Read the Policy

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Q: I own a business that boards horses.  One day, as I was leading a horse to pasture, it kicked a six-year-old boy.  My fourteen-year-old daughter had agreed to care for him during the summer.  This was his first day.  I have no insurance for the barn and stable.  Still, can I make my insurer defend me?

A: It does appear that the boy’s injury, the consequence of a horse’s kick, was not a bargained-for risk.  But why do you say that you have no insurance?  An exclusion must be stated in clear and unmistakable language, and be subject to no other reasonable interpretation.

Suppose that the exclusion is for any injury “arising out” of the barn and stable.  An argument can be made that this refers to injuries causally connected to a dangerous condition on the premises.  In a case like yours, such an argument has not fared well in the courts.  In other cases, one possibly can find an attorney willing to argue that the phrase is at least ambiguous and that the exclusion should be construed against the carrier.

Most likely, your policy also contains a ‘business pursuits’ exclusion and a ‘home day care services’ exclusion.  These can stand in your way even if you survive the ‘arising out of” exclusion.  The carrier will say that the boy was injured in the course of the businesses of you and of your daughter.

The moral of the story: when you go into business, be sure to re-read your old homeowner’s policy, as well as to read your new business policy.  The effort, and even an extra premium, may well come in handy down the line.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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