This article answers the most frequently-asked questions about NAR insurance. It is not an exhaustive review of NAR insurance, and is not a legal document in any contractual sense. Its sole purpose is to provide NAR members with a plain-English explanation of the coverage available to them and to NAR Sections as a standard membership benefit. Remember that you are ultimately responsible for any accidents that may result from your rocket flying activities; insurance is not a substitute for safety consciousness. NAR insurance has a deductible for which you are responsible, and it does not cover every possible situation. It could be exhausted if your accident results in severe personal injury or a large property loss, such as a range fire. You should consult with your own insurance professional to see if additional liability insurance is appropriate for your protection.
- What activities does NAR individual insurance cover? NAR insurance is general liability coverage policy that the NAR purchases and is included as part of your membership benefits. NAR insurance helps protect the NAR member from liabilities arising out of NAR sport rocketry activities, including both model and high-power rockets in the event a member’s rocket causes damage or injury to the person or property of another. NAR insurance provides primary coverage for your rocket activities.
- What are the coverage limits of the insurance? The NAR policy limit is $5 million per occurrence.
- What are the deductibles for the insurance? The NAR policy has a $5,000 deductible per Bodily Injury and/or Property Damage Claim. Members are personally responsible for payment of the first $1,000 of the deductible. If a member is responsible for more than one claim in any NAR policy period (typically April 1 to March 31), they will be responsible for the entire amount of the NAR deductible in the subsequent claims after the first one. In the event of a claim filing, failure to pay the deductible may be cause for the loss of membership benefits.
- When do NAR insurance benefits kick in on a claim? NAR individual insurance applies for all your rocketry activities covered under the NAR Safety Code.
- If my rocket hurts someone at a club launch (with or without my own stupidity contributing to the accident) does the NAR insurance cover it completely? NAR insurance will cover individual members up to the existing limits in the policy (up to $5 million annually). However, “stupidity” in disregarding any part of the NAR Safety Codes is never covered. Member protection is void if you violate the NAR Safety Codes.
- Where is my insurance valid? Everywhere in the United States, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada but not in any other countries.
- My Section often has non-members attending our launch. Are they covered by NAR insurance when they fly with us? Sometimes; generally, non-members are not covered by NAR insurance. To obtain coverage, they must join and become members of the NAR. However, your Section’s coverage and your individual NAR members’ coverage by the NAR insurance policy remains. However, students, whether NAR members or not, who are members of teams participating in national student rocketry events officially sponsored by the NAR (currently The American Rocketry Challenge and the NASA Student Launch Initiative/University SLI program) are covered only when they fly at an organized NAR section launch—but not at other times and places.
- Does this cover rocket-related injuries only? What if I trip over a hole on the launch field and break a leg? Coverage applies to losses arising out of NAR sport rocketry activities. “Activity” would include meetings, field trips, launches, flying rockets, preparing rockets for flight, etc. An injury on the premises of such an activity would be part of the activity. Rules regarding deductibles still apply.
- Does the NAR insurance cover property damage; are we covered if a rocket hits a house and causes damage? Property damage to “third parties” is covered, and coverage for property damage to the member’s owned property is also covered. Any existing member insurance (for example, personal liability insurance) would be primary. All rules regarding deductibles still apply. Fire damage coverage is limited to $1 million per occurrence.
- If my rocket damages a car (including mine) is this covered? Yes, damage to cars may be covered. However, the coverage is over and above any existing personal liability coverage (e.g., homeowner’s or auto policy). Remember, the deductible of $5,000, of which the member is responsible for the first $1000 applies and is applied after the member’s insurance is first applied. members and launch participants are always encouraged to park in areas that will not be affected by landing rockets.
- Are we covered if a rocket hits someone who is not part of the launch? Yes. The individual NAR member has coverage for rocket activities conducted under the NAR Safety Codes, over and above any existing personal liability coverage (e.g., homeowner’s policy). The NAR, and the applicable NAR Section, are also covered. Non-NAR members are not covered. Rules regarding deductibles still apply.
- Can NAR offer a rider to allow the individual rocketeer to purchase extra coverage above the policy limits? Currently the NAR’s insurance provider has no provisions for additional coverage.
- Does my insurance expiration date match my membership expiration date? All NAR members are additional insureds on the NAR policy as long as they have paid their membership dues and are entered on the NAR membership list.
- Does my insurance (as a Senior member) cover my minor children too? Minor children are covered only if they are also members of the NAR. If your children are not members, then your NAR member insurance does not cover them when they fly rockets.
- Will the NAR insurance cover claims related to use of non-certified motors? No. NAR insurance is null and void if the accident involves a Safety Code violation. Use of uncertified motors is prohibited by the NAR Safety Codes.
- Who is protected under NAR Section insurance? Section liability insurance protects the group, corporately, against bodily injury and property damage claims during activities sponsored by the club. If the Section, as a group, is named in a legal action as a result of a rocket accident, the NAR liability policy would respond to the alleged damages, pay for the expenses resulting from the lawsuit, plus damages awarded. Individual members may still be held liable for their own actions. Some additional protection may be achieved if the club is a registered nonprofit corporation — contact an attorney in your state for guidance.
- Any difference between individual and Section insurance as far as what stuff it can cover? No. Policy limits, deductibles, and coverage are the same for individuals, Sections, and site owners.
- OK, what about the site owner insurance we get after we’ve covered our Section? What does it cover? The coverage to the site owner is to defend the site owner from third-party liability claims brought against then, due to covered activities of the Section held on their property.
- How do I convince Farmer Brown that this is real insurance backed by a reputable provider, so that he’ll let me launch on his land? What benefits can I show him? The NAR Section can deliver “Farmer Brown” an insurance certificate listing the landowner as an additional insured regarding NAR activity on their site. Our insurance agent issues these directly to the land owner in most cases via email or this certificate can be delivered directly to the NAR section contact and it provides the site owner with policy facts such as limits, effective dates, and the insurance company providing the coverage. If your landowner has additional questions or concerns, they can then contact the NAR president.
- When an insured Section is flying, do club officers of that Section need to be present? There is no requirement for officers to be present at a Section launch. However, we strongly encourage a responsible club officer to attend all flying events. In all cases, we strongly recommend that a Range Safety Officer be appointed and on duty at all times.
- Is there anything that clubs can do to minimize the risk of paying a judgment? Yes! Follow the Safety Codes. Use only certified motors at your launches. Make sure there is a designated Range Safety Officer (RSO) supervising your launches at all times. If in doubt, err on the side of safety. Have participants who are not NAR members sign a “hold harmless” agreement when they come onto the range, acknowledging that they accept responsibility for whatever risk they may experience and will not file a claim against your section or the NAR. Keep all copies of these signed agreements.
- I am a business owner (for example: hobby shop, vendor, or manufacturer). Does my NAR insurance cover rockets that I fly in relation to my business, such as public demonstration launches that I run for business development and not sponsored by an NAR section for membership development, or such as my company’s own separate flight testing launch events? No. NAR insurance covers only flights at launch events conducted as a part of the NAR’s non-profit educational and recreational missions, and flights done by NAR members for their own personal purposes. Flights done by a business entity at launch events that are held for business purposes are not covered by this insurance, and require separate commercial liability insurance.
- I plan to fly rockets in full compliance with all NAR Safety Code requirements at a launch event where there will also be flights that are conducted outside NAR Safety Code limits. Does NAR insurance cover me for my flights? Yes. Active NAR members are considered additional insureds on the NAR liability insurance in relation to NAR rocket activities as long as these personal activities are conducted in full compliance with all NAR Safety Code requirements.
- When should an insurance claim be filed? You should file a claim anytime there is an incident at an NAR event which results in more than $500 in property damage or personal injury. If in doubt about the amount of damage, err on the side of caution and file the claim as soon as possible after the incident. Prompt reporting of claims is a policy requirement. File the claim as soon as possible after the incident.
- If a claim must be filed, how do I file it? Contact NAR HQ and the NAR President immediately after any accident for which you believe you might have to file a claim. They’ll have complete information available for you to file a claim. You can also file a preliminary report of your claim by using the Online Claim Form at the NAR website. After completing the form, you will be contacted for further information in order to complete the claim filing.
- Can I contact someone if I have questions about insurance? NAR members should contact the NAR President with additional concerns. Questions about Safety Codes, By-Laws, Section activities, other NAR services and other sport rocketry issues should be directed to the appropriate NAR committee.
These scenarios listed above are for reference purposes only. Coverage acceptance, or denial, depends on the material facts of the incident and the applicable coverage, or exclusions, on the policy. Final coverage determination can only be made by the respective insurance company. Return to the top of page.
Revised November 7, 2019