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Liability Insurance Coverage – More Affordable Than You Think

Question: Should a riding instructor with a small clientele forego purchasing a policy of liability insurance merely because her business is small?

Answer: Definitely not. Even the smallest business operator is at risk of litigation if a student is injured. Never assume that your state's equine activity liability act (if you're in one of the 46 states with such a law) will protect you from everything, and never assume that people who sign liability releases won’t sue.

Small lesson program operators have every incentive to protect themselves, and liability insurance is especially important. Small lesson program operators, however (such as those who only teach on weekends), might believe the cost of coverage is out of their budget. Not necessarily. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Shop around for reasonable rates, but make sure that the lower rate reflects the same coverage as the higher rates and that the insurer you select is highly rated. Compare deductibles, policy limits, and exclusions.
  • Be honest at all times in your applications. Don’t under-represent the scope of your activities with the hope that it might trim your premium cost. Chances are that you'll only create trouble with your insurer.
  • Consider breaking down the premium cost into manageable parts and planning ways to recoup it. A $1,200 annual premium for liability insurance is $100 per month, and only about $25 a week. Instructors who give only 5 lessons a week can simply raise their rates an extra $5 to afford the coverage.
  • Remember that your business insurance is not the same as your homeowner's insurance. Just because you have a policy of homeowner' insurance in place does not mean you are covered for your business activities.

Don’t expect your state law to provide a "small business operator" exception to any lawsuit you receive. The risk of liability is always present. Emphasize safety and stay protected.

Direct your questions regarding liability insurance to a knowledgeable insurance agent or lawyer.

Categories: Insurance, Liability

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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 www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

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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.

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has recieved 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. 

THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER

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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