Compare Equine Insurance Policies
Horses are much more expensive investments than dogs and cats and it’s a wise choice to protect your assets. Horses are also capable of incurring much higher vet bills than small animals like dogs and cats, so cover for accidental injuries and the like is a must to ensure that you can give your horse the treatment it needs and won’t have to compromise on care.
Then there’s a whole other range of risks to consider including third party liability if your horse injures another person or damages their property, death due to accident or severe disease, loss of use and theft or straying.
It’s possible to take out a horse insurance to protect yourself financially against a range of risks which regularly confront horse owners. Having this type of cover in place provides security and confidence for all equine enthusiasts.
Do I Really Need Horse Insurance?
If you’re a horse lover, you want to give your animal the best veterinary care possible. Similarly, if your horses are crucial to your occupation or your ability to earn an income, you’ll also want to make sure you can look after them in times of need.
Pet insurance is designed to help you cover eligible vet bills when your pet suffers an illness or accidental injury. Particularly for large animals like horses, vet bills for things like broken bones or severe illness can quickly add up to leave you with a whole lot of debt. But pet insurance for horses can help you cover much of the cost associated with giving your horse the treatment he needs, giving you a great deal of peace of mind when it comes to your much-loved pet. And when you consider that horses are quite accident-prone animals — studies have shown that the chances of making a horse insurance claim are 28 times greater than claiming on a house insurance policy — the importance of taking out cover becomes even clearer.
On top of that, you’ll need to consider the fact that a horse may be one of the most expensive investments you ever make. It makes sense to protect your investment, which is where horse insurance comes to the rescue.
Accident and illness can strike at any time, while thieves can also make off with your prized horses. In addition, if you’re involved in an accident with your horse, you may suffer a severe injury yourself or even have third party liability issues to worry about. Horse insurance is designed to help lessen the financial burden in such circumstances, giving you the security you need to simply enjoy your riding and not have to worry about what will happen if something goes wrong.
What Does Equine Insurance Cover?
While the exact type and level of cover offered does differ between policies, a typical equine insurance policy will provide cover for the following:
If your insured horse dies or is slaughtered on humane grounds as a result of an injury or illness sustained or contracted within the period of insurance, your policy will provide a benefit payment. You’ll need to notify your insurance company of the horse’s death within the period of insurance. Many policies will also offer an additional payment to help you cover the cost of a post mortem examination and an autopsy report. The benefit you receive will not exceed the lower of either the market value of the horse shown in your policy schedule or the sum insured. There are also certain circumstances when claims won’t be paid, such as if your horse is slaughtered without the opinion of a veterinary surgeon that this is the most humane and essential course of action. In addition, you won’t receive a benefit if your horse is destroyed by the order of any government, local authority or relevant governing body.
Theft or straying
If your insured horse is stolen or strays within the insured period and is not recovered within 90 days, your policy will provide a benefit payment. Many policies will also help you cover the cost of advertising to try and track down strayed or lost horses, plus the payment of a reward that leads to a recovery. However, remember that in the event of a theft or attempted theft, you must contact your local police station immediately and comply with any instructions they may give.
Loss of irrecoverable entry fees
If you make a claim under the Mortality section of your policy following the death or slaughter of your horse, you may also find that you are left out of pocket for entry fees (to shows, races etc) that you have already paid but now cannot be recovered. Your horse insurance policy will provide cover for the cost of those fees you cannot recover, up to a certain limit.
In certain circumstances, you might be deemed legally liable to pay damages and a claimant’s costs and expenses after causing the accidental death, bodily injury, illness or disease of any person; or the loss of or damage to property owned by a third party. In these situations, horse insurance provides essential financial cover for your legal liability. However, the liability must typically occur within Australia or New Zealand and must be caused by, or arise in relation to, any horse named in your policy schedule. The costs and expenses you incur in relation to the liability with your insurer’s consent, for example hiring a lawyer, will also be covered under your policy. However, there are certain circumstances under which your claim will not be paid, such as if you are seeking compensation for the death or bodily injury of a person who is under a contract of employment with you.
Loss of use
If your insured horse suffers an injury or contracts an illness which results in it becoming totally and permanently unable to perform the functions and duties required for its normal use, you’ll receive a benefit payment. If you elect to keep the horse, you’ll typically receive up to 75% of the sum insured. If the horse is slaughtered, you’ll receive a payment totalling 100% of the sum insured. However, this diagnosis of total and permanent incapacity will have to be agreed upon by both your veterinary surgeon and the insurance company’s representative. If you elect to keep the horse and receive a 75% benefit but then the horse regains its ability to perform its regular duties within 24 months, you’ll have to refund the benefit to your insurance provider.
Loss of use for breeding
If your horse becomes permanently and totally impotent, infertile or permanently incapable of natural service as a result of an accident caused by violent external and visible means or illness or disease, your policy will offer a benefit payment to compensate you for your loss. However, you’ll only receive a benefit if you produce satisfactory evidence as to the condition of your horse, and (in case of illness or disease) three months have elapsed from the date you notify your insurer of the condition.
Loss of use—cosmetic
If an injury, illness or cosmetic condition results in your horse being unsuitable for its main use as shown in your policy schedule, you’ll receive a benefit payment.
Saddlery and tack
If you suffer loss or damage to saddlery and tack belonging to you or family members living with you, you’ll receive a benefit amount for each horse. However, you’ll need to support any claim by providing proof of purchase or a valuation, plus per-item limits will typically apply to most policies. All items must also be kept overnight in a locked private house or building, and if the items are stolen you will need to notify local police immediately.
If any horse trailer or horse-drawn vehicle included in your policy suffers loss or damage as a result of a fire, theft or accident, your policy will provide a benefit payment. The benefit payment will represent the lesser of the market value, sum insured or the cost of repairs. In the event of theft, you must notify your local police station as soon as possible. However, you will not be covered if the vehicle is damaged while being used in cross country driving trials or competitions.
Personal accident and dental cover
Under this section of a policy, a benefit will be paid when you, or someone else with your permission, is riding or in control of the horse and sustains an accidental bodily injury which leads to death or disablement. Benefits are typically available for accidental death, the loss of sight in one or both eyes, the loss of use of one or more limbs, permanent total disablement and dental treatment.
What Does Horse Insurance Generally not cover?
Just as you’d expect from any type of insurance policy, horse insurance includes a range of exclusions. Under most such policies, your claim will not be paid if:
- Your horse is put down without the insurer’s consent or without the opinion of a qualified veterinary surgeon that immediate slaughter is necessary for humane reasons.
- Your horse is destroyed under the order of any government or local authority.
- It is for any surgical operation, unless the operation has been approved by the insurer or is carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon in an immediate attempt to save the horse’s life.
- Your horse is used for any purpose other than the one specified in your policy schedule.
- Your claim is a result of your horse being administered with drugs or medication, unless they are required because of accident, illness or disease.
- It results from malicious injury by you, your family or your employees.
- If you lodge a public liability claim, no compensation will be paid to the rider of the horse, nor to you or any member of your family. Death, injury, illness or disease suffered by a person under a contract of service or apprenticeship with you will also not be covered, nor will loss or damage to fences or crops.
- Your claim is for disfigurement resulting from injury or illness that has made a horse unfit for showing due to appearance.
- Your claim is for abnormalities of the reproductive organs in horses kept for breeding.
- Your claim is related to a pre-existing condition.
- Your claim is for clothing, personal effects, clippers, or a harness used with any horse-drawn vehicle.
- Your claim is for loss or damage resulting from mildew, wear and tear, depreciation etc.
It is for a vehicle or trailer which is stolen from unlocked premises overnight, unless it is wheel clamped.
- Your claim is for death or disablement of a person aged over 70 years.
- Your claim is for death or disablement while the insured person is engaging in racing of any kind.
Important Conditions Applied to Horse Insurance
When taking out horse insurance, keep in mind that several vital conditions will apply to your cover. These include:
- The health of your horse. When you take out cover your horse must be in sound health and not be suffering from any illness, disease, injury or physical disability. Existing abnormalities are not covered by most horse insurance policies.
- Compliance with veterinary advice. You must immediately seek advice from your veterinary surgeon as soon as your horse falls ill or has an accident, plus you must also notify your insurer. You must then follow your veterinarian’s advice and recommendations in regards to treatment, rest and rehabilitation. If a horse dies, you’ll need to arrange for a veterinary surgeon to determine the cause of death via post mortem examination.
- Security of equipment. Insuring saddles, bridles, harnesses and other important pieces of riding equipment offers peace of mind to horse owners. However, you must ensure that those items are kept overnight in a private house or locked building—if you don’t you will not be covered for the loss or theft of those items.
- Limitations of use. Take note that your horse must only be used for the purpose outlined in your insurance policy schedule.
How Much Does Horse Insurance Cost?
A number of factors can influence the cost of your horse insurance premiums, including:
- The age of your animal. Older animals are generally more likely to suffer more health problems, and are also likely to take longer to recover from those problems than their younger counterparts. Expect this to be reflected in your premiums.
- Its gender. Some conditions are more likely affect males rather than females, and vice versa.
- The breed of horse. Certain breeds cost more to buy and are also more prone to suffering from certain health problems, so you can expect tp pay higher premiums as a result.
- The type of policy you choose. The higher the level of cover, the more you can obviously expect to pay for premiums.
- The number of horses you insure.
- The cost of the items you insure. The more expensive your saddles, harnesses, horse trailers and horse-drawn vehicles are, the more you can expect to pay for cover.
How Do I Make a Horse Insurance Claim?
You’ll need to take action as soon as possible after an event that leads to loss or damage of any kind. If your horse dies you’ll need to:
- Immediately notify your insurer
- Have a post mortem examination completed and an autopsy report prepared by a licensed veterinarian, at your expense
- Provide your insurer with a copy of the post mortem examination and autopsy report, as well as signed and sworn proof of loss
In the event of straying, theft or malicious damage, make a report to your local police station as soon as possible.
Once you’ve notified your insurer, they will inform you what you need to do to complete the claims process. You’ll typically have to fill out a claim form and provide supporting documentation for your claim.
You’ll typically have to pay an excess when you make a claim, though the exact amount will be calculated based on an assessment of risk. When calculating the amount of your benefit payment, your insurer will not pay a sum that exceeds the value of your horse, trailer or equipment as shown in your policy schedule.
A cooling-off period (typically 14 days in length) applies to horse insurance policies. This means that you have 14 days once you have been issued your policy to change your mind and cancel cover, and you will receive a full refund of any premiums you have paid.
When is a Good Time to Take Out Horse Insurance?
If you’re considering taking out horse insurance cover, it’s a good idea to get a veterinarian to examine your horse for any health problems before purchasing cover. However, even if your horse passes a vet’s examination, insurance companies may still specify a number of exclusions based on your animal’s pre-existing conditions. With this in mind, it’s often best to purchase adequate cover before you even buy your horse. This is the easiest and safest way to guarantee peace of mind and financial security when it comes to looking after your horse.