Inspired by a recent discussion on social media, we are delving into the topic of horsebox and trailer storage on livery yards. This is a service that many yards offer, allowing horse owners on the yard the convenience of having their transport onsite for the ease of attending events or transporting their horse.

The way that this service is offered can vary from yard to yard in terms of the way that it is managed, whether it is a paid service, and to the requirements that the yard owner has in terms of access, condition or insurance of the vehicle while it is on their premises.

In some arrangements, yard owners may ask that they retain the keys, or a spare set of keys, for the vehicle. This may be to rearrange the vehicles to allow for additional storage, to allow access, or to relocate vehicles in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.

The payment of storage for horseboxes and trailers raises the question of liability, and what level of insurance cover- if any- the yard owner should hold to provide such storage, and where they stand if they request keys or the necessity to mobilize the vehicle whilst it is on their premises. It is recommended that any land owner who charges for storage, to have a contract in place advising that they do not accept liability for any loss, theft or damage to a vehicle (including trailers) whilst it is parked on their property. The vehicle owner should also ensure they have sufficient insurance cover.

Technically, if the vehicle is on private land, then no insurance is required either for the storage or the driving of the vehicle, and anyone could drive it whilst it remains on that land. However, for a motor policy to respond to a claim of accident, theft or damage, the vehicle must be driven with the owner's permission and by an individual who is suitably insured on the policy as either a named driver, or covered under any driver extension, for example an any driver over 25 extension. It’s also recommended that as a yard owner, you ensure that your insurance provider is aware that you offer storage for horseboxes and trailers at your yard, as well as all other services and facilities you provide.

When it comes to keys for the vehicle, if these are left in or hidden somewhere on the vehicle this could result in the invalidation of insurance. By accepting the keys to the vehicle, the yard owner is taking responsibility of the keys and must be aware they should not be left in the vehicle and must be kept in a secure place. There is potential for liability to attach to the land owner if they are charging for these services and fail to keep the keys securely stored, or use the vehicle without the owner’s permission.

For some horse owners, knowing that the yard owner has a spare set of keys for their transport can be advantageous as long as they are shown that these are being kept securely, however others may not be so happy with such requests. In such cases, it is a good idea to have a clear understanding of where the keys will be stored, and by whom and under what circumstances the yard owner has permission to move the vehicle.

The main goal is to ensure every possible precaution is taken to prevent theft or damager to the vehicle, and to make sure any insurance claim would be valid.

As a note, it is also important to remember that any tack or equipment left in a horsebox or trailer may not be covered by your insurance, regardless of who has access, and even if the vehicle is locked and secure. This was covered in more detail on our earlier article “Safety and Security for Tack and Saddlery”

As with most insurance queries like this, every situation will be circumstantial, and it is ideal to confirm with your own insurance provider what their requirements are.

About SEIB

SEIB have been arranging horsebox insurance and livery yard insurance for over decades. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen.