Equine And Farm Owner's Insurance
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Unpredictability. This is the nature of horses and the horse industry. If you own a horse farm, insurance is crucial. Even if you board your horse, there are a number of policies you should consider. Policies may differ on an individual basis, but here are the things you need to think about.
Dogs. It might seem a bit odd to you that this is the first point I’m choosing to make, but you need to think about dogs. Barn dogs are commonplace on horse farms. In fact, I visited a farm not long ago that had so many dogs running around that I almost didn’t notice when one jumped in my car and tried to go home with me. Unfortunately, many policies do not cover accidents related to dogs. While you might have liability insurance for bodily injuries caused by horses, dogs are usually not included. Even if your dog is friendly and unlikely to attack someone, if they cause a fall or a car accident, you might find yourself in hot water. In fact, I would wager that most farms with barn dogs are not covered. This is a major liability and something that farm owners don’t often think about. I love dogs and I am happy to have them around, but it is worth checking with your insurance provider to make sure you are covered should the worst occur.
Horses. Some Farm Owner’s Insurance companies will cover your horses, but it may be best to insure your horse separately with an equine insurance company. Many boarders might assume their horses are covered in the event of a tornado or a fire, but it is likely that only the buildings (and possibly the owner’s horses) are covered by the Farm Owner’s Insurance. Often, the livestock and equipment (more on that later) are not covered by the main policy on the farm. An equine insurance company will also have more specific coverage for each horse.
The most common policy is Mortality Insurance. In the event of your horse’s death, you will receive the full amount of their value. Major Medical Insurance can also be a lifesaver (literally). In the event your horse requires something like a colic surgery, you will be covered up to a certain amount ($10,000 is pretty standard). You will be required to have your vet fill out an annual health certificate and if your horse has increased in value, you will need to provide examples of comparable horses on the market. Loss Of Use Insurance is another popular policy. However, it is not as straightforward. If your horse can no longer be ridden due to an injury or a disease, you can file for Loss Of Use. Keep in mind that this policy is expensive and you will not recover the full value of your horse. You will be given the option to take something like 50% of the horse’s value and keep the horse or you may be able to get a larger sum, but the company will take ownership of the horse. The latter is an uncommon occurrence, but it is meant to prevent fraud.
Care, Custody, And Control (CCC). Barn owners should have Care, Custody, And Control Insurance. General Liability coverage pertains to the horses you own, but if you train, breed, or board horses that do not belong to you, this policy will protect you should something happen to one of those horses or if a third party suffers bodily injury or property damage due to a non-owned horse. For example, if a boarded horse gets loose and runs into the road causing an accident, a barn owner without CCC would not be covered for the damage to the horse, the cars, or the drivers.
Homeowner’s Vs. Farm Owner’s Insurance. Homeowner’s Insurance does not cover your outbuildings or your business pursuits. However, you may be able to get Farm Owner’s Insurance that covers both your house and your outbuildings and since no two farms are alike, your insurance agent will need to tailor the policy to your needs. Many farm owners have separate policies for their house and their barn and it is worth noting that coverage for outbuildings doesn’t often cover the items inside the buildings. This is why you should make sure your horses are covered, but what about your saddles? As it happens, much of your equipment can be covered by your Homeowner’s Insurance. This is helpful for boarders to know because if the barn where you board your horse is destroyed along with your tack, you can claim your saddle and other items on your own Homeowner’s Insurance.
Farm Owner’s Insurance can be quite broad. The two main policies are Dwelling Insurance (for your home) and Farm Liability (for injuries or property damage). You may also have the option of covering your barns, livestock, crops, equipment, vehicles, employees, and the business itself. Whew—insurance can be complicated.
Equine Personal Liability. Equine Personal Liability Insurance covers any bodily injury or property damage caused by a horse you own. This does not cover your business, but it is a good policy for boarders to have. If the barn owner has CCC, they are not liable for the damage your horse causes, but you are.
I often feel a little glum when I think about the topic of insurance. So many things can go wrong. As I said before, horses are unpredictable and while I sincerely hope you never have to draw on these policies, it is comforting to know you are covered. Regardless of what policies you choose, you should be sure to shop around and find an insurance agent you trust.