Friday, September 5, 2014

Medicals needed?

Most companies require a current medical if you are to be insured.  Does that mean you don’t have insurance if you don’t have a medical?  No!  If you are not using the aircraft in a way that needs a medical, why would you need to have a medical?

If you are unable to maintain a medical, but you still own an aircraft it could still be insured.  If you are not flying the aircraft and you have coverage while “not-in-flight” and the aircraft is damaged by a big storm, you should still be covered.

Many of the aviation insurance companies follow the guidelines of the FAA.  I even tried to find an FAR that said you had to have a medical (or a pilot’s license for that matter) to taxi or own an aircraft.  I was unable to locate anything specific to that.  (Just think, if that was the case, many of the corporate owners or the owners that hire a pilot, would not be able to have any coverage). 


For an example, say you are the aircraft owner and you don’t have a medical and you are taxiing your aircraft around the airport.  A good owner keeps the engine, tires and brakes limbered up.  And let’s assume that you have full coverage for ground and flight.  Now, what if you happen to have a minor mishap during that time, such as you hit a taxi light or drop in a hole and damage the prop, you should have coverage.  Should have coverage and the insurance company not wanting to pay are two different things.  Most aircraft insurance policies have a section that states that the operator of the aircraft has to meet the requirements of the policy.  The requirements usually include a medical.  But a medical is not required to taxi or start the aircraft only to fly the aircraft.  If you were not on the runway, not flying or haven’t been flying, should they pay?  I think so.  And will they pay?  Probably.  If the company has provided the correct coverage for the aircraft and the aircraft is not in a situation requiring a medical, they should be responsible! 

If you were out flying and the aircraft had an accident, you’d void the policy without a medical.  So just because you are on the ground doesn’t mean you don’t have to meet the policy requirements.  The earlier example is a situation, where you were not in flight and not intending to fly. 

Of course, this is a “gray” area.  If the pilot is taxiing to the pumps for fuel to make a flight, he doesn't have to have a medical, but going down the runway he does...I just thought of something else.  Many people think they can get around this by having a friend in the aircraft that does have a medical.  Problem is if they are not qualified, listed or meeting the open pilot warranty they are not covered in the aircraft.  If the other pilot is not an instructor they can’t be “giving dual”.  Additionally, that “friend” will be the one at risk of being the pilot in command in the event of an accident or claim.  Very few people I know want to have an accident (and possibly a violation) on their pilots record for a friend who just happened not to have a medical!  Usually the friendship ends up being very short.


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