Advances in veterinary medicine mean we are able to do more for horses than ever before, however treatment costs can soon mount up. Having the right insurance policy allows you to concentrate on what’s best for your horse knowing help is there for the cost of unexpected treatment.
There are many types of policy cover available, and some of the main types available are described below.
Third Party Insurance
If you consider no other insurance cover, you should treat third party liability as essential. Horses are large and sometimes potentially dangerous animals. We all know that horses can kick out, whether at a person or a passing car. However, did you know that you could be taken to court and face paying damages running into thousands of pounds if you are found to be legally liable? In any situation where a third party is injured (or worse), or their property is damaged, they can claim financial compensation. Taking out insurance cover to protect yourself against this risk is not expensive and it is not a benefit that should be considered optional.
All Risks Mortality
These policies can vary but essentially the horse is only covered if it is found dead or if it requires immediate euthanasia on humane grounds. There are relatively few conditions that fall into this category e.g. fracture of a major long bone such as humorous or femur. Be aware that it is a limited form of insurance.
This covers non routine veterinary treatment for their horses following an accident or illness. Quality veterinary medicine is expensive and if you do not have the means to pay an unexpected bill of up to several thousand pounds for an emergency surgery or lameness investigation, you may be faced with the unpalatable decision of whether or not to have your horse destroyed. Current figures suggest that you should insure your horse for up to £5000 per incident to cover all forms of major treatment available. Inadequate cover may prevent your horse from receiving life-saving surgery.
Loss of Use Cover
This cover provides reimbursement if your horse develops a permanent disability that prevents it from carrying out the activity for which it is insured. Within this category there are two levels of cover and it is important to clarify which level of compensation you require before taking out the policy.
Personal Accident and Dental Cover
These benefits are to protect you or anyone who is riding or handling your horse. Cover is usually for permanent disability or death.
Benefits in addition to those listed above, will suit some owners more than others and these can be chosen to suit your needs. They include options such as saddle and tack cover, permanent loss of use, cover for your trailer or horse-drawn vehicle.
It’s important to be aware that not all horse insurance is the same and we advise that you don’t shop around on price alone. For example, some policies apply a percentage-based excess on vet fees claims or only cover older horses for injury. Ask the following five key questions so you clearly understand what each policy does and doesn’t cover:
- What is the age limit for illness cover?
- How much cover is provided for diagnostics and complementary treatment?
- What is the Veterinary Fees excess?
- Will the insurer pay the vet practice directly?
- Will your premium increase if you make a claim?