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Will drones be the next big homeowners' insurance headache?

Remote-control drone aircraft are used by the military in combat overseas, but they are also an increasingly common sight here in Minnesota. Here, they are an expensive toy that KMSP-TV predicts will be a hot gift request this holiday season. They also have uses in business and filmmaking.

However, in inexperienced or reckless hands, a drone can cause significant property damage. A pilot can lost control of the drone, letting it fly out of control until it crashes into your house.

That is what happened to a Minnesota family recently. According to KMSP, the family was home one day when they heard a loud bang. A neighbor told them to come outside, where they found a drone had crashed into the side of their house. The impact had knocked a large piece of sheetrock out of the interior wall.

A short time later, the drone’s owner showed up. He had been operating his drone for the first time and lost control.

The damage to the wall cost $7,000 to fix, which the drone operator paid for through his homeowners’ insurance. The news article on the subject said that the family would have had to file a claim on their own homeowners’ policy had the man not been found.

Though few such claims have been filed in Minnesota yet, doing so could lead to trouble, according to the Minnesota Insurance Federation. An official from the organization believes that insurance companies may retaliate by raising premium rates, or going so far as not renewing the claimant’s homeowners’ insurance -- in effect, cancelling a policy for having to live up to their end of the contract.

If an inadvertent drone attack ever leads to problems with your homeowners’ insurance company, the assistance of an attorney with knowledge of applicable law may be invaluable.

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