What does your shooting insurance cover you for? If a pheasant falls and injures someone, or a beater slips and breaks an ankle, or at worse a guest’s gun goes off and injures someone the importance of adequate insurance cover is paramount.
Society is becoming more litigious with ‘American style’ no-win-no-fee cases run by law firms willing to win huge payouts for clients claiming their piece of the action.
Years ago accidents in the countryside with guns used to be dealt with out of court with fixed payouts for victims based on the injuries sustained. With the courts run now as they are the added emotion of a ‘gun incident’ can rack up the costs. If you are now found liable and have little or no insurance you are at risk of bankruptcy.
Insurance Third party
Shooting organisations each have shooting insurance policies offered to their members that cover you if you accidentally injure someone. The BASC provides an FSA accredited policy to its members. You have to remember that you will be liable potentially for the legal bills for the entire case including both plaintif and your law firm’s bills along with court fees and the compensation awarded. £10,000 would not be unusual for a simple non debilitating injury.
Lost earnings and any adaptations needed for debilitating injuries such as a new car or an altered home will add to these costs and would clear out most people as well as usually ensure the victim did not receive full compensation as the guilty party no doubt would not have the money.
If you have anyone involved in your shoot who is paid money or receives anything for their ‘services’ you must have shooting insurance for them whether they are full time keepers or beating two drives one morning. It is illegal to have anyone employed without insurance coverage. Whether it is a commercial run shoot or a part time syndicate running as friends and neighbours in a group the estate and organisers can be sued.
Public insurance should be taken out too, although it is optional. If you decide not to pay for it you and the shoot in general is taking a great deal of risk. Public insurance does not mean the odd passerby dog walker etc. It also includes anyone who is not an organizer of the event so you could be sued by a guest or another member of your group if their contribution is say financial. The estate is also responsible too. It doesn’t cost much but an injury or damage to property could seriously damage your wallet.
£10million of damages can be covered by a very basic policy even though negligence is difficult to prove, The public are supposed to be aware of their own safety and they are not exempt some responsibility for it. However even if you are found only party responsible it could cost you dearly. Some things are natural hazards like slipping and breaking an ankle but if someone did so and their gun went of and injured another party you may be liable or partially so.
Get your guns insured
Ensure that you insure your valuable guns against both fire and theft. Your home policy may give you some coverage but due to the high cost of these items and because you take them out of the house with you they will need to be individually valued by a dealer or certified expert and added to the home and contents policy just as you would for any other unusual items such as fine art
Insurance for your dog
It is always up to the owner to insure a dog, an estate where the accident happens cannot be held liable. Pet insurance today is very common and so it is not difficult to find. Again most of the shooting organisations have gun dog insurance.
Expect to pay £500 a year if it includes vet bills as well for up to £2,500 coverage for the loss of the dog.
You ought to also insure against cancellation because if poor weather killed your poults or the game crop was flattened months ago by high winds and hail you will have lots of bills to pay and money to return no doubt. This could be the biggest expense yet so please go ahead and consider it. Insurance really is such an important issue. in our society it is a must both for yourself and the victim please ensure you have enough coverage.