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Utah Mandates Liability Coverage for GA Aircraft

Growing trend now puts requirement in place in 12 states. Here's what you need to know.

Private Airplane

GA aircraft owners in Utah now have to have a minimum of $100,000 liability insurance coverage. The bill, attached as an amendment to existing legislation, makes the Beehive state the 12th to require such insurance. The initiative came after a 2020 accident in which an uninsured aircraft crashed and destroyed a house.

Interviewed by the Standard-Examiner and reprinted in the Salt Lake Tribune, Bryant Garrett, manager of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport near Salt Lake City, said, “It was done for the right reasons and with good intentions, but it’s a little short on money.” The statute calls for minimum coverage of up to $50,000 per accident for bodily injury per accident and up to $50,000 for property damage – and no more than $100,000 per accident, total. Garrett pointed out that many airports, including his, require a minimum of $1 million in insurance coverage for airport tenants.

The paper cited two accidents involving uninsured aircraft. In 2017, a pilot on a pre-purchase inspection flight landed on a road and damaged a car. The motorist took to the courts to sue the pilot and the aircraft’s maintenance provider. In 2020, a Cherokee Six crashed on takeoff and destroyed a house in West Jordan, Utah, killing the 72-year-old homeowner. The pilot and two of five passengers also died.

Criticized for not providing sufficient coverage, the bill’s sponsor told a reporter the liability limits were designed to not be “overly burdensome” to recreational pilots. 


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