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Common Myths Regarding Equine Insurance - Part 1 of 3

When it comes to equine-related insurance, myths and misconceptions have plagued the horse industry for years.  People fail to read their policies and instead rely on myths, making costly mistakes.  Coverage may be denied because they failed to comply with an important policy condition.  Or, in some cases, people learn that the policy they bought offers no coverage for the problem at hand.

This series will explore 15 of the most common myths surrounding equine-related insurance.  Here are the first 5:

1) “I No Longer Need Liability Insurance Since My State Has Passed an Equine Activity Liability Law.”

As of January 2012, 46 states (all but California, New York, Maryland, and Nevada) have passed laws designed to, in some way, limit or control liabilities in horse activities.  All differ.  None ends liability altogether, and not every incident triggers an equine activity liability law.  The need for insurance remains.

2) “I Don't Need Insurance Because I Make Everyone Sign a Waiver of Liability.”

People who sign these documents sometimes sue.  The success or failure of their lawsuits depends on:

  • whether the applicable state’s law enforces waivers/releases;
  • whether the document was properly drafted; and
  • whether the document was properly signed.

3) “My Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Covers All Liabilities Arising From My Horse-Related Business Activities.”

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies are not business insurance.  These policies almost always exclude coverage if someone is injured in connection with a “business pursuit.”  Equine activities, such as lessons, boarding, or training, could qualify.  By comparison, a commercial general liability insurance is designed to cover business risks.

4) “My Umbrella Policy Covers My Horse-Related Business Activities.”

If your existing insurance policy does not cover “business pursuits,” your umbrella policy might not, either.  Umbrella policies typically increase your policy limits on some or all of your existing insurance.  If you believe that your policy offers coverage for risks beyond your homeowner's insurance, confirm this in writing with your agent or insurance company.

5) “My Horse Got Sick and Had to Be Put Down.  Now I Can Call the Mortality Insurance Company.”

Most mortality insurance policies require “immediate” or “prompt” notice of an insured horse’s injury, lameness, or illness.  Those who fail to comply with these notice requirements risk losing coverage.  Because notice requirements can vary from company to company, read your policy carefully.


Don’t fall prey to myths.  Make sure you are protected.

Categories: Insurance, Liability

Photo of Julie I. Fershtman

is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit and, and

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Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

Julie Fershtman’s Recent and Upcoming Equine Law Speaking Engagements Include:

National Conference on Equine Law in Louisville, Kentucky on April 29, 2020. Topic will be on Waivers/Releases of Liability Involving Minor Participants. 

U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 2019. Topic will be on Equine Liability. 

IRMI Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”) in Sacramento, CA (April 2019), and Richmond, VA (June 2019) and in Des Moines, IA (September 2019), on topics of “Equine Activity Liability Acts” and “Equine Mortality Insurance Disputes.”

National Conference on Equine Law in May 2019 in Lexington, KY, on the topic of “Equine Activity Liability Act Updates” and liabilities involving hosting of equine clinics. 

Agricultural Claims Conference in Kansas City, MO, in March 2019 on topics of “Loose Livestock Liabilities.”

2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on “Equine Mortality Coverage and Disputes.”

November 2018, American Horse Council webinar on “Equine Liability.”

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

What our Equine Law Services can Provide

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 


Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.

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