With rising curiosity surrounding the use of drones, Americans are fearful of the dangers that may be created by these unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a study conducted for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
Close to three-fourths (73%) of survey respondents are concerned that drones could damage property by crashing into a house. Fifty-five percent said drones could injure people by poking out an eye or cutting a finger.
Seventy-eight percent believe drones could turn America into a surveillance state. Other privacy fears include drones becoming the new Peeping Toms, capturing photos of family members (60%), and hacking into wireless networks (50%). In addition, 34% are concerned that drones could steal their possessions.
"As drones continue to be developed and deployed, we expect that an increasing number of our customers will face some of the risks of this emerging technology," said Christie Alderman, vice president of Chubb Personal Insurance. "Fortunately, if a drone were to damage or cause other loss to your property, there may be coverage under the dwelling or contents portion of your homeowners insurance policy."
Despite the risks, 21% of survey respondents indicated that they would be interested in purchasing a drone. Sixty-seven percent, however, do not think that private citizens should be allowed to operate a drone even if they hold a permit, and fewer than 10 percent would like to see them in the hands of children. Sixty-four percent do not want businesses to use drones.
"Respondents appear much more comfortable with the use of drones by people in positions of authority, including law enforcement (66%) and the military (86%)," said Alderman. "They also see the benefits of humanitarian uses, such as the delivery of emergency medical aid (80%)."
Chubb's survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by ORC International, an independent market research company based in Princeton, N.J.