Your Questions

Why insure your horse?

After a home and a car, a horse may be the next most expensive purchase that many people make and it is natural to want to protect your investment. There are many insurance policies available and it is worthwhile taking a little time to find out what is on offer. Buying the cheapest does not always mean you have got the best value, or the right insurance for your needs.

Illness, injury, theft or an accident can happen at any time and may result in unexpected bills. Accidents involving your horse may result in you being seriously injured or legally responsible to pay large amounts of compensation and legal bills. Insurance is designed to help reduce the worry of meeting these bills and ultimately means that you gain more enjoyment from your riding.

What insurance do you need?

Before purchasing insurance you should take the time to list your main areas of concern should you find yourself needing to make a claim.

For most horse owners, insurance for death, theft and legal liability is important. And now, with increasing levels of theft of both tack and trailers and the rising cost of veterinary fees due to advances in veterinary medicine and techniques, many owners opt to take out additional policy sections to protect against these costs.

What is the difference between Market Value, Sum Insured and Purchase Price?

Market Value is the price generally paid for a horse of the same age, breed, bloodline, sex and ability. Sum Insured is the amount you choose to insure your horse for. This value will be agreed between you and your insurer but is usually the price you bought your horse for. Purchase Price is the amount you actually paid for your horse.

In the event of a claim under Death, Theft or Loss of Use an insurer will always pay the lower amount of the sum insured or market value.

Can I insure my horse for more than the Market Value?

If you have only just bought your horse, the purchase price and market value should be the same and this is generally the amount you will insure for. This is because your insurance is designed to put you back into the same financial position you were in before your loss.

If your horse is home-bred its value will be agreed between you and your insurer based upon the market value of horses of similar age, breed, bloodline, sex and ability. You are likely to be asked to provide proof of your horse's ability and achievement to support your valuation.

What am I insured for?

This will depend on the benefits you chose when you took out your insurance cover. These will be detailed on your certificate of insurance. Your certificate should be read in conjunction with your policy terms and conditions to give you the full details.

Is my horse too old or too young to insure?

All companies differ with regard to the age of horses and ponies they will insure so you will need to speak to each one individually.

Most cover foals from 30 days onwards, although some can arrange insurance for foals in the womb. With some insurers, cover can then continue up to the age when your horse dies but companies will limit the level of cover offered on older horses and ponies. For example, you may be able to get full cover up to 20 years, after which cover for illness is not usually available and above 30 years you may only be able to arrange third party liability insurance.

What vet certificates do I need to take out insurance for my horse?

This depends on the sum insured, the age of your horse, the type of cover you require and the company you insure with. However, if a vet examined your horse before purchase, you should supply a copy of the examination certificate with your application.

For details of Petplan Equine's requirements, see Veterinary Requirements.

What is an excess?

An excess is the first part of a claim that you pay yourself. For example, for vet fee cover you will be required to pay an amount towards the cost of treatment for each illness or injury.

What does a 12-month cover period mean?

Under the Death, Vet's Fees and Permanent Loss of Use benefits there is usually a time limit within which you are covered in the event of a claim. This is usually 12-months but you should confirm this period with your insurer. The limit ends 12 months after the date of an injury or the date of the first clinical signs of an illness - it does not refer to the period of your annual policy.

For example, with a veterinary fee claim, if your horse is injured one month before your policy is due to renew, you are able to claim for treatment received for 12 months from the date of the injury.

If claiming for Death or Permanent Loss of Use your horse must die or be humanely destroyed or the Loss of Use must be proven within 12 months from the date of the injury or the date of the first clinical signs of the illness.

How do I go about choosing an insurance company?

Some key questions to consider when choosing your insurance company:

  • Are the staff knowledgeable and helpful?
  • Is the paperwork, particularly the policy terms and conditions easy to understand and written in plain English?
  • Do they have a good reputation for paying claims?
  • Will they still offer insurance for your horse when he gets older?
  • What paper work / veterinary certificates will they ask you to provide?
  • What benefit levels do they offer?