Finding the right insurance for your horse can feel like a minefield and it can be difficult to know where to even start. Everyone you talk to will have their own opinion on who you should insure with and what cover you need. You will hear horror stories about people who didn’t have insurance when their horse had an accident and you will hear stories of insurance companies being difficult, making stressful times even harder.
The cost of everything is going up, including insurance premiums. This combined with some people’s previous bad experiences or horse’s exclusions has led to more and more people not taking out insurance and opting to put money into a dedicated savings account instead. But insurance isn’t a one size fits all approach and there are plenty of different options available meaning you should be able to find the right cover for you and your horse.
We worked with British Pet Insurance, who have over 40 years of experience insuring horses to answer some of your burning questions about horse insurance.
What types of horse insurance are available?
When we talk about horse insurance, most people go straight to vet fee cover, discussing the pros and cons. But vet fee cover is just one small part of insuring your horse and shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether you decide to insure your horse or not.
Theft & Mortality
Also called Theft, Mortality & Straying, this is one of the most basic types of insurance cover and is included in all British Pet Insurance equine policies as standard. This cover simply means that if you no longer have your horse, because of theft, death or straying, your insurance will pay you the insured or market value of your horse. This type of cover can also include:
- Death by Injury or Illness
The Mortality part can be a bit vague in some insurance policies. But many companies include death by injury or illness in their cover. This means that they will pay out if your horse has to be put down due to an ongoing injury or illness, not just in freak accidents. This cover comes as standard in all British Pet Insurance policies.
- Advertising & Reward
If your horse has gone missing or been stolen, getting the word out can be one of the most effective ways of getting them home. Some theft & mortality policies will include money towards these costs. Such as offering and paying a reward for the safe return of your horse and any advertising costs in getting the word out.
Horses are big animals and if they have been put down, it can be quite expensive to have their bodies taken away. Disposal insurance is sometimes included, sometimes an extra, but it will pay you some money towards disposal costs. Most policies I have seen pay around £200 towards disposal but every company and policy is different.
One of the most expensive things about owning a horse is when they are sick or injured. Vet fees can be very expensive and quickly rack up into the thousands. So, it’s not surprising that Vet Fee Cover is a popular choice of insurance. It does what it says on the tin, if your horse is ill or injured, the insurance company will pay out towards the bill based on the terms of your policy.
When I have looked at different levels of vet fee cover over the years, they can range from £3,000 – £6,000 per year or per incident. Some policies cover everything; accidents to wear and tear type injuries, some only cover accidents. This variety means the cost of adding Vet Fee cover to your policy can really vary. But this also means that you should be able to find the right cover for you.
It is also worth noting that if your horse has a pre-existing condition or an injury, this may be excluded from your vet fee cover. For example, if your horse had a tendon injury in one front leg, it is not unusual for that leg, maybe even both front legs to be excluded for anything what could be linked to that previous injury, such as a new tendon injury. But that leg should still be insured for injures such as kicks, accidents, and open wounds. Always read the description of any exclusions and you can always reach out to the company for clarity before accepting a quote.
Loss Of Use
Loss of Use or Permanent Loss of Use cover is a great option if you are buying a horse with a specific job in mind and might not be able to afford to replace them if they can no longer do the job, usually due to injury. If your vet believes your horse can no longer do the job, your insurance will pay you back a % of what you paid for your horse or how much they are insured for.
Different insurance companies offer different levels of Loss of Use from 50% of your horse’s value to 100%. 100% Loss of Use has a higher premium than lower percentages. So, you can choose different levels of cover based on how much you can afford.
For example, if you bought a horse to Event at BE 100 and at some point, your horse sustains an injury meaning they cannot jump anymore, you should be able to claim for Loss of Use.
For BPI, until the horse is 2 years old permanent loss of use cover won’t be offered as an option, then it’s only covered until they are 15.
Public Liability, also known as Third Party, insurance is extremely important and often overlooked. It doesn’t come as standard in most horse insurance policies, partly because it can be purchased separately. But it is a type of insurance every horse owner should have as you are liable for any damage or injury your horse causes.
In the UK, it is a legal requirement to have Third Party insurance on our cars. This is because if we are involved in an accident, the cost of damages can be huge. The same can be said for our horses. If you fell off out hacking, or if your horse escaped from the field and ended up on the road, they could easily cause an accident. Not only could they cause damage to themselves, but they could cause serious damage to multiple cars, the people in them as well as other people and property in the area. If you have ever made a car insurance claim after an accident, you will know just how much these claims can cost. Without Public Liability insurance on your horse, you could be stuck footing the bill.
Public Liability can cover you for everything from your horse biting or kicking someone at the yard, to causing damage on a show ground to road accidents. It is usually fairly cheap to take out with standard policies usually offering £1,000,000 – £2,000,000 worth of cover.
Covers the rider of your horse for injury or death and includes the cost of emergency dental treatment.
Many companies allow you to add other extras onto your horse’s policy such as Saddlery & Tack and horseboxinsurance. Cover can be provided if your saddlery or tack or transport is damaged or stolen or destroyed. Or if your horsebox breaks down or you are involved in an accident that is not your fault.
Is there a legal requirement to insure my horse?
No, there isn’t any insurance you need to have here in the UK by law. But most experts recommend having Public Liability insurance as a bare minimum. British Pet Insurance recommend Public Liability to all their clients.
What cover should I get for my horse?
No one can really tell you what insurance you should buy for your horse, but a good rule of thumb is often the most coverage you can afford. When anyone asks for my opinion on insurance, I always recommend Theft & Mortality, Public Liability and the highest Vet Fee cover they can afford.
Yes, you can always put money aside for vet fees. In the past I have paid £100 a month on insurance for Scottie. Putting this money aside over the years would have racked up a good amount of savings for accidents and emergencies. But what if you have two claims close to each other? One year Scottie was kicked in the field, racking up over £1,000 in callout, treatment and further investigation after it wasn’t healing as quickly as we thought it should. The following year he went lame in front and over 18 months we racked up just under £6,000 investigating, scanning and treating this injury. Even if I had paid £100 a month into savings the entire time I had owned him, I wouldn’t have been able to cover both these bills. There is a good chance I would have had to cut corners and not offer him the best possible care, purely due to funds. Based on this experience, I would always recommend some sort of Vet Fee Cover. Even if it is similar to Veteran cover where it only covers open wounds etc. At least your horse should still be covered in emergencies.
Any extras you can afford to add on such as loss of use, can be really beneficial if you don’t think you can afford to replace your horse if they can no longer do what you bought them for. Scottie had a Loss of Use pay-out after his tendon injury. I could have put this towards a second horse, but realistically I can’t afford a second horse at the moment. So, this money has gone into savings. It can go towards any extra care Scottie might need or towards a new horse in the future.
Where to start when taking out a new insurance policy
When thinking about taking out a new insurance policy for your horse, it can be difficult to know where to start. You can read about all the different types of policies and cover available. But that doesn’t always help you. So, we have created a 5 step plan to help you on your search.
1. How much can you afford to pay?
Horses are expensive and while insurance is worth every penny, you need to be realistic about how much you can afford to pay. Cover can vary from £10 a month to £200+ depending on the level of cover. Before you do anything else, seriously think about how much you can afford to pay for insurance.
2. How much is your horse worth?
You need to know how much your horse is worth in order to receive quotes from different insurance companies. If you have bought your horse within the last three months, their value will be what you paid for them. If you have owned them for a few years, a good way to get a rough figure is to look at horses for sale and compare them to your horse. Age, breed, competition history, breeding and temperament can all affect your horses market value. Try and find horses like yours to get a rough value.
3. What type of cover do you want?
Now you know how much you can afford to pay and what your horse’s value is, it’s time to start thinking about what type of cover you want. I personally start high, going in with the most possible cover. Then as you start inputting all of this information into your quotes, you can start tweaking and reducing cover if you need to.
4. Do you need a vetting or x-rays?
If your horse is valued over a certain amount or if you want certain types of cover such as Loss of Use, you might need to have a vet examine your horse. If you have bought a new horse, you may have had a pre purchase examination carried out by a vet already and this is fine, you shouldn’t need to do a new one, But depending on the value of your horse, you might be asked for some x-rays if they weren’t included.
5. Get multiple quotes!
Don’t just look at one insurance company. Shop around a little and see what quotes you get. But don’t just look at price alone. Service should also be a big factor when considering horse insurance. Ask any friends or family about their experiences with different insurance companies, who do they recommend? Have a look at reviews online, although do take these with a pinch of salt as we are far more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one. You should then be able to compile this all together to choose the quote that seems best for you.
About British Pet Insurance
British Pet Insurance pride themselves in offering quality, affordable pet insurance. With an easy claims process and award-winning service, they believe in putting pets first. They understand that every pet (and owner) is different and offer flexible levels of cover so you can find the best option for you. Alongside dog, cat and even hedgehog insurance, they offer a range of horse and pony cover levels, with up to £6,000 vet fees and a range of optional extras.
Reach out to them for your personal quote.
Last Updated on 25/05/2022