Review Your Liability Insurance on Insurance Awareness Day

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Foster Swift Collins & Smith

June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day. Certainly, people in the equine industry may be aware that they have liability insurance, but they sometimes forget to assess whether they have the right insurance. National Insurance Awareness Day offers an annual reminder to review, understand, and update your insurance policies.

You may be surprised to learn that your liability insurance needs updating. For example:

Worker’s compensation insurance – Equine businesses often assume that their workers are “independent contractors,” not employees, when these workers are, in the eyes of the law, employees. The typical commercial liability insurance policy has exclusions that prevent coverage for claims from “employees” or workers. Could the boarder who trades stall cleaning for reduced board qualify as an “employee”? Time to evaluate whether worker’s compensation insurance is appropriate.

Business insurance for home-based equine businesses – Equine businesses such as trainers, instructors, and boarding stables sometimes operate out of their own homes or farms, without realizing that they very likely need business liability insurance, not just homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s policies typically have “business pursuits exclusions” that prevent coverage for business-related risks, even risks of small businesses.

Coverage for claims involving injuries to boarded horses – Horse boarding and training stables might be uninsured against the risk of a horse in their care becoming injured (or worse) and the owner claiming that the stable was negligent. The problem is, liability insurance policies typically exclude coverage for claims involving damage to or loss of horses belonging to others in the stable’s care, custody, or control. However, insurance companies offer an endorsement commonly known as “care, custody, or control” insurance, which is designed to provide a legal defense and/or pay covered claims. To protect yourself, this endorsement may be worth adding.

Excess or umbrella coverage – Horse owners and businesses can assess their need for excess liability insurance or umbrella insurance coverage.

Evaluating insurance coverage and avoiding coverage disputes makes good business sense on National Insurance Awareness Day – and every day. Now is a good time to communicate with your insurance agent to assess and update your coverages. If disputes should occur regarding insurance, seek knowledgeable legal counsel.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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