The importance of shooting insurance
What do you consider to be the most important bit of kit for a day's game shooting – that which you really couldn't do without? A well-fitted gun is quite a biggy. But then you could probably borrow one from a fellow Gun, or the shoot, if you forgot that. Cartridges? Same again – just a tad embarrassing. No wellies means soggy socks and sodden brogues, and somebody is bound to have a spare pair of ear defenders if you left yours at home... The fact is, the sterling hospitality proffered on the lion's share of shoots nowadays means you could more or less turn up naked and still have your name scribbled on the gamecard at close of play.
There are some things, however, that must be addressed before you even consider donning your breeks and garters for a day in the field. Safety is, of course, the number one priority when we're out shooting – something that is driven home from day one. Respect for the quarry, ethics, sportsmanship and having a jolly good time are sky-high on the agenda, too. But there's something else – of great importance – that every Gun should have under their belt. And that is shooting insurance.
The trouble with shooting insurance is that without physically asking, there's no way of knowing if another person is covered in the event of an accident. It soon becomes apparent if a fellow Gun is unsafe or unsporting, and remedial action can be taken. But you might have been shooting for years with others who are not insured, and be completely unaware of the fact.
Yes, in an ideal world, those forever-embedded rules of safety would render an insurance policy unnecessary. Or so you might think. But we don't live in an ideal world; accidents do happen. Just as they do when we're driving a car, playing rugby or cricket, or riding a bike. And they might not be of the nature that first springs to mind...
Beyond the discharge of a gun resulting in injury (or worse) to oneself or another, there are endless ways in which things can go pear-shaped. What about when a shot cockbird planes down onto the windscreen of a parked truck, or the head of a fellow shooter? Or a dog runs into the road to retrieve a bird and causes a car accident? How about damage to a gun or valuable piece of kit? Or when a poorly placed bag of feed-wheat on the syndicate shoot is gorged on by livestock, with disastrous results? The potential for an accident exists in many a situation.
If liable, the sums of money involved with settlement can be eye-watering, too. How many of us could afford to shoulder such financial outlay? We must also consider the impact on others who may have been affected – we're talking potentially life-changing incidents. Nobody wants to be the cause with no cover.
So should it be compulsory, as with car insurance? What do you think? How many shoots routinely ask for proof of insurance before taking a booking? Perhaps that is the way forward.
One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of shooting and country sports insurance providers. Country Cover Club, GunsOnPegs, BASC, The Countryside Alliance and the National Gamekeepers' Organisation, to name just a few, offer varying levels of cover – many building it into their membership packages. Always check the small print, though – just as with car insurance, clauses are rife and it's worth establishing the true extent of the cover provided.
COUNTRY COVER CLUB
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Our standard annual membership is just £29.95 and every C³ member benefits from £10m Public Liability Cover, £10,000 Personal Accident Cover and £50,000 Legal Expenses Cover for a comprehensive range of country sports including shooting, hunting, fishing, falconry, ferreting, working with dogs, archery, re-enactment, rambling, canicross and much more!
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