You’re about to click the buy button on a new DJI drone, and you want to know if it’s worth it to add on the DJI Care Refresh option. Any sort of insurance coverage that you buy is purchased with the hope that you’ll never need to use it, but then you’re glad that you have when the time comes. So is it worth the extra money to buy some peace of mind?
As a matter of personal opinion, DJI Care Refresh is definitely worth it for the more expensive models of DJI drones such as the Mavic 2, Phantom 4 Pro, or Inspire 2. For the lower level models such as the Mini 2, or the Mavic Air 2, I’m more inclined to pass.
It really comes down to a cost analysis for each model and how much the initial outlay is compared to the cost for replacements, and the percentage of the total value of the equipment. Some other factors of course would play into my decision, such as whether the drone is for recreation or for livelihood, and what other types of drone insurance I already have.
We’ll get into some cost details to help you decide if DJI Care Refresh makes sense for you. But first, a little bit of background information.
What is DJI Care Refresh?
DJI Care Refresh is basically a physical damage insurance policy from DJI for select DJI products that offers you up to two replacement units in the 12 months that are covered by the plan. Replacement units are guaranteed to be new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability. When you purchase a DJI drone from an authorized seller, you have the option of adding on DJI Care Refresh at the time of purchase, or within 48 hours after the time of purchase.
DJI Care Refresh is basically a physical damage insurance policy from DJI
DJI Care Refresh Plus?
DJI Care Refresh is in effect for 12 months from the time of purchase. If after that time you have any remaining replacements (meaning you haven’t already had two replacement units sent to you), you can purchase DJI Care Refresh Plus, which extends your plan for another 12 months. The costs of a first or second replacement unit remain at the same level as they are under DJI Care Refresh.
DJI Care Refresh Plus extends your plan for another 12 months
What is DJI Care?
With the similarity in names, it can be a bit confusing, so just to clarify, DJI Care is a different service product altogether. DJI Care is also an insurance policy against physical damage, but comes at a higher upfront cost, and insures your drone at its market price for repair service during the term of the policy. You get an unlimited number of repairs, and there are no deductibles for repair services. For aircraft damaged beyond repair, you can get a replacement at no cost provided you have sufficient coverage remaining. Basically that would mean that you haven’t had any prior repairs performed.
How much does DJI Care Refresh cost?
The cost to purchase DJI Care Refresh depends on the product that you’re purchasing. Like with most insurance, the cost of coverage is directly related to the value of the item. So for lower end products, the initial cost to purchase DJI Care Refresh is lower, and for more expensive pieces of equipment, the initial cost is higher.
But it doesn’t stop there. After you’ve purchased DJI Care Refresh, you still have to pay a fee for your replacement if you should have a damaged drone needing replacement. You could think of it as a copay if you like. The cost for your first replacement will generally be a bit less than the initial cost to purchase the plan, but it depends on the model. The cost of your second replacement, should you be unlucky enough to need it, is a bit higher than the first replacement, but not by much.
Below you is a table of the drone models that can be covered by a DJI Care Refresh plan. Other camera items are also eligible, but I’ve only included the aircraft in this chart.
DJI Care Refresh Cost Chart:
|DJI Model||Cost to Buy DJI Care Refresh||Cost of 1st Replacement||Cost of 2nd Replacement||Cost of a New Drone||Care Cost as Percent of Market Value|
|Mavic 2||$149||$69||$99||$1,599 (pro)|
|Mavic Air 2||$79||$69||$99||$799||31%|
|Mavic Air||$69||$69||$99||$699 (discontinued)||34%|
|Mavic Pro||$99||$79||$129||$829 (discontinued)||37%|
|Phantom 4 Advanced||$139||$99||$139||$1,299||29%|
|Phantom 4 Pro Series||$159||$99||$149||$1,599||25%|
|Phantom 3 SE||$59||$69||$79||$729 (discontinued)||28%|
To calculate the Care Cost as Percentage of Market Value, I added the cost of the original DJI Care Refresh purchase for each drone, with the cost of the first and second replacement, divided by the cost of a new drone. True, by the time you get to the second replacement, you would really have had to purchase your drone three times, but this is simply for the sake of comparison.
The orange rows indicate discontinued models of drone. Even though DJI is not still producing them, they’re still available for purchase on places like Amazon and B&H, and DJI still offers Care Refresh coverage for them, at least for now. For these discontinued models, I think it actually might make sense to get DJI Care Refresh coverage on them, since there’s a chance that you might end up with an upgraded model as a replacement, but it’s by no means guaranteed. Don’t go out to intentionally damage your drone in the hopes of an upgrade either. If they figure out that you intentionally damaged your drone, you won’t be eligible for any replacement.
The blue rows are the models that I think are worth the cost of purchasing DJI Care Refresh. As you can see by the percentage of market value comparison, the more expensive models get you a better cost analysis overall. For example: if you buy DJI Care Refresh for your Mavic 2 Pro ($149), crash it and claim your first replacement ($69), crash it again and claim your second replacement ($99), you will still have a working Mavic 2 Pro in your hands, having only paid 20% of the amount that you paid to buy it in the first place. Not too bad.
With the percentage cost analysis approach, the Spark is the worst deal in terms of buying DJI Care Refresh at 44% of market value cost. That means you would be paying nearly half of the price of a new one by the time you got both of your replacements. I personally wouldn’t find it worth it to go over the 30% of new value cost mark.
The white rows are the models that I don’t think the cost analysis justifies the purchase of DJI Care Refresh. As a relatively cautious drone pilot, I’m not one to push the limits too much (and a bit of a penny pincher), so I’m willing to take the chance on a $400-$800 drone. But someone much more daring in their flight style (and more likely to crash) might tell a different story.
How does DJI Care Refresh work?
In the case of an unfortunate event in which your drone sustains damage, the first step is to submit a repair request online under your service plan. You will be given instructions to send your drone to a DJI repair center in your region. Shipping charges both going and coming should be covered by DJI. The DJI repair center will confirm the type of damage to the drone, and if it’s a covered event, you will be sent a new equivalent drone in new or like-new condition. If it’s not a covered damage type, you will be given the option to have repair work done, or have your drone returned to you as is.
What’s covered and what’s not?
Like with most things, it’s important to read the fine print. And a big part of that is knowing what’s covered, and what’s not.
- Signal loss or interference that resulted in a crash
- Dropping your drone
- Water damage
- Operator error resulting in damage
*An important side note here is that while flyaway situations are covered by DJI Care Refresh, it only applies to the Mini 2 and the Mavic Air 2, and even then, there are certain requirements that must be met. First, the aircraft must first have been bound with the DJI service plan, and the remote controller must have been bound with the aircraft. This is so that the controller can produce a flyaway report proving that the aircraft did indeed fly away, and wasn’t stolen or mislaid.
Second, there is a replacement fee for a flyaway situation above and beyond the normal product replacement fee in the case of damage. For the Mini 2, the Flyaway replacement fee is $225. For the Mavic Air 2, the Flyaway replacement fee is $399.
What’s Not Covered
- Flyaways (with the exception of the Mini 2 and the Mavic Air 2)
- Lost drones (including water loss)
- Stolen, forgotten or abandoned drones
- Deliberate loss or damage
- DIY repair attempts
- Remote controller
- Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect function or reliability
A couple of the things that aren’t covered here make me hesitate once again on whether DJI Care Refresh is really worth the cost. Flyaways for example. I understand the difficulty they are faced with, that unless there’s a physical drone to return to the repair center, it’s hard for DJI to really know the cause of the problem. But if a drone had a flyaway event (at no fault of the operator) and it’s gone, shouldn’t that be covered for all models? And then on top of that, for the models that do offer flyaway replacement, you have to pay a fairly hefty fee for your replacement. It seems to indicate that DJI is hoping to repair and refurbish the majority of the damaged models that are sent in, to resell or return as replacements.
Drones lost to water is another item that rubs me the wrong way. Again, it’s because there’s no drone to return to the repair center that’s the problem. Water damage is covered (but not if the drone was flown in unsuitable conditions), but if the drone drops out of the sky over water and sinks to the bottom, you’re out of luck.
Pros and Cons – Is It Really Worth It?
The fact that DJI Care Refresh coverage is limited to one year tends to increase my reluctance to spring for it. If this is a drone that I plan to use for several years at least, and I can only get replacements for a year, or two with DJI Care Refresh Plus (another cost!), it seems like Murphy’s law promises that I will have that major crash just as soon as the coverage runs out. If I’m going to spend some money on insurance against physical damage, it might make more sense to pay on a monthly plan that lasts as long as the drone does.
The timeline for the return and replacement service under a DJI Care Refresh plan is a bit hit or miss; it can go smooth and fast for some taking around 6 weeks, or take up to a couple months for a few unhappy users. Being left without a drone during the shipping and return time is one of the downsides of the DJI Care Refresh coverage plan, as compared with a hull insurance policy from another source. Most other hull insurance providers would simply issue a check for the covered amount so you can go out and buy a replacement at your own convenience. Honestly, even on the fast end of things, 6 weeks is sort of long to sit on your hands waiting to get out flying again.
If it’s looking like getting insurance on your drone from another source makes more sense, here’s something else to consider; most drone insurance providers offer physical damage coverage as an add-on to liability coverage and not as a stand alone offering. Unless you’re really flying a lot as a hobbyist, or working as a professional drone pilot, you probably don’t need to get liability insurance.
If you are a licensed, professional drone pilot, you definitely do need to have liability insurance, in which case it would probably be easier and make more financial sense to just add on physical damage coverage to your liability coverage plan. Check out our article on drone insurance to read more.
All that to say, if you’re a hobbyist and not planning to buy a drone liability plan, your options for stand alone physical damage coverage on your drone are fairly limited, making DJI Care Refresh look like a pretty good option.
How can I add on DJI Care Refresh if I missed the 48 hour window?
If you missed the 48 window to add a DJI Care Refresh plan to your newly purchased drone, don’t despair, it is possible to add it on later. However the process involves a tedious and cumbersome amount of legwork. Primarily, this involves submitting a video documenting various aspects of your drone, following a detailed checklist provided by DJI. After your video is submitted and approved by DJI, you will have 72 hours from that point to complete your purchase of the DJI Care Refresh plan.
How can I “return” my DJI Care Refresh?
The only way you can return your DJI Care Refresh plan is to return the drone for which the plan was purchased. If you return the drone for a full refund, you will also be refunded the purchase price of the DJI Care Refresh plan. You cannot return the DJI Care Refresh plan independently of the drone.
Do I need to buy a new DJI Care Refresh plan for my replacement drone?
When you receive a replacement drone under the DJI Care Refresh plan, the replacement drone is now linked to your DJI Care Refresh plan by serial number. That means you do not need to buy an additional plan to cover the new drone.