Laura has worked in the insurance industry since 2006 after achieving a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science from The University of the West of England. She studied at Hartpury College in Gloucester and has extensive equine knowledge from personal experiences as well as further professional training. Laura currently has 2 horses to compete – ‘Molly’ who is an Intermediate/CCI** level eventer and ‘Lex’ who showjumps at 1.35m level – and can regularly be seen competing around the UK.
“Even if your clients have their own Public Liability insurance, you still need to cover yourself for operating as a business”
There is no escaping the fact that owning a horse is an expensive hobby. In fact, it’s more like a full-time job that costs you money rather than earns it! Many owners are looking for ways to bring in some extra cash without too much outlay on their part; those spare stables that are used for storing rugs/stable tools/grooming kits/hay and anything else that needs a home are starting to be looked at in a new light as owners realise they could make money by making their stables available for livery. But have you thought about the insurance implications of such a business venture?
Unlike Riding Establishments, there is no legal requirement for livery yards to hold Public Liability insurance, however it is strongly encouraged. The policy is designed to cover your legal liability as a business and provides cover against accidental bodily injury to individuals (e.g. anyone coming on to your yard) or accidental third party property damage caused by one of the horses on your yard. The limit of indemnity is available up to a maximum of £5 Million and can normally be extended to include cover for shows/events held on your premises or if you hire out any facilities to the public.
You may think you are covering yourself sufficiently by ensuring your clients have their own Public Liability insurance in place, but whilst this is recommended it does not guarantee to leave you in the clear in the case of third party damage. What if, for example, your own horse was turned out with a livery horse and one day they escaped out of the field due to some damaged fencing. The worst case scenario hardly bares thinking about, but even if the only damage is minor scraping to a third party’s car, there is no way to categorically say which horse was responsible for the dent and you, as the person responsible for maintaining the fencing, could be held liable for any losses sustained by the third party.
There are other optional extensions available as well including Care, Custody & Control cover (recommended if you are involved in the care of anyone else’s horses) and Employers’ Liability cover (legally required if you have anyone working for you, whether paid in cash, paid in kind or voluntary). Make sure you don’t end up losing out substantially due to insufficient insurance cover, or you could find your lucrative business idea turns out to be another way of generating significant financial expense.