Your Questions

Cover Benefits

Do I need to get the insurance company's agreement before my horse is destroyed?

Many owners and vets assume that the insurance company must be contacted to give their permission before a horse is destroyed by a vet. This is not always necessary.

Strict guidelines are issued to vets by their governing body, the British Equine Veterinary Association and a statement issued by BEVA in July 1996, with regard to the destruction of horses, offers vets the following advice on when immediate destruction is justified and when an insurance company should be notified.

For immediate destruction they state:

"That the insured horse sustains an 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 of 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:

  1. i.requesting that the insurance company be contacted or, failing that
  2. ii.arranging for a second opinion from another veterinary surgeon"

This means that if a vet feels that a horse should be destroyed immediately on humane grounds, they should not delay proceedings by contacting the insurance company. If, however, effective first aid treatment can be given, every effort should be made to notify the insurer that destruction may be necessary.

Are there any time limits on when I can make a death claim?

Insurance companies will normally pay the market value of your horse if it dies or is humanely destroyed within 12 months of the date of first clinical signs of injury or illness. However there are some exceptions as follows: Insurance companies will generally not cover death:

  • As a result of an injury that happened or an illness that first showed clinical signs before your horses insurance started.
  • As a result of an illness that first showed clinical signs within the first 14 days of your horse's insurance starting.

What if my horse dies under anaesthesia?

Not all insurance companies will pay if your horse dies as a result of an anaesthetic for non-life saving surgery and some companies will only pay a death claim for death during surgery if you have Vet Fees insurance. Some insurers may require an additional premium to include cover for death as a result of any surgery carried out under general anaesthesia.

Will the insurance company want to see the body?

It is only natural to want to dispose of the body of a horse after it has died or been destroyed. However, if you are claiming for death your insurance company will need to know the cause of death and this may mean a post-mortem examination being carried out. You should contact your insurer and confirm whether a post-mortem report is needed so that you can arrange for your vet to examine the body as soon as possible.

If you dispose of the body of a horse without getting a post-mortem report your insurance company may refuse to settle the claim.

Why are insurance companies reluctant to confirm whether they will pay a death claim over the phone?

Until the insurance company has time to look at all the information about a claim, including the post-mortem report and medical history of the horse, they are unlikely to be able to advise you whether or not they will be able to pay a death claim under the policy.

The best way to speed up payment is to fill out the claim form as quickly as possible and send it to your insurance company with all the documents and information asked for.