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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.

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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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