Let your guests have fun at your ranch – we’ll worry about insurance

For people who have never really spent time on a farm, a guest and dude ranch is a chance to try out a new adventure on vacation. It’s almost an overnight camp for adults! And just like an overnight camp, you have overnight guests who stay on the premises in your accommodations and take part in activities.

In Ontario, these “western-style” activities often include high risk activities that can include the whole family. And sometimes these activities take your guests off of your property onto someone else’s property that you have an agreement with. (Make sure any partners you have also carry the appropriate liability insurance!)

What you’ll discover in this report:

  • The risk level of owning a guest and dude ranch
  • Common claims that people make against guest and dude ranches
  • How you can plan ahead
  • The coverage offered by a Commercial General Liability Policy
  • Other types of insurance you should consider

What’s the risk level of running a guest and dude ranch?

It’s high. You have overnight guests of all ages with supervised and unsupervised activities. With most of the activities occurring outdoors and often in remote places, you’re at a high risk that an incident could happen. Horse-human interactions always carry a risk, but often there are other high-risk activities like archery or swimming as well.

What are the most common claim incidents?

  • While participating in any of the activities at your guest and dude ranch, a guest gets hurt.
  • A medical crisis occurs because injured guests require more than what your resident medical staff can provide.
  • Guests stop for a pre-made meal on trail rides and become ill because the food wasn’t kept at a safe temperature.

How can I plan ahead?

We know that you care about the horses and the people that come to your ranch. There are steps to take to make sure that an accident never happens in the first place.

1. Enforce barn rules.
Look around and develop rules for your environment for both horses and people. Also write procedures. Then train every staff member to make sure they understand your rules and procedures.

2. Plan for emergencies.
Emergencies happen, but the better prepared you are, the better chance you have of providing the proper care to all the horses. If you’re prepared you can minimize the severity of any accident.

3. Develop semi-annual inspections of your property.
By inspecting your premises for potential hazards, you can take care of them before an incident occurs.

4. Prepare a written waiver and review Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act.
Anyone who participates in any horse activities on your premises needs to complete and sign the waiver. Make sure that you keep the signed forms on file and safely stored. The Occupiers’ Liability Act states that the stable owner/operator owes a duty of care to the people who enter their premises. This assures that any property they bring on your premises with them is also reasonably safe. You are free to restrict, modify or exclude this duty of care through your written waiver.

5. Follow Ontario’s Horse Riding Safety Act.
This legislation states that it’s mandatory that anyone under the age of 18 years of age must wear a helmet that meets ASTM, BSI or European Safety Standards and hard-soled footwear with a heel of no less than 1.5 cm.

6. Purchase an Equine Liability Insurance Policy.
Protect you and your business with an insurance company that knows horses and your business. You want to make sure that any legal feels are covered, claim costs and settlements to ensure that in the case of an accident, your business doesn’t suffer a financial loss.

What’s included in the Commercial General Liability Policy?

The policy gives you maximum limits or amounts of liability insurance for:

  • Medical expenses:  You can be sure a claimant’s low cost medical expenses are covered without a lot of questions about liability or responsibility.
  • Legal defense costs: You can save your business the financial burden of court costs if you’re sued, whether the case has merit or not.
  • Claims or settlement costs: Without this policy you could be held responsible for bodily injury and property damage claims.

Are there other coverages I should consider?

  • Products & Completed Operations: If you sell souvenir items like clothing or jewelry you may want to consider this liability coverage.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: If you or one of your employees provides any type of transportation services, you’ll need Commercial Auto Insurance.
  • Liquor Liability: Talk to your insurance broker about the necessary insurance if you serve alcohol on the premises.
  • Worker’s Comp: Protect your employees by making sure that any medical expenses are covered if they’re injured on the job.

People have a fascination with the life of cowboys and for you, it’s a profitable business. Make sure you protect your assets with the right insurance. At Henry Equestrian Insurance Brokers Ltd., we’re happy to review the insurance you have at no cost to you. We’ll also work on getting you a no-obligation quote, so click now on Get a Free Quote.