Insure Your Horse Photo Prop Business for Liability

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Are you a photographer or horse handler who charges a fee for providing a photo set backdrop, costuming, and a docile horse or pony for customer for photo shoots? The subjects may sit on or stand beside the animal. If so, you have a unique business venture that is sometimes not easy to insure for liability by many insurance companies. Often the photo concession locations are at fairs, corporate events, pony party and pony ride events, at resorts, rodeos, horse shows, and parks. This activity is often incidental to a larger horse business and can be insured on an annual basis. The risk or exposure spectrum is quite broad for this service, though the type just described is quite moderate.

Higher exposure photography situations may or may not be insurable, and must be reviewed on a case by case basis. Others types may be animal handling services for movies, photo and video shoots to the advertising and movie industries. These services are usually insured by the job on a short-term basis, because each contract for this work is unique as are the risks at the locations. Use of firearms on the set, stunts, inexperienced models and actors riding and handling horses, use of wild animals on set, and other high risk or high stress circumstances could make the exposure uninsurable under our program.

As a photo prop services provider, you worry that you may be sued or otherwise have a claim made against you for bodily injury or property damage by a customer, guest or someone else who comes in contact with you or the property that is part of your commercial horse operation. If sued, you will need to hire a lawyer to defend you and you wonder how you would go about doing this. If found negligent or responsible, you would likely have to pay for either a court-ordered or agreed-upon settlement to the injured party. Fortunately, much concern can be relieved when you buy a Commercial General Liability Policy [GL] to insure your activities.

Commercial General Liability Insurance protects you from financial loss should a customer, visitor, or a trespasser become injured [Bodily Injury] or their property is damaged [Property Damage] in relation to your operations, and they make a claim or file a law suit against you for damages.

How Risky Are Equine Photo Prop Services? Moderate.

The risks of this activity depend upon the control and supervision on location, its containment and barriers to keep the general public away from the horse, and the good nature and even the height of the horse used. Horse activities are reasonably safe compared to many other activities people participate in. Yet, horse-human activities do carry inherent risks. Accidents do happen when people at different stages of capability attempt to touch, handle, train, ride, drive and control large animals that are unpredictable even when well trained. And some horse-human accidents are serious. Even with the best of intentions and management practices anyone can have a claim made against them and be sued.


No one wants someone to be injured on or in relation to their property or business operations. No one plans to have an accident that results in a liability claim they are responsible for. Yet, you still must plan against and for an accident, and there is a five-pronged strategy you should follow:

  • Accident Avoidance is the first strategy. This is best accomplished by implementing a thoughtful operational risk reduction plan that provides a reasonably safe physical environment and procedures for horses and people. All staff members should be trained in those practices. [NAHA Risk Reduction Programs can assist you.]
  • Emergency Procedure Planning is the second strategy, and it can be important to minimize the severity of an accident and provide proper care at the time.
  • The third strategy is to use well-worded Warning and Release of Liability Agreements. [NAHA can provide contract models for your use.] Have them completed and signed completely and correctly by all participants. Keep the signed forms on file and safely stored for several years as suggested by an attorney in your state.
  • The fourth strategy is to carefully review and comply with your state’s Equine Activities Immunities Law, if your state has one. All states have some form of the law except California, New York, Maryland, and Nevada. Some require special wording in warning and release agreements, and some require posting of specific warning signs on your property.
  • Purchase an Equine Liability Insurance Policy that adequately covers and lists your specific activities in the policy. The policy should be placed with an A rated domestic insurance company having a good reputation for service, knowledge of equine risk, and for handling equine liability claims. Be wary of low pricing, as generally a low price means something important is missing in the policy or the Insurer may not understand how to price equine exposure. This important fifth strategy can protect you and your business from financial loss should an accident happen. It helps fulfill the sense of responsibility you have about serving the public, but it provides more than peace of mind. In event of a covered claim, the Insurer provides legal defense and pays for defense costs. It pays for claims costs and settlements made against you up to the limits of your policy. Just as important is the fact that knowledgeable professionals will handle and manage the details of your claim in a way that looks after your claim and litigation interests, so that you can continue functioning with the least amount of “hassle.”

Equine Activities Immunities Laws have been passed in 46 states. While these laws may help you avoid liability, they will not usually thwart a determined injured party from pursuing a claim or law suit. This is because to receive immunity under the law, the activity sponsor must have performed in a specific way according to what the law requires. And often immunity is determined through some type of expensive legal proceeding that can result in a large, often uncontrolled expense to an uninsured stable owner. You still need to be properly insured for liability.

Related Coverages To Consider: If you rent the property your business occupies, we can also insure your tack, equipment, and machinery for loss or damage. As a stable property renter, you may not have access to property insurance for tack, equipment and machinery you use in your business. Ark Agency can insure these items by adding a Property Coverage Endorsement to the General Liability Policy. Additional premium is charged for this endorsement and the items and values must be declared in the application process.

General Liability Coverage & Limits

The General Liability Policy provides specified maximum limits or amounts of liability insurance for:

  • Medical Expense: Pays for a claimant’s low cost medical expense with few questions asked about your liability or responsibility in the matter. Negligence need not be a factor to “trigger” payment.
  • Legal Defense Costs: Today court costs and hiring of a lawyer can quickly mount to $50,000 or more, an expense you do not want to come out of your pocket if you are sued and have to hire a lawyer. If sued in relation to the insured activity, the policy provides legal defense whether the case has merit or not.
  • Claim / Settlement Costs: Pays bodily injury and property damage claims for which you are held responsible.

Four claim incident examples for horse photo prop concessions:

  • A customer becomes scared while on a photo prop horse and jump off and become injured.
  • A bystander child or adult approaches the horse without supervision and the horse bites, nudges, or kicks at them.
  • A professional model or actor is injured when handling a horse and cannot perform their professional duties during recovery from the injury.
  • A horse gets loose and causes property damage to nearby vehicles, lawns or gardens.


Your insurance needs are unique, therefore we believe in person to person service. Call or e-mail an Ark Agency Representative for an estimated premium, policy and company details, and qualification requirements. We work with several insurance companies and rates and coverage conditions vary. We will help you determine which application to use and advise on how to put insurance in force.

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Ark Agency Animal Insurance Services shared Jack Bell Photography's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

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CDL's, CMV's, ELD's and other confusing acronyms... Share with your horse friends! Our intent is to 1) define some of the acronyms and 2) explain when they may apply to you. This is in no way all encompassing of the mandate so be sure to review the linked documents below. Helpful brochure from American Horse Council: Unabridged version of the mandate:

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