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Personal Horse Liability Policies: Let's chat

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  • Personal Horse Liability Policies: Let's chat

    Short version: If you have a private personal horse liability policy, please comment on your policy and how you chose your coverage limits. OR if you have ever made a claim on your homeowner's insurance because of your horse, I'd be curious to hear that too.

    Long version:
    I am spending the morning on the phone with my equine insurance agent and my homeowner's insurance agent. There are some new non-horsey boarders at whose pony is getting turned out with mine and they freak me out BIGTIME in terms of liability. Getting my horse moved to another turnout area is not an option--it's either "cover your butt with liability insurance and hope for the best" or "move to another barn."

    My equine insurance agent advised me to add up all of my assets and consider the potential legal costs, then choose a limit that is comfortably above that. The policy we agreed might be best is only $150/year, but I could get double the coverage for $235/year. I am questioning whether it's worth having the double coverage...any insurance agents care to comment? In terms of assets I am WAY under the coveragte limit for the cheaper policy, like all of my assets and savings = less than half of the coverage limit ($500K CSL/Occurrence and $1 million General Aggregate).

    I am also talking to my homeowner's agent, who is calling the national office to clarify how and when I can claim horse liability on my homeowner's policy. She is 95% sure that the pet clause in the homeowner's policy follows you and your pet wherever you go, so a horse kicking someone at the boarding barn would generate the same sort of claim as a dog biting someone at the dog park. It sounds good on paper but....

    Comments? Stories? Snarky replies about how I have not considered all of my options and/or should talk to the BO about this, which I have already done about half a dozen times?
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/
  • Original Poster

    Shamelessly bumping for the afternoon crowd
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


    • #3
      Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
      I am also talking to my homeowner's agent, who is calling the national office to clarify how and when I can claim horse liability on my homeowner's policy. She is 95% sure that the pet clause in the homeowner's policy follows you and your pet wherever you go, so a horse kicking someone at the boarding barn would generate the same sort of claim as a dog biting someone at the dog park. It sounds good on paper but....
      This is the same as what our homeowner's insurance agent tells us, but my SO and I can't help but think that if something really did happen, they'd figure out a way to get out of paying. So I also carry a private horse owner's liability policy through the folks that do my equine mortality/medical insurance. It is $330/year to cover 6 equines and the limits are $1 million per claim, $2 million aggregate. Right now, 4 of the equines (one is a mini mule but they count her!) are boarded out and 2 are at home. I have not had a claim, so no experience there to report - fortunately!


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
        This is the same as what our homeowner's insurance agent tells us, but my SO and I can't help but think that if something really did happen, they'd figure out a way to get out of paying.
        YEP that's my concern too. So I'm going to go with the Private Owner Liability Policy through my equine insurance agent. Props as usual to Blue Bridle Insurance Agency, who were great as always. Every time I call them they know exactly what they're talking about and talk me down from the ledge--I always want to buy more coverage than I need and they always patiently explain why it might be too much. Most agents would just let you buy the expensive policy.

        Props also to my State Farm agent who made a bunch of calls for me this morning. I have no reason to think she's lying that a horse-related claim would be covered under my homeowner's, but I fear the hordes of lawyers employed by insurance companies to squirrel out of paying a claim. With horses, it's not nearly as straightforward as "one car hits another car."
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


        • #5
          I know nothing about a private personal horse liability policy but I'm pretty well versed on homeowners policies (I handle insurance claims) - as long as your horse is for personal use (ie not professional purposes) then any property damage ("PD") or bodily injury ("BI") caused by the horse (that you can be held liable for) is covered under your homeowners policy. No different than PD or BI caused by a dog, cat or other domestic animal you own.

          ***I should clarify that I'm very familiar with what's called "standard ISO policies" that are used by most carriers - if State Farm writes their own policy then I can't comment on that.**

          Example - we own two horses and we ride them recreationally. If an accident occurred where one of my horses caused PD or BI to another, and the other person could prove me/my horse was negligent, then my homeowners policy would cover the loss (and my umbrella policy would then kick in - no pun intended - if the liability limits on my homeowners policy were exhausted).

          Homeowners policies exclude losses involving the insured's profession which is why it is important to clarify in my case that I ride recreationally (and, unfortunately, not very well).

          So, JN4Jenny, your agent is right, a liability claim arising from your horse kicking someone is handled the same way as a claim arising from your dog biting somebody (well, obviously they are different situations but coverage would apply the same). Your HO policy would provide coverage.

          Most of our customers are non-horsey people, but I did handle a claim way back when where our insured leased their horse to a 20 something woman, who, while on a ride fell off and was paralyzed (she did not duck when the horse went under a branch). I was transferred to a different office mid way through the claim, so I don't know how it ended up (did she establish our insured's negligence caused the accident?) but our insureds were covered under their HO policy.

          We have $300K liability under my HO policy and carry a $1 million umbrella, so we have coverage, in the event of someone making a liability claim against us for something that happens b/c of our horses, $1.3 million.

          Hope that helps.

          If you don't have one already, I would suggest you seriously consider an umbrella policy, ours costs about $150 a year and we hope we never need it, but its good to know its there in case we do.