What cover do you really need to know when buying horse insurance? Here we break down the key things to consider:
Sum insured vs. purchase price
On the outset these may look like they require the same answer, however both have very different meanings and will greatly affect how much you pay for your policy. The purchase price of your horse is as stated, exactly how much you paid to take home your new steed. However the difference comes when answering the question of how much you would like the sum insured to be.
The sum insured can normally be changed after around 16 months of owning your horse and is included for when you win a competition, which will add to his value, or if he gets injured and reduces his market value.
If your horse is a new purchase, this should match the price of how much you paid for him, however, as I experienced with a few of the companies I called, they advised that I could lower this sum to reduce how much the policy would cost (one even based all my quotes on a lower price without informing me until the end, so be sure to ask in advance what they’re quoting you on). This sounds like a great idea in the short term as you’ll have more money in your pocket - until something goes wrong. In the unfortunate incident of your horse’s death, your insurance company will pay out based on the price you gave to them under sum insured. If you’ve set this at less than the price you paid for him then you’ll lose out, at the end of the day it’s a risk and one that may not pay out. Listen carefully and make notes while on the phone so that you can’t be tripped up, be sure to know exactly you’re your policy involves before you buy.
Permanent loss of use
Loss of use is one of the options people won’t take out in order to save money as it’s an added extra that will only benefit if you have a horse you compete regularly. The way loss of use works is if your horse suffers an accident or injury that means he’s unable to participate in one of the activities you have him
There are two points to consider when selecting veterinary fees, the first is the amount of cover you’d like to take it out for. This is an option specific to what you think you’ll need for your horse and premiums can range from £2,000 to £5,000. After this there are further options of how much excess you’d like to select. The higher the excess you set the lower your policy will be, however as with sum insured if you set an excess that you can’t afford, you’ll find yourself stuck in the event of a claim. The excess can range from £135 to £500 with options in between. One insurance company told me that the most popular option was £250.
There may be an age limit set on veterinary fees as horses will generally need more treatment as they age. When asked I found that one company stated that if you renewed your policy with them each year they would insure your horse up to the age of 25, so this is worth asking if adding this on to your policy.
Some companies will offer a separate extra which enables you to maintain a low excess but in the event of a claim you’d be liable to pay out a percentage of the veterinary bills. This is great if you want to keep the price of your policy low, but make sure you have funds available in the event of needing to claim.
This is also known as third party liability and is cover for your horse if he damages anything that isn’t yours, for example, if he kicks out at a car or escapes and damages land or property and even covers death. As with other options there are different levels of cover to choose from ranging from £1million to £5million.
If you’re not a member of the British Horse Society and aren’t part of a riding school which already covers you for personal accident it may be worth considering getting this included in your policy. The different levels include different elements and some of the higher options will cover you for dental injuries and disability costs. Check with different insurers to see what there cover includes.