Backcountry Horsemen of California

Header Image of BCHC Members on a Trail.


A benefit of membership in BCHC is third party liability insurance coverage. This insurance covers others but does not cover members or their stock.

What Is Covered by BCHC Insurance?

The insurance we have as members of BCHC is third-party limited liability insurance. Think of yourself as the first party and another member as a second party. The general public, non-member is the third party; THEY are covered, not YOU.

In other words, if you or your animal damages a vehicle owned by a non-member at a trailhead or parade, that vehicle is covered. If a non-member is injured, they are covered as far as liability for your actions, and to a limited extent for their injury. If you or another member or your animals are injured, BCHC insurance does NOT cover you! You would hopefully be covered by your own insurance, either health insurance or homeowners.

BCHC insurance does not cover another member either. Apparently, the law states that one member cannot sue another member in a typical liability situation in a unit activity.

BCHC insurance is not a comprehensive, all things for everyone policy. However, it does cover a lot of liability issues for the organization. BCHC has coverage for youth-oriented activities, including overnight camping. We also have coverage for our Saw Training classes. This is still only third-party liability coverage. It does not cover member-to-member issues and is not medical insurance.

Units no longer need to notify the insurance company when they have events that include non-members, like BCHC sanctioned parades. Parades are automatically covered.

No More "Public Days"

BCHC no longer has “Public Days.” Since 2022, BCHC’s policy covers everyone at a sanctioned official BCHC event, whether a member or not. We don’t need to ask our insurance agent for Public Days or notify the insurance company about participating in parades anymore.

To Be Covered For BCHC Events, The Most Important Components Are:

How To Show An Event Is An Official BCHC Sanctioned Event

These are all ways to show that the event is a true BCHC event. That’s what the insurance company would be looking for if there was a claim.

The key to BCHC insurance coverage and the way we protect ourselves under the policy is by having ALL PARTICIPANTS SIGN A LIABILITY WAIVER BEFORE THE EVENT BEGINS. This is critical! Everyone, including BCHC members, must sign a form. Use the BCHC Event Agreement and Release Waiver (rev. 10/2022) for this purpose.

While, technically, all members are covered at an event, it shows an extra level of informed consent and communication of risks if everyone signs a liability release. This is critical for events with stock and for trail work or saw clinics. Since most units have sign-in sheets to keep track of volunteer service hours, mileage, etc., it only takes one more page to add the BCHC liability release to the sign-in. And you may have multiple people sign on one sheet attached to one form, so there aren’t multiple sheets of paper per person.

How To File A Claim

If you are not a member of Backcountry Horsemen and wish to file a claim for an injury or damages to personal property caused by a BCHC member and/or his animal, contact the BCHC 1 st Vice President (Insurance) . The 1 st Vice President is responsible for contacting the insurance agent and initiating the claims process.

Personal Liability Insurance

BCHC recommends each member carry personal liability coverage. The BCHC insurance agent provided some scenarios to illustrate how we could be personally liable for things our animals did even though we were at a BCHC event. It's not fun to think about these scenarios but, in today's society, we need to protect ourselves.

An insurance agent is prohibited from giving legal advice, so this is something each of us will have to investigate on our own. Some homeowner policies cover some horse activities, but not always those that are away from home. BCHC is not endorsing any one company or policy, just trying to make us all aware so we can be prepared.

Certificates Of Insurance, Certificates Of Additional Insured, Proof Of Insurance

An Insurance Certificate (aka Certificate of Insurance or Certificate of Additional Insured or Proof of Insurance) is needed:

An Insurance Certificate is not needed for an event where there is no chance of the public being in the proximity of any of the animals such as meetings, dinners, parties, etc.

To request a Certificate of Insurance, Certificate of Additional Insured, and/or Proof of Insurance, submit the BCHC Insurance Request Form for Additional Insured to the BCHC 1st Vice President (Insurance) at least two weeks before your event/deadline.

Unit-Owned Trailer And Equipment/Tool Insurance

The current insurance carrier for BCHC offers coverage for equipment trailers as well as unit tools and equipment. This coverage would be paid for by the units that want this coverage, not by all units in the state.

The most recent quote for premiums is as follows:

The equipment is covered whether it is in a trailer or at another location.

Multiple units with small amounts of equipment could combine for a Tools and Equipment Policy.

Unit Presidents: Please email the BCHC 1st Vice President (Insurance) if your unit wants to purchase coverage for a trailer and/or equipment. In your email, include the values of trailer and/or equipment. If necessary, the BCHC 1 st Vice President will obtain premium amount from the insurance agent for more valuable trailers than those listed above.

To keep things simple, if units combine for smaller amounts of equipment, the cost will be split evenly. For example, if three units have $50,000 of tools combined, they will pay $250 each, not some percentage based on the value of their tools. We will try to group similar values together to be fair, but it must be simple (unless someone wants to design a spreadsheet for it and keep track)!

If you have any questions about forms, events, or other insurance-related things, contact the BCHC 1st Vice President (Insurance) If you do not receive a reply to your email within a reasonable amount of time, see the Contact Us page for the VP’s telephone number.