Insurance valuation recommendation

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  • This topic has 12 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 9 years ago by doug.
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  • #85245

    Hello all,

    I have been concerned that my airplane may be under-insured for some time. However, recent posts (especially Bill’s selling his 310R) have made me revisit the issue. I flew up to KHFD today and spoke with my insurance maven, Jon Doolittle at Sutton James, and he said that there are pros and cons to the choice of insurance value – both under-insuring and even over-insuring. I want to insure my plane at the replacement cost – that is, what it would cost me to buy a plane (like Bill’s) that is in good shape and has a similar compliment of avionics.

    I’m currently at $240,000 for hull, but it feels a bit too low.

    I will post my plane’s configuration below. I’d appreciate opinions please as to its value and what you’d insure it for.



    1980 Cessna 310R
    2012, 2013, 2014 annuals by Tony’s crew @ TAS


    • Total time: ~4,700 hours
    • Left engine: RAM Overhaul 2012, ~350 hours
    • Left prop: Overhaul 2013, ~150 hours (new model without red dye)
    • Right engine: Overhaul 2003, ~630 hours
    • Right prop: Overhaul 2003, ~630 hours
    • XXX heater, ~XXX hours (I just don’t remember this, but I think it’s about 300 hours in)


    • FIKI including hot plate (fully functional and reguarly tested & used)
    • Dual pitot/static systems (heated, separate circuits)
    • Vortex generators w/ gross weight increase (5,680 MTOW)
    • GAMIjectors (with fine tuning)
    • Nacelle lights, LED with Seaton Engineering MaxPulse
    • Battery tender port w/ circuit breaker for shutting off wing locker light
    • Wired for auxiliary air conditioner (Arctic Air electric)
    • Air-cooled dry vacuum pumps
    • Brackett foam air filters
    • Rosen visors (w/ clear placard)
    • 163-gallon capacity with new (2012 or 2013) bladders
    • Reiff dual HotStrip oil pan engine heaters
    • RAM Synchrophaser (new 2012)
    • Dual toe-brakes
    • Large cargo door
    • Electric main door seal pump (new 2012)
    • Wing walk and step lights
    • Dual 100-amp alternators


    • Aspen 1000 PFD (on P/S #1) w/ ACU2 interface, wired to 530W, 430W
    • Avidyne EX600 MFD
    • King KFC200 autopilot w/ yaw damper, including CWS & Go-Around buttons, wired to Aspen with GPSS
    • PS Engineering 8000C 3-com audio panel
    • Garmin 530W – to be replaced by Avidyne IFD 540 soon
    • Garmin 430W – to be replaced by Avidyne IFD 440
    • King KY-196 wired to roof-mounted antenna
    • Bendix RDR 2000 vertical profile radar w/ stabilization (on EX600)
    • Avidyne TAS615 active traffic with top & bottom antennas, silence and power switch (on Aspen, EX600, 530, 430) – to be updated to 615A with ADS-B integration
    • Avidyne MLB700 XM weather receiver w/ XM radio and remote (on EX600)
    • Garmin 327 Mode C transponder (w/ remote ident, squat switch)
    • King KT-76A Mode C transponder (w/ remote ident)
    • Transponder 1/2 switch with auto standby
    • WX-500 stormscope (wired to EX600, 530, Aspen, maybe 430)
    • KRA-10 w/ power, wired to Aspen with altitude readout and DH annunciation
    • JPI EDM-760 w/ LoP option (no FF, no USB)
    • Shadin DigiFlow-L (wired to 530, 430)
    • Shadin AMS-2000 altitude alerter (on P/S #1 with encoder below)
    • Shadin Falcon high resolution encoder (connected to AMS-2000 and 327) on P/S #1
    • Encoding altimeter (connected to King KT-76A) on P/S #2
    • Vertical card compass
    • Davtron M877 chronometer

    Pilot backup instruments (with ring lights):

    • Vacuum AI
    • Airspeed (on P/S #2)
    • KI-525 HSI (part of fully working KCS 55A including KA-51A, overhauled 2012)
    • Altimeter (on P/S #2)

    Copilot backup instruments:

    • (Encoding altimeter, mentioned above, on PS #2)
    • Vacuum DG


    • Aveo EyeBeam Touch overhead lights
    • Boom light for pilot side switch/breaker panel
    • External antenna port for handheld VHF
    • Starter engaged annunciator
    • Center row music input jack to audio panel
    • 406 MHz ELT (Artex, non GPS)
    • Dual-plug and LEMO headset jacks for pilot/copilot
    • LEMO powered headset jacks for rear 4 passengers (no dual-plug)
    • 2 pairs of 2.1A USB ports on either side of panel
    • One pair of 2.1A USB ports for middle row passengers (lighted)
    • 2 28V power outlets between middle seats
    • Heat duct for pilot’s side heat
    • Hobbes for heater (on fuel pump circuit I think)
    • Hobbes for airframe (on squat switch)
    • Front seat center console storage
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Static wicks (new 2014)

    Other overhauls:

    • Full KFC-200 overhaul 2012
    • KCS 55A compass system overhaul 2012
    • KRA-10 overhaul 2013
    • JPI EDM-760 overhaul 2013 (added LoP)
    • GTX 327 overhaul 2014 (in progress)
    • Tach generators, MP & Tach indicators overhaul 2014

    Install dates:

    • Aspen installed 2012
    • EX600 installed 2012 (updated 2013 for new radar)
    • RDR 2000 installed 2013
    • TAS615 installed 2012
    • MLB700 installed 2012
    • Shadin fuel flow installed 2012
    • Shadin altitude installed 2012
    • PS Engineering 8000C installed 2012

    Did I mention, the plane has wings and tires too? 😉 Sheesh that turned out to be a long post.


    Good question –

    I insure my hull for what I would need to replace it. I have had the same discussion with my agent of the pros and cons.

    So my gamble is that if my plane gets damaged, it is really messed up, and I walk away from it hopefully undamaged. If it catches on fire, I wont try to be a hero, I am not a trained fire fighter, I will stand back a safe distance as the fire will burn itself out eventually.

    The problem occurs if it is messed up about 50% of the insured amount and I wait months for repairs and own a known damaged plane. The loss of use payments would not cover the cost to rent a plane waiting for the repairs nor would I want to do it. And, how good was the repair? Will I ever stop thinking about the tail falling off?

    One of our members had his 340 messed up by a student pilot loosing control of his Cherokee. That was 6 months ago and he just settled the claim a week ago. He bought a different plane as his business depends on his having an airplane. He had determined, even if they fixed it for him, he was not going to fly it so buying a replacement plane was happening anyway.

    He had it insured for what it was worth, but the valuations were based on what was “average” and he had an “above average” plane.

    Had the Cherokee driver been a bit more aggressive, and got into the pressure vessel or spar, it would have been easier to settle. And the damage was not his fault at all, he just happened to be parked on the ramp where the Cherokee pilot lost control of things but it was still difficult to settle the claim.

    See the pics of the damage –

    The 340 was purchased for salvage – the repairs were going to be $150K+.



    Doug, your plane is not under-insured. Even the nicest 310R I don’t see actually going for more than $200k, which would still leave you $40k for more work.

    I have our 310N hull value at probably $40k more than I could sell it for. If I gear it up and it gets totaled (which I suspect it would at my declared value), that gives me enough money to buy what would be a good replacement, and probably a slight upgrade, including money to bring the plane mostly up to snuff.


      You an always go naked on the hull if it isn’t mortgaged and fly safe and hope no one runs into you that doesn’t have insurance.

      quote RWELSH:

      You an always go naked on the hull if it isn’t mortgaged and fly safe and hope no one runs into you that doesn’t have insurance.

      Sure, but that’s not very comforting when your nose gear bellcrank breaks and you put both props into the ground.

      quote TDUPUIS:

      Doug, your plane is not under-insured.

      Thanks for the opinion. I have put 1.5x the purchase price into it the first six months though, what with all the pre-purchase defects and then a round of avionics upgrades. (And I’m not done yet.)




      I’m sure, and that’s not entirely uncommon. But money put into plane doesn’t equal money you’ll get out of the plane. 🙂

      The reality is, you should insure it for whatever you feel you’d be happy with if you totaled it. But if you over-insure it, it could need $200k of repairs (a really bad crash) and they still wouldn’t total it. It’s not like car insurance where past a certain percentage of value it’s totaled.

      quote TDUPUIS:

      It’s not like car insurance where past a certain percentage of value it’s totaled.

      Apparently there is at least one underwriter (Avemco) that is exactly like that, according to Jon. He said they will “total out” a plane if it costs more than 70% to repair.

      And, it’s not just the value of the repair. It’s the value of the repair plus the value of the salvage which determines if it will be “totaled out.” So, if you have a plane insured for $150,000, do $60,000 worth of damage, but the remaining components can be sold for $100,000 – they will take your plane from you as a total loss cause it saves them $10,000.




      Don’t worry about what your plane it worth. After all, if it’s totaled, you can’t buy it anyway – it’s gone.

      Find a similar plane you like on TAP or, and insure for the asking price. That’s your real “replacement value” – as in, what will it cost to replace your plane?


      Doug, of course you are correct about salvage plus repairs, but at $240k hull and a $200k damage for a hypothetical crash, I can’t imagine the resultant scrap value of the plane being more than $40k. It was just an example.

      Interesting on Avemco, I wasn’t aware that was their policy, good to know.


      We always advise that you cover the aircraft for it’s current market value (which means what it is worth today if you had to sell it). There are definite drawbacks to OVER or UNDER insuring your aircraft. If you over insure it – you may end up with an aircraft that gets repaired when it should be totaled (also leaving you with an aircraft that has damage history which negatively affects it’s resale). If you under insure it you risk the insurance company totaling the aircraft over a relatively smaller claim leaving you with not enough to replace your aircraft (of like kind and quality) – taking a hit out of your own pocket. Please keep in mind that in aviation insurance claims are adjusted based on the insured value which you set – which differs from auto insurance which you might be more familiar with. Auto insurance claims are adjusted based on the market value of your asset at the time of the loss which you have no control over what the insurance company feels is market value for your car. Aviation insurance is more positive control in that aspect by allowing you to define your aircraft’s current market value (insured value) thus making your aircraft policy a ‘stated value’ policy.

      Every year at renewal you should be re-evaluating the market to see what you should place for the value. Hull premiums make up the bulk of the insurance premiums (generally 60-75% of your total premium is hull insurance) – keeping your aircraft hull aligned properly will make sure that you are getting the most out of your insurance dollars and also not over paying hull premiums.


      Thanks, Ryan.

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