April 2021 - Why is it important to have Equine Personal Liability?
Written by by Marnye Langer, MBA, AFIS, CIC | Managing Director of LEGISequine.com • photo: Kristin Lee Photography
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:38
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When do you need Commercial Equine Liability even if you’re not a trainer?

by Marnye Langer, MBA, AFIS, CIC | Managing Director of LEGISequine.com • photo: Kristin Lee Photography

You found the perfect horse. You have the tack and equipment you need. You have invested in top-of-the-line safety equipment, and your show clothes are perfect. Your trainer is committed to helping you achieve your goals. Your show schedule is recorded on your calendar. Your vet and farrier are among the best. You have covered all your bases . . . or have you?

What happens if your horse kicks out at a fly and happens to make contact with a nearby car? Now there is a serious dent in the car’s door.What happens if your horse gets loose while you are hand grazing at a show, and in scurrying to get out of the way someone’s grandmother falls and breaks her hip?

Don’t be too quick to say things like that never happen, or at least they don’t happen to you. Things like that, and more happen. They are called “accidents” and they can take all the joy out of horse ownership. In addition to causing stress, accidents generally have a monetary aspect, and when someone is seriously hurt that monetary aspect can quickly become six figures.

This is the point where many people proudly proclaim, “I have homeowner insurance.” And this is where I ask, “Where in your homeowner policy does it say that your horse activities are covered?” In fact, many homeowner policies list an exclusion for agriculture activities. Although your horse may be like a pet to you, when it comes to insurance horses are categorized as agricultural. If you want to be certain that your homeowner policy will protect you if your horse damages something, referred to as “property damage” in insurance-speak, or if your horse hurts someone, referred to as “bodily injury” in the insurance world, then ask your insurance agent to show you the place in your policy where your policy will provide coverage for your horse activities. If your agent can’t show you yet insists there is coverage, ask your agent to put in writing exactly what insurance coverage you have for your horse activities.

If you do not have adequate protection in your homeowner policy, there is an easy solution and it is cost effective. An Equine Personal Liability (EPL) policy gives horse owners insurance coverage if their owned (or leased) horse hurts someone or damages something. These policies can start as low as $250 per year and can provide up to one million dollars of insurance coverage. As an added benefit, some EPL policies allow you to add coverage for your personal tack and equipment.

You can obtain an EPL policy through insurance agencies that specialize in horse-related insurance.

However, there are some instances where an EPL, or personal horse owner policy will not meet your needs. If you make money from your horse, whether leasing it or allowing your trainer to use your horse for lessons, insurance carriers view that as commercial activity and an individual or personal horse owner policy will not provide coverage. At that point you will need a commercial or business policy. You do not have to be getting an actual check from the use or lease of your horse. If your trainer uses your horse for lessons and gives you a credit on your bill, that is still viewed as commercial activity.

If you don’t want the expense of a commercial insurance policy and want some protection for the use of your horse, there are some risk management steps you can take to reduce your exposure. You can require someone leasing your horse to carry an Equine Personal Liability Policy and name you as “additional insured.” You can also ask your trainer to do the same if your trainer uses your horse to give lessons on. Nothing is fool proof, yet these are prudent steps you can take to give yourself some protection.

Finally, be aware that more and more boarding stables are beginning to require that horse owners carry an individual liability policy. This helps reduce the boarding stable owner’s risk if a boarded horse causes damage.

Owning a horse can be very rewarding. Make sure you take all the steps to protect your horse, protect your investment, and protect yourself. Proper insurance is one of the tools to provide you with protection and allow you to enjoy your horse and riding that much more.

Our LEGIS Team combines their passion for horses and horse sports with unrivaled expertise in the insurance field. Everyday we live our motto of Horsemen Insuring Horsemen. To learn more, you can visit www.LEGISequine.comor contact the LEGIS Team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .