance protects the State against third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage. An aircraft is not automatically insured. Owned aircraft or aircraft leased for more than 30 days must be specifically reported to Risk Management in order to be insured. Aircraft leased for less than 30 days with a seating capacity of twenty or less are automatically provided with some liability insurance. Call Risk Management for more detail.
Aircraft hull insurance pays for sudden and accidental damage to or loss of an aircraft. Among the types of damage it does not cover are wear and tear, tires, mechanical breakdown and ingestion. Aircraft are not automatically insured for hull damage. Owned aircraft or aircraft leased for more than 30 days must be specifically reported to the Risk Management office in order to be insured. Aircraft leased for less than 30 days are not insured for hull damage at all.
Pilots of insured aircraft must meet strict qualifications. In addition to holding both the appropriate license and current medical certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a pilot is required to have a minimum number of hours of experience flying the type of aircraft insured. In order to be insured under the State's aviation policies, a pilot must meet the qualifications stated above, be approved by their department's "chief pilot" and must have completed and forwarded to Risk Management on a special pilot form. Contact your agency's personnel officer to find out who your chief pilot is.
Because aviation insurance is very specialized, each insurance policy has certain conditions and exclusions and is limited in what it does and does not cover. Don't be caught short. Call Risk Management for individualized insurance advice if you:
- Purchase, sell or lease an aircraft
- Pilot an aircraft and have not been previously approved
- Crash or damage an aircraft
- Need proof of aviation insurance
- Need to use an insured aircraft for an unusual purpose or fly to an unusual location