Light aircraft will be required to have liability insurance, following European rules due to be implemented by the end of the month.

The rules will also raise the minimum limits of liability cover required for all weight classes of light aircraft, which brokers say will lead to premium hikes.

Simon Clarke, chairman of broker Hall & Clarke, said a large number of recreational aircraft owners were uninsured. "There has never been a Road Traffic Act for the skies, so this is a welcome addition.

"In an increasingly litigious society, the raising of liability limits and the introduction of compulsory cover offers our customers better protection against any eventuality."

There are currently around 10,000 general aircraft in the UK - predominantly affiliated to flying clubs and used for non-commercial purposes.