Having a stable is wonderful. It allows you to stay close to the horses you love and it may even save you a great deal of money and hassle compared to boarding your horse elsewhere. However, there are additional responsibilities that you have as the owner of your stable that you probably left to others in the past. One of those concerns is liability insurance.
No one wants to think about something bad happening at a stable. Having a friend, family member or employee injured by a horse is something you’d rather not think about. But, it happens more often than you know and it pays to be prepared by having the right insurance coverage for your stable, horses and employees.
Insurance Coverage for Business Activities
Having your a stable can provide you with a source of extra income. In fact, it may even be your full-time job providing riding lessons, excursions and boarding other people’s horses. When you engage in activities like these, you take on additional risk, and there are liability issues to consider and specific insurance coverage to obtain.
Even if the business activities at your stable are on a small scale, you still need proper insurance coverage. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover business-related incidents. Commercial general liability insurance will give you appropriate small business insurance coverage, or you might need a professional equine policy to cover horse-specific activities that might be excluded under other policies. Your insurance professional can help you determine the best insurance coverage for your stable.
Insurance Coverage for Injuries to Horses
Horses are very valuable and expensive animals. If you board other people’s horses, you want to make sure you are covered for any damages or injury while they are in your care. Again, your homeowner’s insurance is not designed for this kind of liability.
Commercial general liability policies often have specific exclusions against covering damage to personal property belonging to others. Because horses are personal property in the eyes of the law, the cost of vet care or compensation to the owner may not be covered. You’ll need a “care, custody, and control” endorsement added to the policy to cover damage to other people’s personal property located at your stable.
Insurance Coverage for Injured Employees
Generally, your employees are excluded from your commercial general liability policy. This means that if people who are working at the stable are injured, their injuries may not be covered by your liability insurance. The employee could sue you for damages including medical costs, loss of wages, pain and suffering.
To avoid the financial ruin this kind of lawsuit can bring, discuss proper worker’s compensation insurance coverage with an insurance professional. This is vital even if your employees are considered “independent contractors”. Depending on how you work with independent contractors, the IRS or the insurance company may feel that you have an employee rather than a contractor. You’ll want to have enough insurance coverage to protect your stable if someone gets injured.
Having a stable is exciting, can give you a place to keep your horses, and give you more control over their care. However, if you’re operating as a business, you’ll need the proper insurance. If you don’t have the appropriate insurance coverage to protect your stable from a liability lawsuit, you could lose it all.
This article is for educational use only and should not be considered legal advice. Every situation is unique and requires professional guidance. If you’re involved in a dispute related to your stable or for more information about equine law, contact Sonja Duckstein at 602-212-0202. I’m here to make sure your rights are fully protected.