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Teaching Riding Lessons and Insurance

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    Teaching Riding Lessons and Insurance

    I did some googling for threads on the forum and received some help through those, so thank you! However I still need some answers or ideas.

    I'm looking to teach riding lessons to one or two students a week on my own personal horses on my property (that I own). I have taught before for quite a few years and was certified through the CHA. I never carried insurance. Never even thought about it! But I taught at other facilities and was a hired contractor. I have no idea if I was covered or not.

    I've talked with a few insurance companies to get some quotes. However these are fairly pricey (lowest around 600/year to 1000/year) considering I'm only planning to teach one or two lessons a week. Add in there that I'm not sure how long it will take to get consistent students. This is more of a passion project, as I work full time already.

    Are there any other options I should look into? I'm in Northwest Georgia. Thanks!


    #2
    Since these lessons are on your farm on your horses, you might just add liability insurance to your barn or insurance coverage. The best thing would be to talk to you home/farm insurance agent to see what kind of coverage they can get for you. There might be a discount of sorts since it might be a bundled policy.

    It doesn't matter if it's just a 1 or 2 lessons all it takes is one bad fall, and sometimes those falls aren't the spectacular ones. Or an accident could happen off the saddle. A friend of mine got kicked square in the forehead. She was extremely lucky a fraction of an inch in any other direction could've been catastrophic. Best to be safe

    Comment


      #3
      All it takes is one mishap to lose everything you own. IMO insurance is worth it. If it isn't worth it to you, I would just forego giving the lessons and save yourself the headache. JMHO. Good luck OP.

      Comment


        #4
        In this sue happy world, teaching riding, always leaves the possibility of an accident. If you have horses, you probably have insurance covering their activities. If you don't you should. In that case check with your insurer.

        Some companies are very helpful others are truly clueless. But in any case teaching with no insurance is dangerous.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment


          #5
          One thing our insurance agent was clear about is that homeowner's insurance does not cover any kind of a commercial activity, and if we want to do any of that we'd need insurance that would cover it. So I stay away from any kind of boarding or lessons, because I wouldn't do enough of it to pay for the insurance to cover our liability, and our homeowner's doesn't.

          Comment


            #6
            It's crazy. I know several people who teach without insurance. For ex: a boarder at a barn I've taught at "fills in" if one of the instructors is sick/out of town. If that boarder isn't available, the owner may have a current working student (either high school or college age) substitute. They'll teach in exchange for discounted board or jump lessons for themselves. One time when I casually asked about the insurance issue, the boarder said "oh, I'm covered by the farm's insurance". Oh really?? You think that every time they ask a random person/teen to teach a lesson when a pro is away, that they quickly call their insurance co. and name that person to their policy? Or they have such a broad policy that anyone who teaches a lesson for the farm is automatically covered? Esp when the "trainer" is a 16 yr old teaching a bunch of 10 year olds??

            Yes, I carry my own insurance. And unless a farm told me and showed me their policy that supposedly covers me, I would not hang my personal assets on their hook!
            Savor those rides where you feel like a million bucks, because there will be those where you feel like a cheap date...

            Comment


              #7
              You can get a $1M liability policy through Markel for a tad north of $300/year. I've got my liability insurance through them and I think a pay around $350 for 12 months of coverage. If you end up teaching at other farms to students with their own horses, you can just add the farm to your policy for a whopping $25 (which you then get back after a year).
              Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Abbie.S View Post
                You can get a $1M liability policy through Markel for a tad north of $300/year. I've got my liability insurance through them and I think a pay around $350 for 12 months of coverage. If you end up teaching at other farms to students with their own horses, you can just add the farm to your policy for a whopping $25 (which you then get back after a year).
                I was going to recommend Markel. I have used them in the past and they are very easy to work with, and not astronomical in pricing.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Abbie.S View Post
                  You can get a $1M liability policy through Markel for a tad north of $300/year. I've got my liability insurance through them and I think a pay around $350 for 12 months of coverage. If you end up teaching at other farms to students with their own horses, you can just add the farm to your policy for a whopping $25 (which you then get back after a year).
                  I think it depends a LOT on which state you are in. My sister had very reasonable instructor's insurance for Virginia (similar to what you quoted). Then she relocated to NY for several months, and found that the cost for instructor's insurance for teaching in NY was MUCH more (like maybe 10x). So she just didn't teach for the months she was in NY.
                  Janet

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Janet View Post

                    I think it depends a LOT on which state you are in. My sister had very reasonable instructor's insurance for Virginia (similar to what you quoted). Then she relocated to NY for several months, and found that the cost for instructor's insurance for teaching in NY was MUCH more (like maybe 10x). So she just didn't teach for the months she was in NY.
                    I had this thought after I posted...but honestly I did not peg Georgia as a particularly expensive state to insure in. However, given what the OP has gotten quotes for, it may very well be. Probably a much larger horse population than where I am and I am sure there are people who live in the northern part of the U.S winter there.
                    Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This is more of a passion project, as I work full time already.
                      if it really is a passion do it for free then your riders are "guests" covered under your homeowners,

                      If any of kids are injured be assured their health insurance carrier will go after that policy for recovery. Please note most homeowner's policy have very limited medical coverage for guest's injury, usually only one or two thousand dollars

                      Sometimes it is just better to say No.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It's usually a good idea to understand that when premiums for insurance are high, that usually means the amount of risk / liability is high. So It should cause people to give serious thought to what risks they're taking on, but unfortunately a lot of them just try to circumvent having insurance. Good for you for staying committed to getting coverage.

                        Note that even if you don't have a claim, if your insurer finds out you're conducting commercial activity (unlikely, I know), they can cancel your policy, and other insurers will see that as a black mark. You may face much higher insurance rates the rest of your life, even if you don't continue to teach.

                        Like your prior teaching career, most of us have done dumb things without adequate insurance coverage, and came out just fine. But we're all grownups now and we know better. If you have real assets to lose, don't put them at risk.
                        Friendship, verbal agreements, free online liability release forms, etc aren't adequate protection from expensive claims.

                        You might want to look into a structure where you set up an LLC, operate your teaching from (and get insurance for) the LLC rather than you as an individual. The LLC could lease the horses and riding facilities from you. I'm not a lawyer and this idea should be vetted very carefully by your lawyer and tax advisors. But it may be a way to shield your real assets from clients who sue.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I teach off property in SC and pay $550 a year (barf). I only teach 4 lessons a week, all on one night at the same barn, two families total. The drainage at their farm is dismal so I rarely teach November - March. I absolutely love teaching but am considering giving it up. It's hard to justify the cost, unfortunately.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by clanter View Post

                            if it really is a passion do it for free then your riders are "guests" covered under your homeowners,

                            If any of kids are injured be assured their health insurance carrier will go after that policy for recovery. Please note most homeowner's policy have very limited medical coverage for guest's injury, usually only one or two thousand dollars

                            Sometimes it is just better to say No.
                            I thought the liability part of homeowner's was about guests getting hurt on your property, and medical expenses was a big part of what they would be going after? No?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by kande04 View Post

                              I thought the liability part of homeowner's was about guests getting hurt on your property, and medical expenses was a big part of what they would be going after? No?
                              yes.

                              but better be a guest rather than a paying student

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thank you all!

                                I will have to check with Markel, that is one I have not contacted.

                                It's frustrating that insurance is so high but I understand it's a dangerous sport. I'm very safety conscious and I will not teach without proper insurance coverage.

                                I do find it odd that the insurance applications all ask how often I teach and how much I'm currently making from teaching. I'm not teaching because I don't have insurance!

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  The insurance is not high if you get sued. You realize that you get a lawyer assigned to defend you immediately, no deductible. I don't know about where you live, but lawyers in this neck of the woods charge a hefty hourly rate. My insurance premium for my Commercial General Liability policy would cover maybe 2 hours of a lawyer's time.

                                  It is not odd that insurance carriers ask about prior teaching. If you are a newbie to teaching, then put in zero. You can ALWAYS add a statement that says you are new, expect to teach X number of lessons with X frequency at X rate. The underwriter needs to know what the risk would be. The more your teach, the greater the chance that there could be an accident. Think about driving a car -- the more you drive, the greater the chance you could be in an accident simply because you are out driving (not because of your driving necessarily.)

                                  If you can't afford the insurance, then please do not teach. You are operating as a business even if you only teach a few lessons. If you do not have proper coverage, than your assets are going to have to respond to any suit you incur. While I know the chances are very low, the legal defense costs can be significant even in a nuisance suit.
                                  Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
                                  http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by gahorseygal View Post
                                    Thank you all!

                                    I will have to check with Markel, that is one I have not contacted.

                                    It's frustrating that insurance is so high but I understand it's a dangerous sport. I'm very safety conscious and I will not teach without proper insurance coverage.

                                    I do find it odd that the insurance applications all ask how often I teach and how much I'm currently making from teaching. I'm not teaching because I don't have insurance!
                                    They do this, because if you ARE teaching without insurance, MOST companies will not cover you. Period. I know this because a friend went to get insurance after having been teaching for 2 + years (dumb, yes, and I definitely told her that on several occasions). She was declined on three applications because she was teaching without insurance presently. They consider that a risk factor from what she told me.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      It's hard to find public trail or beach rides these days. The insurance is really expensive and beach rides were the first to disappear.. The BO's insurance paid out a $15,000 settlement to a rider who was on a horse at the walk when a piece of leather tack broke. The rider fell, not hard, and got up with no injuries. She was wearing a helmet. The barn was liable because it was broken tack. Tack is something humans do, not the horse, so you are liable. The other thing is over-facing. The horse doesn't pick the rider. If I tell you I've been riding for 10 years what was I doing? Lessons? Riding grandpa's horse once in a while when I was 12? Show jumping? Am I capable of riding Lightning? Appropriate questions may mean I should be on Pokey.
                                      "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                                        The more your teach, the greater the chance that there could be an accident. Think about driving a car -- the more you drive, the greater the chance you could be in an accident simply because you are out driving (not because of your driving necessarily.).
                                        Don't know about cost relative to number of lessons, but here in MA the low mileage discount for auto insurance is for less than 6000 miles/year, and is a whopping 5% of the premium. So even if I only drove 1000 miles/year, I'd still only get 5% off.

                                        Comment

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