BasicMed and My Avemco Insurance Policy

By Michael Adams, Senior Vice President, Avemco Insurance Company | March 2017

I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall any developments in the 34 years since I obtained my first 3rd class medical exam as exciting as the prospect of never having to get another one. Not surprisingly, we’ve been getting questions from our customers for months about how BasicMed1 (when it goes into effect May 1, 2017) will impact their Avemco® policy.

Often the question was as simple as “How much will my premium go up?” Our standard answer had been, “We do not have any plans to change our underwriting, policy contract, limits offered, or premiums charged because of the proposed new medical requirements.”

Now that the rules have been published for the BasicMed, we’ve been answering questions by stating, “We are accepting the BasicMed medical the same as the 3rd class medical for satisfying our insurance policy requirements for a pilot medical. So if you opt to keep your pilot medical using the BasicMed program, rather than a 3rd class medical, it will not affect the coverage limits or premium of your policy.”

The 3rd Class medical is not being abolished. Any person new to aviation, and training for either a Recreational Pilot (yes, we insure Recreational Pilots) or a Private Pilot certificate, must obtain a 3rd Class medical before they can use the BasicMed program as their pilot medical. So if you prefer to keep a 3rd Class medical that is fine with us. And any person whose 3rd Class Medical expired more than 10 years ago must get a one-time 3rd Class medical exam to fly under BasicMed for the rest of their flying career, provided they follow the BasicMed rules, which can be found here.

Your policy may have a requirement for an annual physical as a condition of insurance because of the type of plane you fly, or your age, hull value, and/or the liability limits on the policy. In that case, the requirement to have a medical every 12 months is our insurance requirement, not the FAA’s. We use your recent medical and good health as a defense to help us settle the claim, within the policy limits, and to protect your assets in the event of a loss. The same logic applies if your policy has a requirement for a Flight Review every 12 months or annual recurrent training. The FAA may set the regulations but we, your insurance company, pay the defense costs and settle the claim.

If you have a policy requirement for a physical every 12 months, you can still use the BasicMed program, but will need to see your regular doctor (who must be state licensed and will need to fill out the BasicMed form) every year, rather than every 4 years. Incidentally, the majority of pilots that have this annual physical requirement tell me they already do get an annual checkup. So, to sum it up, no changes in our insurance because of the new BasicMed program. One of the keys to being a long time and happy aviator is not to just take regular training, but to also take care of your health every day.

1 https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/basic_med/

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Mike Adams, Senior Vice President of Underwriting, is an instrument-rated pilot, and a former President of the Oregon Pilots Association. Mike holds a property/casualty insurance license in all 50 states. His more than 30 years of combined experience with general aviation and the aviation insurance industry helps pilots to understand why many of Avemco’s coverages and underwriting decisions are designed to help keep them safe.


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