Choosing The Best Horse Insurance In 2020
As owners, we’re all too aware how adept horses are at getting into scrapes, and if a minor scrape turns into something major, having insurance cover can save the day on vets’ bills.
The same goes for if your horse strays, or if the worst happens. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for your horse, keeping him is a costly affair and insurance is a responsible option, bringing peace of mind that your sometimes clumsy best friend is covered.
Planning And Research
Before you start your search for insurance, it’s important to consider exactly what cover you need.
The minimum should be public liability insurance this protects you if your horse injures somebody or damages someone else’s property.
You can then opt to add on extra cover for a number of different things, including:
- Non-routine veterinary fees – this is considered an essential part of insurance cover and generally the main reason owners insure their horse.
- Personal accident cover – this insures you (and anyone else riding your horse with your permission) for death or permanent total disablement. It may not be enough for your needs, however, so you may want to think about separate cover, such as accidental injuries. You may already have public liability insurance and accident cover if you’re a member of certain equine organisations, so do check. Some providers offer rider-only personal accident cover for those who ride but don’t own a horse of their own.
- Death, theft and straying.
- Permanent loss of use of your horse.
Activities Are Key
The insurer will want to know what you plan to do with your horse as this affects the premium. It will be lower if you just hack. then rise depending on the risks involved – if you event at the higher levels, for instance. If you only insure for a low-risk activity. then decide to take part in something riskier and your horse is injured. you may not be covered, so getting this part right is essential.
There are generally a number of categories to choose from and your insurance company will let you change levels if needed, but the opportunity to switch may be limited, so ask the question. Cover will not be offered for illnesses or injuries your horse suffered before you took out the policy and it is vital that you disclose this information to the insurance provider when you fill out the proposal form. What this means in practice is that if the same problem occurs again, your horse won’t be covered and you can’t make a claim.
Organising insurance for your horse isn’t the most exciting part of being an owner, with the required paperwork often ignored in favour of spending time at the yard.
We know it can seem tedious, but it’s vital to do your homework before signing on the dotted line for insurance. As well as scrutinising what each individual policy offers, check how good the company is at paying out, how long it has been established. whether it’s UK-based and how much cover it offers. You’ll be surprised how different the policies can be and the cheapest may not be the best.
Don’t be afraid to ring each provider on your list to ask all your questions. You’re under no obligation to buy. A comparison site is often the first place people go to check out insurance, but while shopping around is important, these aren’t the best place to look. They only compare the price you’ll pay, not the other crucial elements you need to consider, such as the level of cover, the excess payable, and the insurance provider’s knowledge, experience and customer care.
Let A Broker Take The Strain
Just as with cars and motorbikes, specialist equine insurance brokers do exist and the benefit of going down this route is that they’ll do the shopping around for you. They have relationships with major insurance providers and may be able to source an attractive package for you, which you might not be able to find yourself. If you go with a broker, make sure that they have a full understanding of your needs before they start searching. Using a broker is free they get paid commission by the insurance provider.
Useful Questions To Ask
- Are the team members at the insurance company knowledgeable about horses?
- How much is the policy excess? Are there any additional sums you might have to pay?
- Are livery costs included if your horse is hospitalised?
- What age are horses insured up to?
- Does the company offer separate veteran insurance?
- Does the policy cover alternative and complementary treatments?
- Is there a limit to what you can claim for veterinary fees, including diagnostics?
- Does the vet fee limit apply to each claim. or is it a total limit for the year?
- How long is the average pay out time?
- Is it a UK-based company?
The value of your horse and the level of cover you’re intending to take out will influence whether or not your insurance provider requires a veterinary certificate.
Individual insurance companies may have slightly different requirements, so it’s worth checking with your prospective insurance provider first.
For example, if the market value of your horse is up to £5,000, Petplan Equine doesn’t require a vetting certificate.
With KBIS, it depends which of its policies you are taking out. Under its vet fees cover policy, no vetting certificate is required if the market value is up to £6,000. If you take out just mortality and theft cover, no vetting is needed up to the value of £9,999. If you want loss of use cover. both KBIS and Petplan Equine will require a five-stage vetting certificate. Depending on the horse’s value, they may also require certain X-rays.
“If additional information is needed to set up your insurance policy, we will provide injury-only temporary cover for your horse as will most other insurance companies,’ explains Petplan Equine. “Your full policy will not start until all information is received and approved.”
“If you are moving to KBIS on renewal from another company,” says KBIS, “we request a full veterinary history, along with the renewal documents from the previous insurer. If the renewal documents confirm the cover with KBIS is like for like. or less than the previous insurer offered. full cover will be offered by KBIS straight away. so there’s no accidental cover period at the beginning of the new policy.”
10 Things To Consider When Searching For Insurance
- Don’t choose your equine insurance by price alone.
- Vets’ fees and third party liability are the key parts of insurance cover. Make sure you know what you’re covered for.
- Ask your vet and horse owner friends who they would recommend.
- Discounts may be available if you buy your policy online.
- Read the small print so you know what you’re getting for your money.
- Contact at least three companies for comparison purposes.
- Choose an insurance provider that specialises in insuring horses.
- Paying the total premium in one go can be cheaper than monthly instalments.
- Although insuring your horse for less than his actual value may keep your premiums lower, you won’t get back what he’s worth if the worst happens. It is also supplying incorrect information, which could be classed as fraud.
- You must declare any pre-existing conditions. If you don’t, you could invalidate your entire policy.
DO NOT TICK THE ‘NOTHING TO DISCLOSE’ DECLARATION ON THE PROPOSAL FORM IF THIS ISN’T CORRECT. IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO DEFRAUD ON INSURANCE.
Calculating Your Premium
Insurance premiums reflect the risk involved. Companies can’t pay out for expensive treatments if they haven’t received enough in the shared pot to cover the costs. As diagnostics advance and more conditions can be treated, veterinary costs have risen. Your premium will reflect this.