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Equine Insurance Guide

What you need to know about equine insurance

What do I need to know?

Equine insurance provides reassurance for policy holders if your horse becomes injured or unwell. It can give you peace of mind that you’re able to afford all the veterinary care that your horse may need. Equine insurance has become increasingly popular with horse owners over the years as progress in veterinary medicine have made more advanced procedures available.

There are many equine insurance companies now available, with many different levels of cover and policies to choose from. Insurance companies differ in their own offering, but most will cover most accidents and illnesses, with illness cover often coming to an end in older horses (once they reach a pre-defined age) – check the details of the policy. It is always important to read the policy terms and conditions to understand your specific cover. Preventative treatment such as vaccinations, dental and worming treatment are not usually covered by insurance companies. Remember that cheaper policies often come with exclusions and limitations.

To help spread the cost of preventative treatment, we provide our own Equine Health Plan. By being part of the Equine Health Plan and having insurance, you’ll be able to provide your horse with the best possible veterinary care – both routinely and in times of emergency. Please contact the practice if you would like more information about The Equine Health plan.

Veterinary practices can support owners in having insurance but are unable to recommend any one individual insurance company.

We can highlight what to look for in a policy.

Policy types and cover included vary between insurance companies, please read the terms & conditions for each policy carefully.

Things to look for

Equine vet’s fees cover provides for veterinary costs if your horse is injured or becomes ill at a predetermined agreed amount. It is prudent to insure your horse for a minimum of £5,000 per incident. Limited cover for any less may leave you with insufficient cover if faced with for example a surgical procedure. Most policies have an excess – the amount you must pay before the insurer will start to recompense you. As a rule of thumb, the higher the excess the cheaper the policy. Some policies have broad exclusions such as dental problems, wire wounds from fencing or hospitalization costs. So always check what is excluded when trying to compare between insurance companies. Other benefits to look out for include:

  • Personal accident - offering financial protection from injuries and illnesses sustained whilst riding.
  • Third Part claims - if your horse injures someone or damages someone else’s property – third party insurance should be considered an absolute minimum.
  • Loss of Use – Loss of Use cover provides a settlement of up to 100% of the sum insured or market value (this differs between insurers) if your horse can no longer be used for the purpose for which it was purchased. Most policies will require evidence of prolonged loss of use – often 6 months before considering if a claim is valid.
  • Loss of Animal – Loss of Animal cover provides a settlement of the sum insured or market value if your horse must be euthanased in accordance with BEVA guidelines which state “That the insured horse sustains an injury or manifests an illness that is so severe as to warrant immediate destruction to relieve incurable and excessive pain and that no other options of treatment are available to that horse”. The circumstances that loss of animal be claimed for are therefore difficult to qualify for.
  • Inpatient costs of looking after your horse if they must go into a hospital for emergency treatmen
  • Saddlery, tack and trailer cover – from damage / loss / theft
  • Legal advice

What you need to know

Insurance companies will not cover any pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is something that has been noted clinically by you or your vet to be of concern with your horse before the insurance policy was taken out, whether treatment was required.

Once a claim has been made, the insurance company may then exclude this condition after a year from the time of first treatment.

If you make a claim with one insurance company and cancel this policy to change to a different insurance company, the new company will usually exclude that condition and any previous noted conditions from your new policy.

Please contact the practice if you need to discuss any exclusions. When appropriate we can perform an assessment of a horse and report our recommendations regarding an exclusion.  We cannot guarantee the insurance company will remove the exclusion.

The level of cover can change as your horse ages.

As noted above insurance policies come with a predetermined excess that they will deduct. The amount of excess will be different across companies and policies.

Some insurance companies will also deduct a co-payment which will be a percentage of the treatment claimed.

Please check the policy terms and conditions to see if a co-payment is added or increased as your horse ages.