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Commercial General Liability Horse Insurance: Who Needs It and Why?

We asked, and US Equestrian sponsor Markel Insurance answered

by Markel Insurance | Jul 13, 2020, 3:00 PM

If you run a business involving horses, whether it is training and boarding, offering riding lessons, or performing

Photo: Pretty Pixels Photography

farrier work, you need commercial equine liability insurance as part of your insurance risk-management plan. Sometimes referred to as general liability or just liability, it is protection that covers you and/or your business in the event there is personal injury, bodily injury, or property damage to others by you, your horse, or the premises for your operations. Having liability insurance in place, backed by a commercial insurance carrier that understands the equine business, will help you be protected in the event of a loss.

Why do I need commercial equine liability coverage?

Horses are large animals, and due to their size, natural instincts, and the attraction qualities that draw people in, horses can create an opportunity for injury. There are many risk management tools that can be used to reduce your loss exposures. Having adequate rules and waivers and reviewing your state’s equine liability statue will help in preventing losses. However, accidents happen. Even if you are not found to be negligent in any way and you have no liability for the loss, you will still need the defense cost to pay an attorney to present your case. General liability, or commercial equine liability insurance, offers payment of defense costs when potentially covered allegations are made.

Should you have insurance coverage if a horse you do not own is in your care?

If you work with horses you do not own, you should have care, custody, and control coverage.

The intent of care, custody, and control insurance is to provide coverage for individuals who board, train, breed, or are legally responsible for horses they do not own. You have a responsibility to provide adequate care to these horses, including a safe stable environment, feeding practice, and riding facility, and even having proper safety guidelines and emergency procedures. Should the unthinkable occur, this coverage will pay on your behalf for the amount you are legally obligated to others for death, injury, or theft of non-owned horses in your care, custody, or control. 

Coverage for Care, Custody, or Control (CCC) is based on a value per horse. To make sure you have sufficient limits to cover the value of the horses you board, it is a good idea to have a statement of value on file with the boarding or training contract.

Many facilities include tack storage for their boarders.  A CCC policy can typically include some limited non-owned tack coverage.

Should boarders be required to carry their own insurance?

Ideally, boarders would have their own horses covered for any urgent need for care, including horse mortality, major medical, surgical, and private horse owner liability insurance.

What about boarding contracts and waivers?

Having legal documents such as a boarding contract and waiver is a good business practice. Due to the varying nature of equine operations, and dependent on the judicial climate and equine state statutes, it is always advised you seek legal counsel to develop or review your business exposures and form language.

When conducting a business involving horses, also consider …

There are many different types of equine operations, each as unique as the many horse breeds and disciplines. It is in your best interest to select a licensed insurance agent to assist in securing the appropriate insurance coverage for your equine operation. They can assist with additional insurance coverages to protect you and your business, such as:

  • your facility and adequate property limits
  • how to handle horse leases and haul-ins
  • shows and events hosted by you or at your facility
  • how to cover additional insureds and outside trainers/instructors/clinicians

*Please note that the information provided is intended for general informational purposes only. Markel insurance through Markel Specialty has over 50 years of expertise insuring horses and horse businesses, providing coverage through one or more Markel Corporation affiliated insurance companies. We believe in choices and seek to differentiate ourselves from competitors with our knowledge, service, continuity and other value-based considerations. The Markel Style, coupled with the long-term relationships and commitments to the horse industry, allows us to remain close to the customer and fulfill specialized personal and commercial insurance needs. We have a network of 30 exclusive horse insurance agents with a lifetime of horse experience in specific breeds and/or disciplines backed by a team of Markel Specialty associates solely focused on horse and farm. For more information about us, visit or facebook/MarkelHorse or call  888-712-7330.

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