The first-ever equine lifetime insurance policy has been launched in the UK and has been hailed by vets as a great step forward for equine welfare — and could even save horse owners money.

The policy from Swedish insurance company Agria is said to remove some of the uncertainty that owners can face when insuring their horses, as nothing claimed for while lifetime cover is in place will be added as an exclusion when the policy reaches its annual renewal date, providing continuous cover remains in place.

The lifetime policy provides cover for vet fees up to £10,000 every year. Only issues/injuries that occurred before the insurance policy was taken out will be excluded.

“A lifelong insurance policy would provide much reassurance not just to owners but also vets. We work hard to help our patients by happy and healthy, not just for tomorrow but always aiming for long-term quality of life,” said equine vet Lucinda Ticehurst.

“Without the worry of exclusions, I believe owners would act more quickly and comprehensively with conditions rather than wait until they were significant – preventing issues deteriorating and ultimately helping to benefit horse welfare.

“Many disorders are not curable but require ongoing veterinary intervention,” continued Lucinda. “It is devastating to fight so hard with complex cases, be making real progress only for finances to become prohibitive to keep investigation and treatment going.”

‘No longer a choice of call the vet or wait and see’

The policy can be taken out for equines as young as 30 days old and is transferable between owners in the event of the horse or pony being sold.

It means that if the equine has suffered an injury or been unwell during a person’s ownership, that injury/illness will continue to be covered when ownership transfers, providing the policy is not cancelled or cover does not lapse.

“Bringing lifetime horse insurance to the equine world allows horse owners the reassurance that vets’ bills can be covered year after year for recurring injuries or repetitive or chronic conditions, ensuring their horses’ lifelong welfare,” said a statement from Agria.

“A lifetime policy, with up to £10,000 of vet fees cover every year, means that owners will no longer face the difficult decision of whether to call the vet or wait and see.”

A spokesperson for Agria confirmed that premiums — paid monthly or annually — are not affected by making claims but, just like any insurance, prices do change with time and other varying factors.

“We understand that every horse is an individual, which is why our policies offer owners a flexible range of options that are reliable, uncomplicated and revolutionary to the UK horse world,” said Vicki Wentworth, managing director of Agria in the UK who is also a keen event rider. 

“At last, the equine industry has access to a lifetime policy, meaning horses will receive the care and treatment they need to live a full and happy life beyond the first year’s initial treatment plan,” added Vicki. 

“We know the responsibility owners feel to ensure the welfare of their beloved horses, and now there is finally an insurance product to help share the care and financial load.” 

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