by Laura Swinnerton of Equine Insurance Broker Equestrian World Insurance Services
Quote: “I am a Freelance Instructor but might give the occasional lesson using one of my own horses – what cover do I need for this?”
It is common practice for many riders to offer lessons to their equestrian peers, either as part of their full-time occupation or on an occasional basis to earn some extra income. Insurance cover is available for freelance instructors to cover Public Liability during teaching and also Care, Custody & Control cover if required whilst carrying out other duties such as freelance riding/grooming. This can be tailored to cover the client on their own premises or off-site as well if required. Unqualified instructors can still be covered by insurance, but those with industry recognised qualifications (e.g. BHS or UKCC level education) and an up to date Health & Safety at Work First Aid Certificate will generally be entitled to discounted rates.
If you decide to do some teaching using your own horses, regardless of how seldom this will occur, then for insurance purposes you would be considered to be trading as a Riding School and would require adequate insurance cover for this type of risk. Under the Riding Establishments Act, anyone operating a riding establishment must be granted a licence by their local authority prior to trading. It is also a legal requirement that you hold a valid insurance policy, which would be subject to the operator holding such a licence. Riding School liability policies attract higher premium rates due to the increased risk and generally have a minimum annual premium of around £1200 – many people think twice about using their own horses for lessons after hearing that figure!
Other commercial activities, such as using horses for ‘pony rides’ at local shows may also warrant the need for a licence; discussing your business proposal with your local authority can determine whether this is necessary or not and also establish what type of insurance policy will be required. Once this first step has been taken it will be easier for your insurer to offer the most viable option for insurance cover.
The limit of indemnity for Public Liability cover starts at a minimum of £2 Million for riding school policies with increased levels up to £5 Million also available. Freelance Instructors cover is available at the lower limit of £1 Million in addition to the other two levels. The higher levels of cover may seem extreme but it is worth noting that pay-outs have been recorded well in excess of £2 Million in the past – this puts the premiums into perspective! Make sure you have the correct cover on your policy before offering a particular service.
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. She has two 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.