Frequently Asked Questions

This is a reprint from the Ask the CFI discussion group.  Insurance needs are discussed by Mark Kolber, a CFI and Attorney.

Both NAFI and AOPA have CFI insurance programs. I have the one through NAFI. The policy is essentially a standard non-owned aircraft policy with a rider covering flight instruction activities.

But in addition to carrying your own insurance, you should absolutely insist on your student having you added as a named insured on her policy. The two things you are looking for are:

  1. You are covered just as though it were your airplane.
  2. The insurance company will “waive subrogation” in the case of a claim.

You may have heard or been told about “open pilot” coverage in a policy. This is not the same thing. An open pilot provision simple means that so long as the non-owner pilot meets the criteria, the insurance company will cover an accident. BUT, if there is an accident and the insurance company pays out, the insurance company can still sue the “open pilot” to get the money back. This is called “subrogation.”

When it places you on the policy as a “named insured” this will typically be accompanied by the insurance company giving up its right to sue you.

Insurance contracts are typically harder to understand than the FAR about logging vs acting as PIC %-]. If you call AOPA or the NAFI contact about having your own coverage, make sure you tell them the situation and ask them specifically what you should be looking for from your student’s insurance company.

Disclaimer: This message is not legal advice. It only provides general information about an issue that is commonly encountered. Legal advice depends on the facts and circumstances of a specific situation and no one should apply a general summary from a forum, newsgroup or web site to their own situation.

All of the options listed below assume that your CFI certificate has not expired.  If your CFI certificate has expired the only way to get it back is take the practical test over again.

The Reference is FAR 61.197

  1. Add a new rating to your CFI certificate.
  2. Show your local FSDO that in the preceding 24 calendar months you have endorsed at least five students for a practical test or rating and at least 80% of them passed the test on the first attempt. (that’s 4 out of 5 if you are not a math wiz)
  3. If you serve as a Part 121 or 135 check airman, chief flight instructor, or are involved in the regular evaluation of pilots the FAA may renew your certificate if the FSDO inspector has personal knowledge of your training.  This way is getting harder to do.  You used to be able to renew if you were a Part 121 or 135 captain but that is no longer the case.The FAA has recently taken a new twist on the idea of being involved in the regular evaluation of pilots.  If you are involved in training individuals for the FAA Wings program you can renew by showing you have given 15 hours of flight training in the FAA wings program. Check out bulletin HGBA 00-18.
  4. Graduate from an approved Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC) within the three preceding calendar months of your expiration date.


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Click here to visit the FAA's website to learn about getting a copy of your FAA records.

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