A new insurance policy offering personal injury cover for riding centres to insure their customers has been given a cautious welcome by the industry.

KBIS British Equestrian Insurance’s new riding school personal accident policy will provide personal accident cover for all customers participating in equestrian activities at the centre.

It offers benefits for serious injury and permanent total disability, but also cover for less serious injuries.

Riding schools are already required by law to hold public liability cover, but insurance companies will only pay out for injuries if negligence is proven.

The personal accident cover will pay out whether liability is proven or not.

A KBIS spokesman said: “The policy came about when a long-standing customer, Patricia Carter-Pennington, who runs Burley-Villa School of Riding in the New Forest, approached us looking for cover. We didn’t have a policy for the cover she was looking for, so our liability department developed the personal accident policy.”

Policies start from £500 per year.

While no incident sparked Mrs Carter-Pennington’s request, she said: “Riding is a risk sport and there is an increasingly litigious culture. We needed something in place for genuine accidents when it is not the school’s fault.”

Jean Clark, of Eaglesfield Equestrian Events, said the policy was “a good idea”, but added: “It’s an extra burden on an overstretched purse.”

A spokesman for the BHS cautioned: “We would advise all proprietors to read the conditions carefully.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (21 October ’10)