Choosing the right insurance for your horse or pony isn’t an easy task. With so many different providers and policies available on the market, it can feel overwhelming trying to sift through and find one that suits your horse best. We are going to take a look at the key things you need to bear in mind; in order to help you make the most appropriate choice.
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What does your horse need cover for?
Many horse owners are aware of the need to take out insurance for their horse for veterinary fees. But there is much more to equine insurance than this. Other, nonetheless key, factors that you need to consider are:
- Whether you want cover for your horse in the awful case that he is stolen or disappears. Of course no horse owner wants to think about this but, unfortunately, it does occasionally happen.
- If you need cover for mortality/death or for permanent loss of use (where your horse can no longer fulfil his designated purpose, because of injury or disease). And whether that cover should be for the entirety or part of his value.
- Whether you need cover for his tack and equipment (this is very much individual preference).
- If you need cover for cadaver disposal, should he be put to sleep or pass away. It can be costly to have your horse’s body disposed of. So it’s worthwhile considering whether this is a manageable sum; should it need to be paid for suddenly, or if you would prefer that it be covered by your policy.
- Cover for third party liability, for in case your horse causes damage or injury to a third party. Horses are big animals with the potential to cause accidental harm to an individual or their property. Unfortunately, such an incident could lead to a costly claim against your horse – and since he doesn’t have a bank account, you’re the one who is liable.
What about the vets fees?
Going back to veterinary fees, these can obviously be expensive. Therefore having an appropriate insurance policy can definitely lessen the blow. This is particularly the case for accidents or emergencies, where decisions need to be made quickly. When considering cover for veterinary treatment, it’s important to take into consideration that many policies will have their own requirements. Such as your horse having a regular worming or vaccination routine, in order for the policy to remain valid.
In addition to the financial limit of the policy, another important factor to consider is that many providers and policies will often only include a given condition for a maximum of a 12-month period or until the financial limit is reached; at which time it will be excluded and you will not be able to claim for it in future. This is important because it means that you will be responsible for all veterinary fees related to said condition, once the exclusion is in place. Also, consider whether the policy provides cover for complementary treatment, like physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and if this is important to you.
What determines the cost of your cover?
Aside from the aspects of cover we’ve just discussed (vets fees, third party liability, etc) the choice of policy, and what you pay for it, will also be affected by individual factors to do with your horse. His age, the activities he participates in, any pre-existing conditions, and his market value can all play a part in determining your horse’s insurance premiums, the policies available to him, and whether the company will require further information such as a 2 or 5 stage vetting, or radiographs.
What about you?
We often forget about ourselves, the rider (or driver, etc) when picking out our horse’s policy. It’s not surprising with so many factors to consider just for our horses! In some cases, the horse or pony’s policy will actually provide cover for the rider as well. It’s important to keep this in mind. Because, if your horse’s policy doesn’t provide you with cover, you’ll have to consider whether you need to take out a separate insurance policy for yourself, on top.
Always, always read the fine print of your policy to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. You certainly wouldn’t be the first to get caught out by unwanted surprises further down the line. But these can generally be prevented by thoroughly reading through the policy details. Try not to be swayed just by the price of the premiums or excess. Obviously these are important and you do need to figure out what is a sensible amount for your individual situation. But your insurance is no help if it doesn’t give you the cover that your horse needs.
It’s a good idea to choose a company who specialises in equine insurance, they’ll generally have more experience dealing with such claims as opposed to a general provider. On a final note, whoever you choose, make sure you check that any provider is registered with, and regulated by, the Financial Conduct Agency (FCA). The FCA ensures that the company conducts itself appropriately, and all insurance firms must be on the register, however, it’s a good idea to check, particularly for lesser-known providers.
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