DJI is one of the world’s premier drone manufacturers. It offers machines in a variety of sizes and configurations, to suit everyone from hobbyists to professional pilots. When you pick up a drone from the manufacturer, you’ll have the option of investing in extra cover that goes beyond the standard warranty. This cover is called ‘DJI Care Refresh’.
What is DJI Care Refresh?
Care Refresh is a form of insurance against physical damage. It entitles you to a replacement unit (at a small price), should the one you’ve bought become damaged beyond repair. You can opt for DJI Care Refresh whenever you purchase a DJI drone. There’s a window of 48 hours to opt in from the time you make the purchase. It’s a popular form of cover, which many drone pilots choose.
This being the case, why would anyone bother with third-party insurance? It’s a question worth asking — as doing so will help you to avoid the headaches that come with misunderstanding the differences. DJI Care Refresh comes with a few limitations that are worth taking stock of. Let’s run through some of the more significant ones.
The number of claims that you can make
If you’re on DJI Care Refresh, then you’ll be able to make just two claims every year. For many hobbyists, this is perfectly adequate — but if you’re relying on your drone to make your living, or you’d just like to take your piloting a little more seriously, the peace of mind that comes with unlimited claims might well be worth having.
The length of cover
You get DJI Care Refresh for 12 months from the date that you buy the product. This entitles you to a like-for-like replacement (or an equivalent) should your drone become damaged within the period.
If you want a little bit more flexibility with the timing (or you want a particular drone covered for a particular limited-time use), then going third-party is sensible.
No public liability
Care Refresh only covers damage to the drone itself, rather than any public liability. So, if the pilot damages someone else’s property or injures a member of the public while piloting the drone, they will be liable. Insurance will provide cover for these circumstances. Consequently, Care Refresh alone isn’t suitable for many commercial applications.
As we’ve mentioned, you have 48 hours from the point at which you purchased the drone to opt into DJI’s Care Refresh. By contrast, you can pick up third-party insurance any time you like. Bear in mind that if you’re insuring an older drone, the increased likelihood that it will fail will be reflected in the premium you pay.
Insurance against cyberattack
If you’re going to be flying an airborne computer, then you had better be sure it’s robust enough to resist cyberattacks. Malicious software can make a dramatic difference to your drone’s chances of staying airborne — and it can even be used to steal your drone.
Piloting a drone relies on a range of devices, entirely separate from the drone itself. Of course, you’ll need a device from which to control the drone from the ground, as well as chargers, gimbals, cameras, and other accessories. When you opt for third-party cover, you can elect to insure as many of these as you like.
You might suppose that this is where Care Refresh might have a natural advantage — and you’d be right. But the advantage isn’t as clear as it might be. In fact, if you’re insuring multiple drones of different models, and from different manufacturers, a third-party solution from Moonrock might in fact be the simplest, as you can get everything sorted under a single policy — with no need to record serial numbers or number of airborne hours.
It’s always nice to know that you’re going to be covered, no matter whether you’re in flight or not. But does DJI care refresh cover lost drones? It depends. DJI does offer ‘flyaway cover’ for when your aircraft is disconnected or goes missing during the flight — but crucially, it’s only available on certain products (namely the Mini 2 and Mavic Air 2).
That’s not the end of the limitations. DJI won’t cover you against water damage, theft, cosmetic nicks and scratches, or damage that results from DIY repair attempts. Consequently, you’ll want to check you’re covered before you take to the skies. With third-party insurers like Moonrock, there isn’t any uncertainty — provided that you’re upfront about the level of risk you’re exposing your drone to.
If you’re taking your drone overseas, then it’s worth insuring third-party. You’ll get cover anywhere in the world (excepting the US and Canada). Again, DJI’s cover does include an international warranty, meaning that you’ll have access to replacements and repairs wherever there’s a DJI repair centre available. But you’re also restricted here — not only by the limited number of models that are covered, but by the availability of authorised repair centres. You can check out the available repair centres here.
Cost of replacements
There’s a mandatory excess involved with DJI Care Refresh. This tends to be small (relative to the cost of a new drone), but it’s still worth thinking about. There’s also a small waiting period while your drone is sent off. Six weeks is considered a quick turnaround in this situation. An insurer like Moonrock, on the other hand, will give you the cash so that you can simply go and buy a new drone!
Cost of entry
In many cases, you’ll be charged a premium by DJI relative to the alternatives. This is largely a matter of brand recognition and convenience — everyone who buys a product carrying the DJI label will have already bought into the brand, and so trusting in DJI to provide the support may seem like a small step.
On the other hand, taking the time to shop around for third-party insurance will often yield a better deal — as the market is more competitive.
DJI’s Care Refresh option comes with some advantages which might persuade pilots to consider it. That said, for most professional drone operators, a specialised insurance product will provide a better fit.