As with nearly all things in life these days, insurance is a requirement for those who want to partake in game pursuits. It makes sense really, as you are engaged in lethal activities. In the UK we have a very high safety record and injuries caused by negligent and accidental discharge are very rare. However, there are more things to be covered than these extreme events. Have you ever wondered what happens if a driven shoot day is cancelled, or you are prevented from attending for some other reason, after you have paid a hefty deposit a year in advance?
The shoot organiser is required by law to ensure that all guns (people who are shooting) have their own insurance. They are a business after all and all businesses have a legal obligation to implement insurance to at least protect third parties. This is simply to ensure that they and the gun are covered in case the gun causes injury to anyone during the day.
It’s probably fair to say that most people engaged in game pursuits / fieldsports in the UK today have their insurance provided by becoming a member of an organisation such as BASC or the Countryside Alliance. It’s a benefit of membership.
It is important you understand what is covered by your insurance. For example, your normal home insurance may or may not cover your firearms from theft or damage. Likewise, it’s unlikely to cover you when away from home and engaged in game pursuits. Similarly, your BASC or Countryside Alliance insurance may not cover your firearms when they are at home. It is essential you know the extent of the cover and make sure you are fully protected.
Shoot cancellation insurance is good to have if you attend a lot of shoot days. Most shoots will not reimburse you if your day is cancelled due to factors outside of their control such as the weather. We shoot in winter remember so the weather can be the biggest threat to your day.
Other lesser known insurance options would include legal expense cover and dog insurance. Legal expense is more applicable to the shoot organisers or a syndicate. Dog insurance is different to pet insurance but is something all of those taking their dogs to a shoot should consider. It will not only provide cover for injuries incurred by the dog during a shoot, but also third-party liability should, for example your dog causes a road traffic accident when chasing a pheasant across a road! Most pet insurance policies will not cover a working dog in the field, but then again most pet insurance policies aren’t insurance but rather a saving offset plan!
In summary therefore, ensure you, and your dog are fully covered for third party liability and personal injury, and ensure your firearm is protected from theft as appropriate to your game pursuit activities. You don’t need it until you do!