Boarding Facility Liability and Contracts

When operating a boarding facility, you must obtain adequate insurance protection. Three types of policies are recommended:

  • fire and theft
  • commercial liability
  • care, custody, and control

A commercial liability policy covers all horse-related activities, including lessons, horse shows, clinics, and meetings, and any actions resulting in property damage or personal injury to a third person. A care, custody, and control policy covers death or injury to a horse due to your negligence. It is a good management practice is to require clients to have adequate insurance coverage for their horses.

Liability rates generally are based on the type of activities occurring on the farm. When applying for insurance, the applicant completes a questionnaire concerning the farm’s facilities, the experience of the management staff, and the types of activities that take place on the farm. It is important to notify the insurance carrier of any change in farm activities and operations. Some states have laws concerning the civil liability of horse boarding operations. These laws limit the liability of the boarding operation for injuries to horses or persons visiting the operation. In any case, insurance is available to protect the owner regarding these same issues. Consult your insurance agent and a lawyer to determine the level of coverage appropriate for your operation.

Liability rates generally are based on the type of activities occurring on the farm. When applying for insurance, the applicant completes a questionnaire concerning the farm’s facilities, the experience of the management staff, and the types of activities that take place on the farm. It is important to notify the insurance carrier of any change in farm activities and operations. Some states have laws concerning the civil liability of horse boarding operations. These laws limit the liability of the boarding operation for injuries to horses or persons visiting the operation. In any case, insurance is available to protect the owner regarding these same issues. Consult your insurance agent and a lawyer to determine the level of coverage appropriate for your operation. More information on the types of insurance coverage you might want to consider for your operation can be found in Agricultural Business Insurance . Additional discussion of on-farm liability can be found in Understanding Agricultural Liability .

A contract outlining all specifications and expectations of both parties is recommended. This contract should specify payment options, length of stay for the horse, type of boarding facility, and the management requirements of each horse boarded at the facility. Any other unusual requirements, such as special feeds, veterinary needs, or special care by either party, should be included in the contract. Another consideration to include in the contract is the issue of decision making in the absence of the owner. If the horse becomes ill and the owner is not available, a dollar limit for care should be specified as guidance to the boarding operation owner when authorizing treatment. An attorney should be consulted before signing any contract.

Courtesy of PennState Extension