DJI launches Care program to fix your crashed drones

It'll cost you, but the plan fee might be less than a major repair job

What goes up must come down - and although flying drones are getting smarter and more stable all the time, they're still prone to horrifying crash landings. And given the price of a quality drone, that can really cost you a hefty sum.

So DJI has a new solution: the DJI Care Protection Plan, which lets you effectively buy supplemental insurance for select drones in case of an accident. It's sold in six-month and one-year options, and there's no deductible: you'll pay the fee, and then DJI will repair damages to the drone's body, gimbal, or camera within the timeframe, up to a certain coverage amount.

DJI Care can be purchased alongside a new drone, or afterward so long as it's within 48 hours of the drone's activation - although the company is currently letting owners film and submit verification videos for older drones. That offer only runs through 22 March, however.

The Care plan is currently available for the Phantom 3 series and the Inspire 1 v2.0 with the X3 gimbal camera. The purchase price and coverage amount vary by model: a six-month plan on the Phantom 3 Standard costs US$99 and offers US$499 worth of repairs, while a year-long plan for the Inspire 1 v2.0 plan sells for US$699 and covers US$3,099 worth of damage.

Naturally, there are limitations; common, everyday use crashes are fine, and you can keep sending it back for repairs until your coverage limit is reached. However, intentional crashes or damage accrued in "unsuitable flight conditions" won't be covered, along with any damage from water. The battery, remote, propellers, and other accessories also aren't covered, and no, DJI isn't going to "repair" little nicks and scratches that don't affect performance.

And if the drone is completely damaged in an accident - that is, if more than 80% of the parts need repair - then there are limitations in those cases, as well. Namely, DJI won't put your remaining coverage amount towards a new drone during the last month of a six-month plan, or the last two months of a year-long plan. That's presumably in case anyone is thinking of staging an elaborate collision to snag an "upgrade" before coverage ends.

Right now, DJI Care is available in the United States, mainland China, and parts of Europe, although that doesn't currently include the UK. More drone models will be covered in the future, and be sure to read DJI's extensive FAQ before throwing cash at a Care plan, given all the legal limitations involved.

[Source: DJI via The Verge]