Are You a Boarder at a Barn? Here are Some Things to Consider

Monday, October 30, 2017
Posted by Geri Hollander


In our last Markel Monday, we discussed liability insurance and things to consider if you are a facilities manager or owner. In this second instalment, we will address considerations for Boarders.

Do you have insurance on your horse?
What would it cost you to replace your horse if something happens to him or her? Are you financially able to buy another one? What if your horse is sick or injured? Do you have the means to pay the vet bills that might build up? If you board your horse, that doesn’t mean the barn owner/manager is responsible for what may happen to him/her. Consider buying an insurance policy that covers your for mortality and/or medical and surgical coverage. Depending on the age and value of your horse, you may be able to obtain a policy for a reasonable premium. Understand that pre-existing conditions may be excluded. Horses over a certain age may not be insurable. Discuss your needs with an insurance agent and see what may work for you.

Do you have a liability policy covering your horse?
This type of policy protects you for bodily injury or property damage caused by your horse. If you let others ride your horse (or perhaps half-lease your horse) this could protect you if someone is injured while riding him/her. If your horse gets loose and runs into someone’s parked vehicle, this policy could respond. The cost is minimal to add this protection.

Does the facility where you board have insurance?
If your horse is injured while in their care, custody and control due to their negligence, are you protected?

Do you have insurance coverage for your tack?
Most homeowners policies cover your personal property when it is away from your primary residence, but you need to review your policy and make sure. Tack is very expensive and should be covered for multiple perils (fire, theft, vandalism, etc.). Facilities owners may or may not have insurance to cover the personal property of boarders.

Do you lease or half-lease your horse?
It is important to have a written agreement in place, spelling out exactly what the terms of the lease are: riding time, vet bills, shoeing, insurance, etc. If you are leasing to a minor child (under 18), make sure the leasing contract is with the parents, as minors cannot legally execute a contract.

Do you have a trailer?
Talk with your insurance agent to make sure your trailer is covered for collision, liability, comprehensive coverage or whatever you think you need. This is usually part of your auto policy. Trailer safety is important, so make sure you are keeping up with maintenance. If you trailer horses you don’t own, consider having the horse owner execute a waiver/hold harmless agreement in the event their horse is injured while you are trailering him. Whether you are negligent or not, anyone can make a claim against you or file a lawsuit. Protect yourself.

It is worth the time and effort to have a discussion with your insurance agent to be certain you are fully protected. Horses Daily's Mary Phelps is a Markel Equine, Farm and Liability Specialist. Working with her CSR Tracey Scharf they are available to help guide you through this process. Contacts -,, 1-800-572-3286. Many of the needed forms and information can be found on our website

Geri Hollander is a Claims Manager with Markel in the Primary Casualty Division. She has been with Markel for 24 years and in the claims industry for 44 years. Geri has managed claims in many lines but focused on the Property, Liability and Equine lines of business. She is a horse owner and a dressage rider.