What insurance do you need when you work with horses?
So let’s talk about insurance. Most of us in the horse industry are involved in such a way that insurance (of some sort) can help cover our butts if something goes sideways. The sort of insurance that is needed is where it gets confusing! Here is an outline of the more prevalent types of insurance coverage.
To keep things simple, let’s look at this from the different roles that a person or entity can play in the horse industry – whether you work in the industry, own property in the industry, own a horse, or otherwise.
I posed this scenario to Jenn McCabe, an equine lawyer and horsewoman, not to mention former Pony Clubber and event rider! Jenn is the brains behind the California Horse Lawyer website and blog. This is what Jenn shares with us:
Commercial equestrian facilities – including boarding stables, breeding farms, sales barns:
Regardless of whether you own the property that you are running your business on, you and your business should be separately insured.
Commercial Equine Liability Insurance will cover general liability relating to operating your business. Accidents happen, and in the horse industry those accidents can be expensive, so this coverage is an important starting point if you are operating a business. If you run a facility where other people’s horses are in your care (i.e. boarding, training, etc.), you should also carry Care, Custody, and Control (CCC) Insurance. CCC coverage accounts for the risk of loss or injury to the other person’s horse in the event that something or someone harms the horse while in your care.
If you own the farm or ranch property, in addition to a general property insurance policy, don’t forget Farm and Ranch Insurance to cover losses to your real and personal property (i.e. saddle theft).
If you host and/or operate clinics, horse shows, and other equine events, Show and Event Liability Insurance is a necessity. This will cover you for injuries and property damage caused by the event’s activities. If you operate a riding club of some sort (i.e. 4-H, Pony Club), you should carry similar Riding Club Insurance.
Finally, and perhaps the most important on this list - if you have employees, you MUST carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This covers your liability for any injuries suffered by your employees while on the job. This is important in any industry (because it’s the law!), but is particularly important in the horse industry due to the increased risk of injury while handling large animals. Crazy things can, have, and will happen. Be covered.
An Important Note to the Independent Contractors of the Horse Industry:
Even if you are only a one-man band, you must insure the band. Depending on what kind of service your independent contract is for (i.e. trainers, farriers, grooms, etc.), this includes each of the types of insurance discussed above.
Individual horse owners:
Ah, horse owners, a unique breed of people… willing to take on a unique set of liabilities for their love of the animal.
To protect yourself from the reality of the liability, horse owner’s should give some serious consideration to Horse Owner Liability Insurance. A horse owner liability policy will protect you from the expenses you’ll incur in the event that your horse injures someone or causes property damage.
To protect yourself from losses in the event that your horse becomes ill, gets injured, or dies, Equine Mortality and Theft Insurance, Major Medical and Surgical Insurance, and Loss of Use Insurance are all considerations for the horse owner. Whether these different insurance policies are necessary really depend on the horse’s value, overall health, and potential.
Many horse owners go without any insurance at all, but like I’ve said, Crazy things can, have, and will happen. Be covered – especially if you do not think that you can shell out a few thousand dollars to remedy any expenses that you may incur unexpectedly.
If you have questions about liability, insurance coverage, or employment law, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can find Jenn on her website here, and follow along with Jenn on Twitter here and Facebook here. Tons of great information!
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are opinion only and based on the experience of the article's author and not to be construed as legal advice in any respect. Consult an attorney before taking action based on the contents of this article. Jenn McCabe, Liv Gude, and Professional Equine Grooms, LLC. expressly disclaim all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.