Paying full price for an enviable DJI drone may be more than some can afford, and buying a used drone is always an option on the table. Before you spring for that amazing deal on eBay, though, you need to know what your options will be in terms of the popular hull insurance coverage option offered through DJI, the DJI Care Refresh plan.
If you buy a second hand drone that has a DJI Care Refresh plan linked to it, you get to benefit from the remainder of the term. Or, if the drone has never had a DJI Care Refresh plan linked to it, you may apply for a DJI Care Refresh plan through a video review process with DJI.
It’s not automatic that you will be able to get DJI Care Refresh for a second hand drone, and depends on the situation. You are relying on the truthfulness of the seller, and whether or not they already purchased a DJI Care Refresh plan for that drone. If you definitely want to be able to have DJI Care Refresh on your drone, you may want to opt for a new drone.
How DJI Care and DJI Care Refresh Work
In a nutshell, both DJI Care and DJI Care Refresh are hull insurance plans for DJI drones. The difference? DJI Care covers some of the older models of DJI drones, and offers a capped amount of repair work on damaged drones (the amount depends on the drone model), valid for one year. DJI Care Refresh is available for newer models of drones, and offers up to two replacement drones in the case of damage to your drone (for a replacement fee that depends on your drone model). It’s also a one year term.
Both DJI Care and DJI Care Refresh are generally sold with the purchase of a new drone from an authorized retailer. You typically have 48 hours from the time of purchase to add on a DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh plan without having to jump through some serious hoops in order to get it. To get the service plan for used drones, that hoop jumping is unfortunately more or less unavoidable.
To read more about what DJI Care Refresh is, which drone models it covers, what damages are included, and just more about how it works, read my article Is DJI Care Refresh Worth It: Here’s My Opinion.
Finishing Out a DJI Care Refresh Term on a Second Hand Drone
The way DJI Care Refresh works is that when you buy the year long term on a new drone, the drone’s serial number is linked to the DJI Care Refresh plan upon activation. If the drone is sold before the year of the term is up, and if there are remaining replacements left on the plan, the service coverage is transferred to the new owner.
If you are buying a second hand drone that has DJI Care Refresh coverage remaining on it, make sure to get the receipt or proof of purchase from the previous owner. You may also want to get a bill of sale (if buying privately) from the seller. That way, if you should have an incident requiring service or replacement, you can verify that you are indeed the new legal owner, and that you rightfully took over the DJI Care Refresh service plan.
Another perk of inheriting a DJI Care Refresh plan with the purchase of a second hand drone is that when the year term expires, you are eligible to renew the coverage with the purchase of the DJI Care Refresh+ plan. This will extend your service plan for a full second year.
Activating a DJI Care Refresh Plan on a Used Drone
Normally when you buy a new DJI drone, you have 48 hours to add on DJI Care Refresh. If you miss the 48 hour window, there’s still a way to buy it by completing a set of video recordings, which you submit to DJI. Basically this is to provide solid evidence that the drone is in proper working order and that you’re not trying to buy insurance on a damaged drone.
You can actually go through this same process if you buy a second hand drone that has never had a DJI Care Refresh plan linked to it. More on that process in a minute. If it has had a DJI Care Refresh plan that has gone through the full year term, or used up all of its replacements, you’re out of luck.
If you are fortunate enough to have landed on a used drone that has never had a DJI Care or Care Refresh plan attached to it, you can simply go through the process of verification with DJI. In order to do this you’ll need to log in to your account with DJI, to view the instructions for making a video, and you can also find there a sample video with further information on making your video.
In a nutshell, here are the steps to making and submitting your verification video.
DJI Care and Care Refresh video verification requirements:
1. Show aircraft, remote controller and DJI Go app in one continuous shot.
2. Shoot your video in a bright and open outdoor area.
3. Ensure video is clear and in focus. DO NOT edit your video.
In the verification video, make sure to shoot the following items in this precise order:
1. S/N numbers of your aircraft and gimbal, making sure that both numbers are clearly visible
2. Turn on the remote controller and the battery
3. Enter DJI GO app and calibrate the compass outdoors (open area recommended)
4. Format SD card using the DJI GO app. Make sure it is backed up before formatting.
5. Check the IMU.
6. Demonstrate gimbal pitch movement and rotation by moving it up, down, left and right. If using a Phantom 3 series product, simply tilt up and down.
7. Use the Combination Stick Command to power on the motors.
8. Hover the aircraft in place at an altitude of around 1.2m and a distance of 6m and transform the Inspire. Skip this step if using a Phantom 3 series product.
9. Move the Inspire up, down, forwards, backwards, left, right and do the clockwise and counterclockwise rotation.
10. Use the remote controller to record several seconds of video and use the Playback button to check the recording.
11. Hover the aircraft at a high altitude, i.e. 20m.
12. Carry out a distance and altitude test, making sure to show the DJI GO app clearly in your shot. In an open space, distance and altitude should reach at least around 200m and 120m respectively.
13. Test aircraft landing gear by lowering it until the landing gear lowers automatically. Skip this step if using a Phantom 3 series product.
14. Land the aircraft, power off the aircraft battery and then turn off the remote controller. Then stop your recording.
REMINDER: DO NOT edit your video.
Once you have completed recording these steps, you will need to upload your video on YouTube. Then you will upload the link to your video on the DJI site. Once approved, DJI will inform you through email, and DJI Care or Care Refresh will be available for you to purchase for your drone.
Make sure to follow the steps exactly, and to get clear shots of each item, or you risk a rejection, or a request to redo the video. You will almost certainly need to get a friend to help you make the video. Especially if your device is plugged in to the controller!
In any case, it would be pretty tricky to try to get a clear shot of all the things while also trying to navigate all the controls and such. Just get a buddy to help you. If the video doesn’t seem clear or have all the steps in the right order, start over, as the whole thing needs to be done in one shot.
Here’s a helpful video of someone going through all the steps of the verification process. I’d say there’s a little bit too much glare on the controller screen to see exactly what’s going on, but good enough to be passable.
What About Authorized Refurbished Drones?
DJI offers pre-owned drones for sale as authorized refurbished products. These products have gone through a careful and stringent refurbishment process to make sure that all parts are working like new. Any technical issues have been thoroughly resolved, and you have DJI’s guarantee that the product will perform just as well as if it were new.
When you buy an authorized refurbished drone through DJI, you are eligible to purchase DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh (depending on the product of course, see above), just as if you were buying a new product. That means you need to add it on within 48 hours of activation, or go through the video verification process.
Even though you’re buying a technically second hand drone, the price for the Care or Care Refresh plan will be the same as the price for a new product. That’s actually good news, because it means that you’ll get the same level of protection and same quality of replacement as you would with a new drone.
What Other Drone Insurance Options Are Available?
If you’ve missed out on being able to get DJI Care Refresh because your second hand drone already went through its full year of coverage, or if your video verification process was denied for some reason, that doesn’t mean that you have no options left for physical damage coverage.
There are plenty of other (and possibly better) ways to get drone hull coverage. If you’re paying for a drone liability policy, chances are good that your insurance provider also offers very reasonably priced physical damage coverage as well, and that coverage won’t expire after a year. Even if you don’t need liability coverage, you can find some pretty good deals on just physical damage insurance for your drone.
You also won’t have to send in your drone and wait for your new one to come in the mail, and you won’t have to pay a fee for your replacement. Your insurance company will simply send you a check, and you can go buy the replacement drone of your choice.
So before panicking that DJI rejected your request, check out what other options are out there, and you might be surprised that some other insurance offers are actually a much better deal.