We know what you’re thinking… How does this affect my insurance?
First, don’t let any preconceptions about insurance red tape or difficulty make you a skeptic about how easy and economical it really is to share an aircraft. Indeed, it won’t cost much more at all to insure your aircraft for up to 3 additional pilots, provided those pilots meet a certain minimum experience requirement - at least what you have yourself. In general, insurance companies have a policy called a "limited renters policy," which allows up to three addition pilots to rent your plane from you. They will all need to be named on the policy, and they will submit their information to the insurance company.
What is the price difference for single pilot vs. multiple?
The rating for an aircraft policy is based on the airplane and the lowest-time, lowest-rated pilot, so it all depends on the pilots being added and the particular type aircraft to determine whether or not there are any charges to add pilots to the policy.
For example, to get the best price on a policy insuring a Cirrus SR22, all pilots must be Instrument rated, over 500 hours total time, with at least 100 hours in make and model. If the Cirrus owner were to add a low time pilot without an Instrument Rating, it could be a bit more expensive to add that pilot, and additional training may be required.
If in the above example the aircraft were a Cessna 172 instead of an SR22, the additional cost would be relatively minimal since the Cessna 172 is less complex.
If I paid my policy in advance through the end of the year, or through some other extended period, and I change insurance companies to get a new policy to share my aircraft, will I get a refund from my existing company?
Yes, all aviation policies allow you to cancel anytime you wish. Companies will typically calculate a refund short-rate, which means you’ll pay a small penalty for canceling your insurance early. The amount of this penalty is typically weighted more heavily at the beginning of the policy and less at the end. For instance, if your premium is $3,000 annually with a certain carrier and you cancel at 6 months, you would get back about $1,170 short-rate instead of the $1,500 you could expect if you were to pro-rate the difference. Terms will vary among the carriers and is detailed in every policy.
With SMA, you can specify exactly who you would like to use your aircraft. Want instrument rated pilots only- check that box. Minimum hours needed - fill in the amount. It's that easy to find exactly who you want. Ultimately, choose the pilots you share with wisely. Find pilots with similar or higher experience levels, or that meet minimum levels per insurance company requirements, and you should realize a nearly negligible change to your insurance premiums if at all.