Despite the most careful planning, accidents can happen, and for this reasonyou may decide you need equine insurance. The array of equine insurance options can be intimidating to the average horse owner and with the many different types of coverage available, only some choices may be appropriate for you and your horse. When evaluating insurance products, consider what risks you have for liability and loss, and then match those risks against the types of coverage available.
Types of cover
Veterinary – Depending on your policy your horse can be covered for all vet bills up to a maximum yearly allowance. Please note that most insurance companies require you to notify them before undergoing any major treatment/procedure.
Major medical & colic surgery – Only certain major medical procedures and colic surgery are covered.
Mortality – in the unfortunate event of death, theft or straying of your horse you can claim the insured amount back.
Loss of use – means the insured horse can never again be used for any one of the activities you have insured it for.
For you to make a claim your vet must state that, due to an illness or injury occurring during your policy period, your horse will never again be able to participate in the activities it is insured for. An example is a top level show jumping horse having an injury that doesn’t allow the horse to ever jump again.
Third party insurance (Public Liability) – This is insurance for injury to other individuals or damage to their property. For example, if your horse goes onto a road and causes an accident, you might be liable for damage to cars and injury to men and women. This insurance is to pay for any such financial liability. In some countries, horse owners are legally obligated to have this insurance. Note that this is insurance only for financial liability, not for criminal liability (e.g. if your horse causes serious injury or death due to negligence on your part, you could still be at risk of a jail sentence).
It is absolutely necessary to check carefully the conditions under which the policy will pay out and the conditions when it will not. An example of this would be if your horse died on the way to an equine hospital but you are not covered for transport. Insurance may decide not to pay out in this situation.
For Vet insurance check your policy details for which type of vet costs are included and which are excluded; are there any special conditions and are you required to obtain approval in advance?
Many people decide not to insure their horses for vet bills etc as they are covered by third party insurance through a different policy or are covered by membership to regional authorities. By saving the monthly insurance premium they are able to pay for major medical bills when and if they arrive.