When taking out cover with Petplan Equine the policy will automatically include death and loss by theft or straying and to make a valid death claim your horse’s condition must meet the BEVA guidelines for the destruction of horses, along with the other terms and conditions of your policy.
Rest in Peace
There comes a time in many a horse’s life when, as owners, we must put our own feelings aside and take the difficult decision to end its life on compassionate grounds. Here, Petplan Equine’s Senior Marketing Executive, Charlotte Collyer, herself a horse owner explains how this insurance works and why it is important that specific guidelines must be followed.
It is not nice to think about our horses dying but at some point it is likely to be a reality for all of us. The important thing is that in all cases the horse’s best interests must be put at the forefront of any decisions regarding euthanasia.
From an insurance view, all horse owners need to be aware of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Guidelines for the Destruction of Horses. To claim for the death of your horse, the horse’s condition must meet these criteria.
The guidelines state that ‘an affected horse’ needs to meet the following requirements:
“That the insured horse sustains and injury or manifests an illness or disease that is so severe as to warrant immediate destruction to relieve incurable and excessive pain and that no other options for treatment are available to that horse at that time”*
“If immediate destruction cannot be justified then the attending veterinary surgeon should provide effective first aid treatment before:
- requesting that the insurance company be contacted or, failing that
- arranging for a second opinion from another veterinary surgeon
For an insurer to consider a death claim there must be no treatment options available and this is irrespective of other considerations such as the horse’s age, temperament or ability to perform in a particular discipline.
Critical illness or injury
Both vets and insurance companies know that it isn’t always possible to inform your insurers in advance that your horse needs to euthanised – in the case of critical injury or severe acute illness – and waiting while you make the call will not be in your horse’s best interests. With this in mind, as an owner, you should ask your vet for advice as to whether they believe your horse’s condition meets the guidelines so you can make an informed decision.
At Petplan Equine, the decision to settle a death claim would not be affected by the owner’s ability to call prior to their horse being euthanised. However, ultimately it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure compliance with their insurance policy if they are looking to have an insurance claim settled. We understand that as a horse owner you may choose to put your horse to sleep knowing that the BEVA criteria is not met (and therefore a claim would not be considered by your insurance company), because it is the correct decision for both your horse and yourself.
The BEVA Guidelines state: for less urgent cases, in particular chronic illness or lameness where the horse’s condition is deteriorating to the point at which euthanasia will be required, it is essential for vets and owners to keep insurers informed of the situation and to mutually agree or negotiate an appropriate course of action, if necessary involving their veterinary adviser. Such cases may require a second opinion on behalf of the insurers before euthanasia can be undertaken.
If your decision to euthanise your horse will be influenced by Petplan Equine’s decision to pay the death claim, then your vet should complete a Humane Destruction Request (HDR) through our specialist equine team who, within 72 hours, will provide you with a decision as to whether your claim will be paid. You can contact the claims team on (0845) 072 8899.
Communication is key
The most important advice I can give is to be aware that the guidelines exist, ask pertinent questions early on and keep lines of communication open with your vet and insurers right from the beginning. At Petplan Equine we will provide you with all the advice you need and, if the time comes, you will find your claim will be handled sympathetically as well as efficiently.
Loss of Use Insurance
Loss of Use is insurance that replaces a horse’s value if he is no longer able to take part in the activities an owner has insured him to do. At Petplan Equine when we receive claims for a horse’s death where the horse’s condition did not meet the BEVA guidelines and we are unable to settle the claim, it may be that the horse’s condition meet the criteria for a Permanent Loss of Use claim and assuming the policy holder has cover for Loss of Use this benefit may be paid instead.
- Source: BEVA Guidelines for the Destruction of Horses Under All Risks Mortality Insurance Policy