Insurance Rates Force Mid-Missouri Couple Out of Business

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CALIFORNIA -Skyrocketing insurance rates forced a local couple out of business. For 12 years, Billy and Elsie Meyer used a carriage to take people to parties and weddings, and were a part of festivals. But increasing insurance rates, due to more horse and buggy accidents, forced them to put their carriage up for sale. Insurance rates for the Meyers of California have tripled, since they began their business. For the past year, the Meyers suspended business because they don't want to pay what they say are outrageous rates. In addition, new regulations mandate the more they make, the higher their insurance rates.

"Now they've put a limit on how much you can make," Billy Meyer said. "And if you make over that, well your insurance goes up and they've got you. There's nothing you can do about it."

According to, there were four accidents in Missouri involving horse and buggies in 2011, one of those accidents resulted in the death of an Amish teenager.

The Meyers said many accidents happen because carriage drivers are not taking proper precautions, like putting flashing lights on carriages, and signs to warn other drivers it is a slow-moving vehicle. However, the Meyers said sometimes it is the fault of car drivers, who honk and sometimes spook the horses.

"I'm a nervous wreck from the time we start until the time we end, just because I'm afraid something is going to happen," Elsie Meyer said.

The Meyers always had flashing lights and a "Slow Vehicle" sign, but said they had a close call almost every time they took the carriage out. The couple plans to keep the horses for plowing, but for now, the carriage will sit in their garage until it is sold.