Equine Insurance: Are You SURE You’re Insured?November 25, 2013
Are You Sure You’re Insured?
These are the days of lawsuits. Last year, we saw football fans suing over hot bleachers, a little league batter sued over a foul ball hitting a spectator, and more. So, in the event of an accident caused by your horse, hope for the best but expect the worst. Many equine enthusiasts cut corners on their coverage where they should be solidifying it. Some cite recent equine participation laws as protection against lawsuits. Simply put, there is very little case law to determine how individual states will enforce this new law. Secondly, the costs of defending yourself, even against a frivolous lawsuit, can be debilitating. Having a liability policy in place can relieve the burden of defense costs on you, your family, or your business.
Equine Personal Liability and Equine Commercial Liability are two very different things and provide coverage to an insured for different exposures and operations. Finding the right policy and coverage for your needs should be determined through a conversation with an experienced insurance agent; preferably one with equine experience as not all equine risk can or should be categorized together.
Equine Personal Liability Insurance
A false sense of security can sometimes arise through boarding situations where a horse owner may think they are insured against liability exposures because the boarding stable has a Farm or Commercial Liability policy. The boarding stable’s policy covers them for exposure to liability claims as a result of their business activities. Taking a boarded horse off premises for a pleasure drive through the trails of a local park can leave the owner/driver exposed should the unfortunate event of a runaway result in bodily injury or property damage to a third party.
Having an Equine Personal Liability policy in place can guard and insure against lawsuits arising from claims caused by their horse(s), either when at a show or on a leisurely Sunday drive. A discussion with an insurance agent can help you determine if you have an exposed risk and where you will find the best value to insure against that risk. Insureds who own their property and have a Farm Owners policy in place may be able to find this kind of coverage in the form of an endorsement onto their existing policy.
Equine Commercial Liability Insurance
Insuring for equine liability risk gets more complicated when the almighty dollar is involved. When an insured begins to give rides at the local park on Sunday afternoon and accepts money to do so, the Equine Personal Liability policy can no longer cover the risk. The acceptance of payment for a carriage ride transforms this risk from a personal liability exposure to that of a commercial exposure.
Most farmowner policies cannot be endorsed to cover any kind of commercial carriage operations so a separate policy will be needed with its own limits of liability. Policies for these operations can be costly due to inherent risk of injury and property damage, and higher claim volume associated with equine activities so a good choice when searching for a commercial liability policy for equine operations is to find an agent who can provide a policy with a group plan, similar to group health coverage, which spreads risk and lowers premium amounts.
It is of utmost importance to ask your agent the questions before you drive out of the barn and onto the road. Don’t risk your livelihood, your business or your families security, be sure you are insured!
If you have any questions pertaining to any aspect of equine insurance, please call one of our agents today at (717) 665-2283. We have nationally available policies to serve your insurance needs effectively.
Disclaimer: Information and claims presented in this content are meant for informative, illustrative purposes and should not be considered legally binding.