HORSE INSURANCE - this covers a multitude of sections - death of horse, theft, public liability, permanent loss of use, vet fees, personal accident to rider, saddlery & tack, trailer & or horse drawn vehicle.
If you are in the process of buying your first horse/pony then we strongly recommend you get as a minimum death, public liability and vet fee cover.
Your view of the other sections available will change overtime, so you could also consider a comprehensive package.
If you get nothing else, get yourself public liability as the Animal Act applies to horses. An interesting article from The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters, with an example, domonstrates their view of who is responsible. Unfortunately society today has changed and not a day goes by where someone is suggesting you could make a public liability claim against another.
The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters
Horse Insurance where to begin - There are usually 2 types of policy:
1. The SELECTIVE cover where you take out the minimum cover of death & theft and then have the option to add any other section you need.
2. The COMPREHENSIVE cover where you buy a complete package.
Let us deal with the SELECTIVE type first.
DEATH OF HORSE - this covers all mortality risks from accident, illness & disease and should also cover in transit. This is the basis of the policy, which are then added the other options such as Public liability, vet fees ,etc...
THEFT & STRAYING - If the horse is lost, strayed or stolen, you are able to claim the sum insured after the horse has been gone for 30 days - having also informed the Police.
PUBLIC LIABILITY - This section is needed if you are not a member of the British Horse Society, British Show Jumping Association or if Public Liability is covered on your house insurance. Public Liability is there to protect from claims by other people for which you are LEGALLY liable in the eyes of the law. Most companies have a £100 - £250 excess on this section if there is property damage.
DISCOUNTS - Available on selected policies for some Multi-horse policies.
LOSS OF USE - This will cover you if your horse has an accident BUT does not have to be put down under the BEVA guidelines. The insurance company will pay 50%, 60%, 75% or 100% of the sum insured - depending on the company, cover bought and individual situation. Some companies now require a 5 Stage Vets Certificate if Loss Of Use is taken out regardless of the value of the horse.
VET FEES - We are seeing larger and larger vet claims so we recommend you to get as much vet fees per claim as you can afford. You are insuring yourself against large vet bills. The limit per claim can be between £1,500 to £5,000 with unlimited number of claim per year, depending on the company. An excess of between £135 - £500 is normal, although many now offer a percentage of say 15% plus £100. Some companies also limit the vet cover to the sum insured if the horse is valued under £1000.
PERSONAL ACCIDENT - This covers you and any one who is riding the horse with your permission. Some policies also cover you and your immediate family for dental treatment following a riding accident.
TRAILERS & HORSE DRAWN VEHICLES - This will only cover damage to your trailer. It will not cover third party road risks & damage to other vehicles/property, which should be added to your towing vehicles insurance.
THE PIT FALLS - in obtaining horse insurance are only there if you do not ask questions - some are as follows:-
What sections have an excess and how much is it?
Can I be put on cover immediately?
When does full cover start?
Do I need a Vets certificate?
If you ask questions you should be fine - there is nothing worse than buying something that you do not fully understand!
The same basics apply to Public Liability insurance for Private Stables, Livery Yards, Studs, Riding Establishments, Instructors and Riding Clubs. The secret is to ALWAYS ASK.