At Sutton James, aviation insurance is all we do. We draw upon our experience as former aviation underwriters, pilots, and over 20 years of brokerage experience to negotiate the best insurance deals for our customers.


Additional Insured 
A person or entity, other than the policyholder, who is covered under the liability provisions of the policy. Additional insureds are given the same protection from lawsuits brought by others that the policyholder is. Being added as a named pilot should not be confused with being named as an additional insured.

Aircraft Liability Coverage 
This is one of the two main insuring agreements found in an aircraft hull and liability policy. Liability coverage protects those who are covered by the policy against suits brought by others who claim that they have suffered injury or that their property has been damaged. The claim must result from the ownership, maintenance or use of the airplane.

Aircraft Physical Damage Coverage 
Sometimes called 'hull' coverage, this is the other major component of an aircraft policy. Most policies protect the aircraft on an 'all risk' basis, meaning that the aircraft is covered against any cause of loss unless specifically excluded. Excluded items typically include things like mechanical breakdown, ordinary wear and tear, confiscation or war, loss of value and loss of use. You can buy coverage while the airplane is not in motion on the ground, or ground and flight.

Guest Voluntary Settlement Coverage 
This coverage allows you to make an offer of settlement to passengers who suffer certain injury, without admitting liability, and in return for a release from further liability.

Medical Payments Coverage 
Pays for first aid, medical, surgical, hospital and funeral expenses suffered by passengers. This is typically meant to take care of minor injuries and is available without respect to liability. The expenses involved with serious injury will be usually be part of a suit for bodily injury, and covered under the aircraft liability coverage.

Open Pilot Warranty 
A clause in the policy that lays out the requirements for pilots who fly the aircraft other than those specifically named in the policy. The fact that a pilot is either named on the policy or meets the requirements of the open pilot warranty means that the policyholder has coverage under the policy, provided that the pilot's use of the airplane was within the scope of the policy. It does not necessarily mean that the pilot is covered by the policy's liability provisions. (See Additional Insured)

Pleasure and Business 
Means that you cannot make a charge for the use of your airplane or helicopter, although under some polices you may be reimbursed. The amount that you can be reimbursed varies from one policy form to another, and we recommend that you call your insurance provider to find out how yours reads.

"Smooth" Limit 
Also known as a 'level' limit, this type of liability coverage offers a single amount to cover suits for bodily injury and property damage. The entire policy amount can be paid to a single claimant if need be. This kind of coverage is more expensive, but is more likely to fully protect you in the event of an accident.

Sub Limits 
The other way to buy liability coverage. This provides an overall limit for amounts that can be paid to all claimants, but typically will have a maximum for bodily injury to any one person or any one passenger. Usually, this 'per passenger' or 'per person' limit is fairly low, often as little as $100,000. each.

A legal doctrine under which your insurance company attempts, in your name, to recover money it has paid under your policy. In aviation insurance, the most common example of this is physical damage to your aircraft caused by a third party, such as a fixed base operator.

Waiver of Subrogation 
A promise, in advance, by you and your insurer not to try to recover damages from a party who causes damage to your aircraft. Make certain that you discuss waivers of subrogation with your insurer before agreeing to them, or you may void your coverage. Waivers of this sort can be found in hangar agreements, and are sometimes requested by CFI's or others who will be providing you with pilot services.