Eight points to consider before hiring out your horsebox
There are several reasons why you might want to hire out your horsebox. For starters, if you’re not using it all the time, allowing others to use it can earn you some extra money. It’ll also give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people and expand your network of those who share your interests. But there are a number of things to bear in mind before you go down the route of hiring out your vehicle.
Taking care of your horsebox
Horse lorries require MoT testing, so make sure all the paperwork is in order before you rent one out.
It’s also important that you make sure all necessary seatbelts are fitted. Some years ago, passengers sitting in the “living area” of a horsebox didn’t need to be wearing seatbelts, but the law has been tightened since then.
Since 2007, all new vehicles must have seatbelts on every seat, except for any seat that is for use solely when the vehicle is stationary.
Allow plenty of time when renting out your horsebox
Anything involving horses risks running late – whether it’s a show over-running or the horse refusing to load.
If you’re waiting for a horsebox to be returned at a particular time, make sure both parties have each other’s contact details so you can stay in touch if there’s a delay.
Remember that however much care they are given, some horses might still be unhappy while being transported, so you should be prepared for some damage to be caused during journeys – and that will take you time to put right.
It’s not just horses that can prove awkward, either. Renting out a horsebox can lead to the frustrations that come with renting out anything else, and unfortunately other people’s standards are often not the same as yours.
Scuffs and scrapes can be commonplace, and sometimes things go missing. When this happens, you’ll need to spend time and money putting it right.
There’s no way to guarantee that this won’t happen, so you’ll need to factor this into your plans and costs.
Do your checks on the hirers
When it comes to the paperwork, you’ll need to carry out DVLA checks on all hirers.
Legally, horse transporters are classed as heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) or light goods vehicles (LGVs), and you need to make sure that anyone who’ll be driving your vehicle has the appropriate licence.
There may be further work needed if your insurance is a pay-as-you-go policy, rather than an annual one. If it is, you’ll have to fill in extra forms every time you hire the vehicle out.
You’ll need a specialist insurance policy for your horsebox, and it’s important you know that the level of cover is sufficient for your needs. A standard insurance policy won’t be enough.
You’ll need to have a self-drive hire policy that covers the intended use and size of the vehicle. For example, if it has living quarters, you’ll need to have cover for fire caused by cooking and heating, which wouldn’t be included in a standard insurance policy.
This sort of policy covers businesses that rent out vehicles to third parties and also provides “off-hire cover”, meaning you can drive the vehicle when it’s not out on hire.
The miles can quickly rack up if a horsebox travels long distances to shows, so a policy that allows unlimited mileage will give you greater flexibility.
A horsebox can be expensive so make sure your policy will cover the full cost of replacing it should the worst happen.
If you allow it to be taken abroad, look to take out a policy that comes with European cover.
And be prepared for the worst. If your vehicle is not returned by the hirer, or is stolen by a third party, what will you do while things are being sorted out by your insurer? Do you have a contingency plan for the meantime? Make sure you know what level of cover you’ll be getting.
Consider horsebox security
Many of the things you can do to keep your horsebox safe sound like common sense – but even following just the simple things can help keep it secure.
For starters, where do you keep it?
Leaving it on the road is higher risk than keeping it stored in a garage or a secure yard. Keeping it somewhere like that not only makes it harder to get to in the first place but also reduces the risk of opportunist thieves finding it.
Keep the place where you park it under observation – well publicised CCTV coverage will act as a deterrent to thieves, and will also help the police if a theft does occur.
An alarm is another way to prevent thieves from successfully getting away with your vehicle – and, again, if the crooks are made aware of its existence in advance, it reduces the chance that they’ll attempt the theft in the first place.
If you don’t have access to a secure storage place and you need to keep the horsebox on a drive, consider installing a retractable bollard that locks into the ground, blocking the vehicle in.
Get some pictures of your horsebox – both internal and external – and consider making the vehicle more identifiable. Branding on the outside can deter thieves, as it’s easier for them to get rid of more generic-looking vehicles, while hidden markings inside can help the authorities identify the vehicle if it’s recovered.
Horsebox hire breakdown cover
Having adequate breakdown cover as part of your insurance for your horsebox is essential.
If something does go wrong and it breaks down, you need to be sure that the occupants – people and horses – can get home or to any other UK destination if the vehicle can’t be repaired at the roadside.
Some cover offers overnight accommodation for drivers, passengers, and horses if it’s necessary.
And if your horsebox is hired for travel elsewhere within Europe, be sure to check that the breakdown support covers incidents on the other side of the English Channel, too.
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth bearing in mind that as well as the people you choose to rent out to, you also need to consider the horses themselves. Not all animals will enjoy being transported, so you’ll need to prepare for the possibility that they may damage your vehicle. You may also want to take this into consideration when you’re setting your rental rates.
The licence your hirers will need will depend on the weight, often referred to as the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), of your horsebox. For a horsebox of between 3.5-7.5 tonnes they will need a category C1 licence. For anything over 7.5 tonnes they will need a category C licence. Be sure to check they have the correct licence before handing over the keys, as if not your insurance will be invalidated.
For further information on horsebox hire insurance, speak to our experienced team on 01603 649744.
You may also be interested in: Things to be aware of when starting a self-drive hire business