Working as a farrier entails a good amount of risk, the most common being injured while working, injuring a client’s horse or having tools stolen or lost. So as a farrier it’s worth considering insurance. Why do farriers need insurance, what does insurance cover, how to get insurance and is it worth it are questions that we’re examining in detail in this section of the Employment Guide to aid you in your decision.
Why do farriers need insurance
Ray Miller, in Farrier Industry-Related Problems, points out that 80 percent of farriers today are part-time. With less money coming in, paying for insurance is a much bigger deal than for the full-time farrier. Regardless, the question of insurance is important to any farrier for the benefits it offers as well as for alleviating risk, which we’ll look at in the following section, “What does farrier insurance cover?” But there’s one other aspect that needs to be considered. That of client expectation.
When horse owners were asked if their farrier was insured, according to a survey of 6,000 people, “The overwhelming response to this was yes, 78%. The reason being, ‘He’s in business, he better be if he injures my horse, he needs to be covered.’ 22 percent didn’t know.” So whether you are part-time or full-time it’s important to know that clients generally expect their farrier to be insured. If you’re not insured it could lead to greater headaches than if clients knew that their farrier was uninsured.
What does farrier insurance cover?
Farrier insurance is specifically tailored to the needs of a farrier, making it a useful thing to have. Here are the general areas that are covered:
Property – if, as a result of negligence, a farrier damages property he’s covered up to a certain liability amount
Horse – If a farrier was negligent, causing a horse to get injured or die, while in his care, custody and control, farrier insurance covers you up to the policy limits set forth
Supplies – farrier supplies / equipment are covered for damage and loss
Other types of insurance that a farrier needs to consider are health insurance, vehicle insurance and worker’s compensation. Though the benefits of health and vehicle insurance are pretty straightforward, one a lot of people don’t think about is worker’s comp.
If hiring employees, worker’s compensation is mandatory, but not so for self-employed individuals. “In most states, self-employed persons have the option of purchasing coverage for themselves, but it’s usually not required by law,” according to the National Federation of Independent Business. “Unpaid volunteers for private employers and non-profits are typically not covered, or required to be, by worker’s compensation insurance. States also commonly exclude independent contractors and employees of private homes. However, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees are almost always covered.” So if taking on a volunteer unpaid apprentice, worker’s comp would typically not be required, but once that apprentice gets paid a wage it’s a different story.
How to get insurance?
A good first place to look for farrier insurance is through your farrier association, as they sometimes have agreements set up with equine insurance companies to offer a discount to its members. But don’t stop looking around there just because you were offered a deal. Ask other farriers what companies they’d recommend and when asking, try to find out if they’ve had any of their claims denied, a problem many people have with insurance companies. Also, ask whether they feel they’ve been treated fairly and if the costs were reasonable and worthwhile.
Is it worth it?
Though it’s always nice to cut down on expenses wherever possible, some costs are well justified. Buying farrier insurance, like any form of insurance, is a decision based largely on peace of mind and how much risk one is willing to work with. It’s possible to spend an entire career as a farrier never having to make a claim, which would mean paying out all these insurance costs for no monetary return, but it’s also possible that a horse could get injured or you could get injured by a horse, making insurance an invaluable commodity.