What is it? In simple terms, DJI Care Refresh is a limited insurance policy that massively reduces the cost of replacing your drone if it flies away or is damaged beyond repair, and also reduces the cost of repairs. But is it something you should invest in?
Buying a new drone is always exciting, but with it comes great risk. No one ever wants to think about the downside of owning drones, but when you’re talking about the cost involved with DJI's flying cameras, you can’t ignore the investment. Despite the amazing technology available in drones such as collision avoidance, this doesn’t guarantee that your drone won’t crash.
Losing your drone completely or even crashing it and having to pay for a replacement or repairs can certainly be expensive. So it makes sense to have some form of insurance policy to protect you against loss or damage if this is something you’re worried about.
Many people don’t use any form of drone insurance, and many experienced pilots crash, so it ultimately comes down to your risk threshold. But with something like DJI Care Refresh that can be added to a drone at the point of purchase, covering your drone can be extremely easy. Here's our breakdown of what DJI Care Refresh is whether it'll be worth it for you.
What is DJI Care Refresh?
DJI Care Refresh is an after-sales service plan that’s essentially an insurance policy providing cover against accidental loss and damage to your drone in flyaway situations, alongside accidental damage. You also receive discounts for repairs and can take advantage of a factory maintenance service that’s a bit like a car service to make sure your drone is functioning correctly.
The plan is different to a standard warranty because the latter only covers you for manufacturer faults alongside flyaways and crashes that are a result of a manufacturer fault. DJI Care Refresh includes accidental damage cover in limited situations, so it ultimately provides cover that sits between a warranty and standard drone insurance.
The alternative to DJI Care refresh is to get drone insurance from one of the many insurance companies offering this cover. For example, in the US there's Skywatch, while in the UK it's worth checking out the likes of Coverdrone. You can opt for insurance on a pay-per-flight basis, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly intervals, with the yearly option providing the most value for money.
Standard drone insurance can be much more cost-effective than DJI Care Refresh and provides additional cover, so it's worth looking at both options before you activate your new DJI drone, because there is a time limit for binding Care Refresh to your recently activated drone.
Who is DJI Care Refresh for?
Anyone who buys a new DJI drone in the US, the UK and Australia is eligible for DJI Care Refresh, and it's available in many other regions (see full list below) including the EU.
When you buy a drone from the DJI Store, you’ll see an option to add DJI Care Refresh at the checkout with periods of one or two years available. And if you purchase your drone from a third-party reseller, you’ll be given the option to sign up for Care Refresh when setting up the phone app or smart controller.
You have to bind DJI Care Refresh to your drone within 48 hours of the drone being activated. And this can only be bound if the country of purchase and the plan are the same, and that the country is one of those listed below. If you decide to add DJI Care Refresh after the 48 hours, you can contact DJI support to send the product back to DJI, presumably to be reset, or to use video verification so that Care Refresh can be bound to the drone.
If you’re an absolute beginner, getting a one-year plan may be a great option because it could give you peace of mind during those first few tentative weeks of flight and beyond. You could, of course, opt for two years of cover, which is ultimately less expensive than two single years purchased separately.
DJI Care Refresh is currently available in the US, Canada, EU, the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Mainland China.
What doesn't DJI Care Refresh cover?
Like any insurance policy, there are exclusions – and the most important exclusion you’ll have to consider is that DJI Care Refresh doesn’t cover your drone against loss or theft.
For this, you’ll need specialist drone insurance or to add your drone to your home insurance, if this is possible. For the latter, even if the drone is covered in and away from the home, it’s unlikely that it would be covered during flight, so this is something to check.
Looking through the terms and conditions for DJI Care Refresh, there aren’t any sneaky exclusions listed, but there are plenty of exclusions to consider.
As you’d expect, damage caused by unauthorized repairs or replacement of parts, plus the use of third-party accessories or software that isn't authorized by DJI, aren't covered. Deliberate reckless flying, flying in unsuitable conditions, use during natural disasters and civil unrest, and damage to the drone caused by nuclear radiation also aren't covered.
These main exclusions are reasonable enough, and while you may think it would be easy to circumvent some of them, it isn't quite as simple as telling a little white lie about how and when you were flying. Flight data is checked when warranty and DJI Care Refresh claims are made, so if the conditions of service aren’t met or an exclusion is breached, your claim wouldn’t be covered.
The fact that the cost of DJI Care refresh is similar to specialist drone insurance when insured for recreational use, does provide food for thought. Specialist insurance, for example, often provides much more comprehensive cover during flights, storage and transportation, alongside covering accidental damage and repairs.
What kinds of DJI Care Refresh are there and how much do they cost?
The DJI Care Refresh plan is available in two durations of one and two years and can be applied for up to a maximum of two years.
Beyond two years, you’re going to have to get yourself specialist drone insurance. And unlike specialist insurance, the level of cover provided by DJI Care Refresh depends on the duration you choose. Drone models covered include the DJI Mini 3 Pro, DJI Mavic 3, DJI Mavic 3 Cine, DJI Air 2S, Mavic Air 2, DJI Mini 2 and DJI Mini SE.
We've included some selected prices below to give you an idea. Note that the 'replacement fees' below are for the 1-year plan and are for your first claim made on Care Refresh – a second claim (or third, if you're on the 2- year plan) typically cost between 10%-30% more than the first one, depending on the drone.
|Drone||1-year plan||2-year plan||Replacement fee (damage, first claim)||Flyaway replacement fee (usable once)|
|DJI Mini 3 Pro||$79 / £75 / AU$119||$125 / £119 / AU$189||$65 / £62 / AU$99||$235 / £219 / $345|
|DJI Mavic 3||$239 / £209 / AU$349||$399 / £329 / AU$559||$159 / £139 / AU$229||$739 / £619 / AU$1,039|
|DJI Air 2S||$99 / £89 / AU$169||$169 / £149 / AU$279||$119 / £109 / AU$199||$419 / £449 / AU$849|
|DJI Mini 2||$49 / £45 / AU$79||$79 / £69 / AU$119||$49 / £45 / AU$79||$225 / £209 / AU$379|
|DJI FPV||$199 / £189 / AU$319||$319 / £299 / AU$519||$259 / £249 / AU$419||N/A|
Using the DJI Mavic 3 and DJI Mavic Mini 3 Pro as examples, DJI Care Refresh Costs $399 / £329 / AU $559 for two years and $239 / £209 / AU $349 for one year for the Mavic 3. For the Mini 3 Pro, it costs $125 / £119 / AU $189 for two years and $79 / £75 / AU $119 for one year.
With the two-year plan, for both models, you can receive three affordable replacement drones in two years, up to three times for damage and twice for flyaways. Repair discounts can be obtained three times in two years and the warranty is extended to two years with factory maintenance available twice during this period. Plus, the warranty is extended to a third year if no claims have been made.
With the one-year plan, you can receive two affordable drone replacements in one year twice for damage and once for a flyaway. Repair discounts can be gained twice during the year and the warranty is only extended to a second year if no claims have been made.
Is DJI Care Refresh worth it?
The alternative to DJI Care Refresh is to take out an insurance policy for your drone. In our experience, this can be cheaper annually than DJI Care Refresh as well as, in some cases, providing a lower excess payment when a claim for repair or replacement is required.
You can also often make more claims with a dedicated insurance policy than you can with DJI Care Refresh, so the level of cover is much more comprehensive overall. We'd recommend checking out the likes of Skywatch and Thimble (in the US) and Coverdrone (in the UK and EU).
So is DJI Care Refresh worth it? In a nutshell, you can insure your drone for recreational use more cheaply and with fewer restrictions on the number of repairs and replacements with specialist insurance. But for some people, the pure simplicity of DJI Care Refresh, despite its shortcomings, will make it an attractive alternative.
For commercial drone pilots, DJI Care Refresh probably isn't worthwhile, because they're legally required to have drone and public liability insurance anyway, making DJI Care Refresh an unnecessary additional cost for them.
But for enthusiasts and recreational drone pilots, DJI Care Refresh can provide a useful, off-the-shelf solution to cover your drone against accidental damage or loss during flights. We'd just recommend comparing the cost to independent insurance options to see if you're getting the best deal.
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James Abbott is a professional photographer and freelance photography journalist. He contributes articles about photography, cameras and drones to a wide range of magazines and websites where he applies a wealth of experience to testing the latest photographic tech. James is also the author of ‘The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing’.