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Space Insurance

Left to Right: Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers, Glen de Vries. 2021 Blue Origin crew

I was reading through the December 2022 issue of Reason magazine and the topic of “space insurance” came up. The article stated that it’s currently limited and is primarily in use by the new private space companies, especially if they send people to space or up to the Karmen Line. I thought I would look around to see what is available, what requirements and limits there are, and possibly what it costs.

List of Space Insurers

Upon a quick google search for “Space Insurance” led to a number of various insurers. Most seem to include insurance for prelaunch, launch, and in-orbit coverage. Few seem to offer coverage on passengers/crew. Perhaps that is yet to be fully realized since seat tickets to go on a launch are roughly the cost of a small house, which means it’s not yet affordable but it's more affordable than it was 20 years ago.

Costs are not available unless you call for a consultation with an insurance company, which I really don't want to do right at the moment. It wouldn't be too far fetched to guesstimate that space insurance is going to run at least $10,000+ a year (probably more), depending on what you're doing. This guesstimate is based on other insurance numbers. I'm guessing - higher risk, higher price with $10K being on the low end of things.

Why Is This Important?

As the people of Earth start venturing further into space, the insurance companies are going to be right there with us - from a business perspective. The Orbital Assembly Corporation is planning on building a research station (Pioneer Station) and a space hotel (Voyager Station) in the next couple of years. If they succeed that means Earthlings will start having a potential off-world place to visit. Where people go, accidents happen; insurance is needed to cover people and accidents.

This leads me to ask other questions like: what about the potential of construction in space? What type of insurance would be needed for that? How would we even go about doing that? Can you weld in a vacuum (probably)? Wouldn't it be easier to launch a spaceship from a moon-based point rather than having to break out of Earth's gravitational hold and atmosphere? Why don't we (Earth) have a moonbase?

Questions To The Readers

Do you think the limiting availability of space insurance covering passengers/crew restricts development of space travel? Do you think it will expand alongside the industry or remain a little tight?

Additional Reading:

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