Ask H&H: employer’s liability insurance

  • Q: I have an eight-year-old horse who, because of illness, has done very little, but is now physically well. I am too heavy to ride him, but would like to ask a local girl, who is at an equine college, to ride him after he has been rebacked. However, I have discovered that my BHS Gold membership insurance is void if I pay her, which of course I have to do, although I am not employing her, just asking for help.

    The horse cannot be insured health-wise because of his previous illness, but I need to be sure I am covered for every eventuality, for example, rider injury, third-party injury, damage to property etc. All of the insurance companies I have spoken to say I must pay over £900 for employer’s liability insurance. The rider has her own insurance policy, which she says covers her for everything, but I fear this will be void because I am paying her. Please advise.
    GD, Surrey

    THIS is certainly a tricky situation, and one potentially faced by many horse owners. We asked Jeremy Lawton of Shearwater Insurance Services for his take on the situation.

    “I would advise you to look at a copy of any insurance policy that this girl has, and satisfy yourself that she is fully covered for all eventualities,” he says.

    “If she has a business set up whereby she undertakes freelance work riding several people’s horses, it may be that she has cover in place.

    “However, strictly speaking, if you pay her to ride your horse, you are employing her and would require employer’s liability cover, in case she were to make a claim against you if she was injured while riding your horse.

    “If you keep your horse at home, and there are only your own horses there (ie there is no commercial aspect to your stables), it is possible that your home insurance will have employer’s liability cover for domestic employees, which could cover this girl should you pay her to ride your horse. However, you would need to discuss this with your insurers to see if this is in place.”


    Shearwater Insurance Services Tel: 08700 767666 www.shearwater-insurance.co.uk

    This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (20 March, ’08)

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