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Insurance for Crossing the Atlantic

Original post: Feb. 15, 2007
By Jonathan Paul
I had planned to fly my Mooney to Europe this summer. Several of my friends have done it in the recent past. With planning, it seems like relatively safe thing to do and certainly interesting albeit very expensive.

I have hit an insurance snag and I wonder what other people are doing:

Snag 1. The EU demands approximately $6,000,000 worth of liability on aircraft the size of a Mooney. It appears that no US insurance company will issue such a policy, at least at a price that is "reasonable". My insurance company, AIG, will not underwrite those limits.

Snag 2. My insurance company, AIG, is apparently one of the few companies that does issue hull insurance for a transatlantic flight. But they are refusing to issue a policy on any aircraft over 20 years old (or so says Falcon Insurance Agency). My aircraft is older than that.

My question is are there any alternatives? What do European pilots do for insurance? Does the EU actuall enforce these crazy liability requirements? I think I am unwilling to fly anywhere without hull insurance.


By Bernard Sudreau
Orignal post: Feb. 16, 2007

Another consequence of 9/11!

EEC passed the regulation 785-2004 imposing a minimum liability for operators (covering acts of war, terrorism, riots consequences) which is function of the MTOW. Google will find it for you, and copies can also be found on the NBAA site.

For our Mooneys as the MTOW is between 1 and 2.7 metric tonnes, the minimum liability is 3 millions SDR equivalent to 4.5 millions USD (and not 6 as you were quoted)

I doubt that you will ever been asked to produce your insurance certificate (when I did my crossing nobody ever bothered to check it), but as you will need an extension of territorial coverage to include Europe, Greenland and Iceland, your insurance company will be glad to charge you.

When I did the crossing in 2004, my extension of coverage (covering Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the States) for 30 days only, was a third of my annual premium. And I was asked to waive terrorism in the States!

Anyway it will be the trip of your life time, and you will spend a lot of money (just check AVGAS prices in Greenland and Europe), but my friend it is worth every penny you will spend.


by David Sowray
Original post: Feb. 16, 2007

Welcome to the pleasures of flying in Europe!

Yes, the information you've got is pretty much correct. EC Regulation 785/2004 requires that all aircraft flying within the European Economic Area carry minimum levels of insurance. The $6mm figure would cover you for commercial operations. For non-commercial it's 3.3m SDRs - about $5.2mm.

Flying an N-reg aircraft around Europe, you WILL get your documents checked at some point. France are particularly keen on this, mainly because customs like to check whether VAT (Value Added Tax - ie sales tax) is due on the aircraft If it is, they can claim it off you (about 17% of the aircraft value). They keep a database of aircraft they've already checked. If you're not on it, expect a greeting from some customs men. They're reasonably friendly and efficient provided everything's in order, but not beyond impounding your aircraft if they're at all unhappy. Other countries are less aggressive, but checks still happen regularly.

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of VAT, if you are flying in Europe as a temporary import it's better not to carry a local passenger on a flight wholly within one country. Technically that would be cabotage, which would make VAT payable on the aircraft. It's extremely rare, but I believe one Swiss pilot has been caught out on this. Getting back to insurance cover, we have no problem getting cover of these limits. Every aircraft over here has it. Even before it became compulsory a couple of years ago, most aircraft had cover of those sorts of limits. I'm actually quite surprised you consider that a high number - kill a person or two, especially a high salary earner with dependents, and damages claims can easily come to that level.

It might be worth talking to an insurance broker over here. There are a number of firms, but one of the better is Hayward's -


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