Owning a horse is a significant financial commitment. All pets require lots of ongoing attention, but horses are a cut above the rest. They require all sorts of recurring veterinary costs, as well as more rigorous maintenance. Overall, more risks are involved in horse ownership than with any other pet.
Consequently, it is highly recommended that you buy horse insurance to protect your asset. Naturally, if you've never owned a horse before, this can be news to you. Any type of insurance will come with nuances and different terms you should be aware of. So, we've created this guide to help you understand all the critical points about horse insurance in the UK.
What is horse insurance, and do I need it?
You will often see it referred to as equine insurance, and both terms are interchangeable. Essentially, the purpose of horse insurance is to protect both you and your horse. With multiple risks involved in horse ownership, it's easy to end up staring at a massive bill of some kind. This could be a vet bill for an illness, or it might be a compensation claim from somebody that was injured by your horse.
Regardless, insurance is there to offer a safety net when things go wrong. It ensures you remain financially stable and have access to money when you need it. In reality, it's not too dissimilar to car insurance, only your horse is the thing being insured.
Do you need equine insurance? Technically, no, it is not legally required. You can own a horse and frolic about without any insurance whatsoever. However, it is highly recommended because of the many risks involved in horse ownership. Also, you've spent a lot of money on this horse, so it makes sense to give it as much protection as possible.
What coverage do you get from horse insurance?
Equine insurance is diverse in that you can pick and choose what type of coverage you receive. Obviously, the more your insurance covers, the more expensive it will be.
Typically, the lowest coverage level offers you the following:
- Cover for the death of your horse
- Cover for the theft of your horse
- Cover for straying
Death coverage is there to protect your finances if your horse suddenly passes away. There can be many costs involved when a horse dies, including vet fees, potentially property damage fees, and disposal of the corpse. Therefore, you get some financial protection if this happens to you.
Theft cover is fairly straightforward - you get compensation if someone steals your horse. This can go towards paying for missing horse adverts, and potentially recovering the value of your horse if it does not return within 28 days. It is a similar story for straying, only you're covered if your horse naturally strays away from its field.
Another common thing to add to a horse insurance policy is public liability insurance. Here, you are covered against any costs relating to members of the public suffering injuries or property damage at the hands of your horse. For example, if your horse strays from its field and damages someone's garden fence, this will cover any repair costs.
Lastly, many people choose to add vet fees to their horse insurance policy. You can see why - this covers the cost of many vet bills that your horse can incur. This can also include the cost of transportation to and from a hospital.
Can you get horse rider insurance?
Yes, it is possible to also get horse insurance that covers the rider. Usually, this is an add-on called personal accident cover. Effectively, this coverage will insure you and anyone else that rides your horse - as long as they have permission to do so.
As a result, if someone gets injured while riding your horse, you will get a sum of money to cover things like medical costs, etc. The difference between this and public liability insurance is that it only covers instances where someone is riding your horse.
Can you get horse trailer insurance?
Many of you are probably wondering how a horse trailer gets covered by horse insurance. In truth, it does not! Unfortunately, you would need to add horse trailer insurance to your overall policy. Some people will actually only take out horse trailer insurance as they deem it to be the most important thing for them. Of course, the choice is entirely yours.
With this insurance, your horse trailer is protected when you transport your horse. It's similar to car insurance in that you're covered for things like accidental damage, theft, and so on. You will also get public liability for the trailer.
What is the cost of horse insurance?
You should always compare horse insurance to find the best quote around. Prices will vary from provider to provider, but they are usually based on the same factors:
- How old is your horse? Younger horses are cheaper to insure, and the premiums go up as they age.
- What activities do you use your horse for? Suppose they are a showjumping or competing horse. In that case, the premium will be higher than a horse that's used for casual riding around a field.
- What coverage do you want? Naturally, the more coverage you add to your policy, the more the premium will go up.
The health of your horse is also a key factor when buying insurance policies. In fact, many providers will not insure your horse if it has any pre-existing medical conditions. They deem it as too risky, so they stay clear of horses like this.
When it comes to finding cheap horse insurance, the best thing you can do is search online for quotes. A quick Google search will point you in the right direction, then play around with the coverage options until you find one that suits your needs and your budget.
Hopefully, this has given you all the information you need to make an informed decision on horse insurance. It is not an essential requirement, but it can help you avoid many financial issues in the future.
Insurance companies tend to be up there with estate agents in the popularity stakes. Nobody likes spending their hard earned cash on insurance but the right policy is a good investment and could be a life saver. It is important that your needs are covered but there is no point in paying more than necessary for your horse insurance policy.
Beware of Short Term Special Offers
From time to time, many insurers will offer special deals to entice you to sign up. These may be in the form of reduced premiums for a certain period and this type of offer can look like a great deal. However, you should check the policy carefully to ensure that those up front discounts are not off-set by excessive charges further down the line. It is often the case that insurers will partner special deals with even more special conditions! Make sure that your policy's level of cover hasn't been reduced along with the price.
Know What You Are Buying
Always read your policy thoroughly including the smallest of small print. Insurers will try to bury any bad news. Any downsides to the cover are unlikely to be highlighted in the policy summary. If there is anything in the wording that you do not understand then seek clarification before proceeding.
Purchase the Right Level of Cover
You should try to avoid paying too much for your policy but don't attempt to mitigate your costs by dropping cover that you might actually need. Compare the cover offered by several policies. Identify exactly what you require as there maybe cover available for eventualities that you hadn't thought about. On the other hand, don't pay for cover that you definitely won't require. If you don't get involved in certain activities or competitions then you don't need to be covered for them.
Think About Your Excess
With many policies you can enjoy a lower premium by increasing the excess. Only consider this option if you can comfortably afford to cover the excess in the event of a claim.
If you are investing in a new horse then get him thoroughly vetted before parting with your cash. This expense represents short term pain for long term gain. You may be prepared to take on a horse with issues but repeated claims on your horse insurance will result in a sharp escalation in your future premiums.
Horse Insurance Renewals
You may have found a good deal but pay attention to your renewal notices at the end of the year. It would be fair to say that insurers rarely put their prices down! Indeed, dramatic increases are not uncommon, even if your circumstances haven't changed and you haven't made a claim. The insurance companies rely on the fact that many people will take the hassle free route of renewing their existing policy without investigating their options. If you are unhappy with the renewal price quoted then get a comparative quote and then call your insurer to complain. If they won't budge on the price then take your business elsewhere.