Uninsured family shoots; damage to guns not covered; cancellation costs not reimbursed – if an estate’s shooting activities aren’t protected by comprehensive insurance cover, the losses could be significant.
As the holiday season approaches, it’s often a perfect time for estates to hold a shoot for friends and family. For those not going to the Boxing Day meet, a clay or game shoot can be a nice alternative to blow away some of that Christmas induced over indulgence. While it might be an informal event, however, problems can arise with insufficient insurance cover if something goes wrong says Amanda Harman – Head of Estates Practice at Aon Private Clients. “Many of the estate owners I see are not aware that their Estate insurance cover might not include a ‘family and friends’ shoot. If you have declared eight commercial shoots over the year to an insurer, for example, but actually have 12 shoots because another four are for family and friends, then it could open an estate to uninsured liabilities if there is an accident on that shoot.”
“The problem is, some estate owners don’t believe it necessary to declare a ‘family and friends’ shoot to their insurer because they are not earning any income from the event,” Harman adds. With potentially inexperienced, and younger, participants, the risks of something happening, such as someone falling and injuring a neighbouring gun, can be much greater. It is also possible that those on the shoot will not have their own cover, which could mean the estate having to pick up the costs of anything going wrong.
Informal events are just one area for an estate where insurance issues on a shoot can be overlooked. Another is the insurance of the actual guns used. “A lot of people assume that their guns will be appropriately insured under their home contents cover, but they may not be,” says Harman. “If you’re using your Boss or Purdey pair for instance, the chances are that the limits within your home contents cover will not be sufficient. These limits can vary significantly from policy to policy.”
In some instances, it could be worth considering Pairs and Sets cover. You might own a pair of fine English guns with Walnut stocks cut from the same tree for example. If something happened to one of them, the insurance would give you the option of replacing the entire pair in the event of damage or loss. Some insurance also restricts cover to the curtilage of the property which means the guns are only insured on the owner’s own land. “You could be a shooting on a neighbouring estate and your gun wouldn’t be insured,” says Harman.
What else to consider?
Other insurance areas worth checking include seeing if there is ‘member to member’ cover – which means the insurance is not just protecting the accidental shooting of a beater or a bystander but also cover if a neighbouring gun is injured. What if the event doesn’t go ahead at all? If it’s too foggy to shoot or snow makes the drives inaccessible, cancellation cover is available for commercial shoots to make sure there is no financial loss. There is also cover available if you’re taking a group shooting and find yourself unable to make the shoot. Another cover worth considering is for any gun dogs used; gun dog insurance insures against illness or injury and any damage the dog may cause to third parties.
Reviewing insurance cover and taking some simple health and safety precautions can help make sure every shoot goes off with the right sort of bang, concludes Harman. “I would always recommend membership of a recognised body, such as the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) who will offer members insurance. If you are an estate owner and you’re running a shoot, even if it’s an informal event, you need to be confident your guests’ guns are appropriately maintained; that there is enough experience in the party or that the shooters are appropriately overseen; while insurance is in place to cover public liability and the guns themselves.”
If you have any queries about anything in this article, please contact Amanda Harman on 0330 1278 212, or email Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org
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