Horse insurance can be a confusing topic, especially when there are so many options out there. We have put together this simple guide to help explain the different parts of a horse insurance policy.
Mortality insurance covers your horse should he be killed, die or have to be put down by a vet on humane grounds, due to an accident, sickness or disease (please note that the British Equine Veterinary Association guidelines must be met for a claim to be valid). In the event of a valid claim you will receive your horses insured value, this should be the current market value of your horse if you were to sell him, unless you decide to under insure to keep the premium down. Along with the sum insured you will also receive up to £200 disposal costs*.
Loss of Use Insurance
Loss of Use insurance covers your horse should he be permanently incapable of doing the activity he has been vetted and insured to do, for example you buy a horse that is currently competing at Novice and it passes a 5 stage vetting for this purpose. Your horse then injures a tendon and despite lots of treatment and box rest the prognosis is that he will never event again. He would however be suitable as a light hack or field companion. In this instance if you choose to put your horse down it would not be a mortality claim as you would be putting him down on economic grounds and not humane grounds. With loss of use insurance in place you would receive a % of his value, depending on the % you decided to insure, whether you kept him in retirement or chose to put him down.
Vets Fee Insurance
This is the most popular part of a horse insurance policy, it is where we see the most claims (with some classes of use seeing one in every two horses making a claim) and is therefore the most expensive. The first step to picking a suitable vet fee insurance option is to consider whether you want full cover (for any accidents, injuries, sickness or diseases that are not pre-existing) or whether you are happy with more limited cheaper cover, such as the KBIS Catastrophe Cover (for open wounds, colic surgery, joint and tendon sheath flushing due to sepsis and surgery for fractured pastern and pedal bones). Once you have decided this you can then pick your incident limit (if you are opting for full cover), either £3,500* per incident or £6,000*. Finally you need to pick an excess you are happy with. You can read our full vets fee guide at http://bit.ly/Vets-Fees-KBIS
How does insurance work?
Insurance is based on two main principles; firstly that it is there to cover the unexpected and therefore anything pre-existing will not be covered, so when purchasing a horse with medical history you should consider implications on the insurance available. Secondly, insurance premiums are paid in to a ‘pool’ and it is this ‘pool’ that is used to pay for claims, it must be maintained at a level that can sustain the number of claims that are made, historically the cost of paying vets fees increases year on year and this means that your premium may also increase on a yearly basis so that the ‘pool’ is maintained at a sustainable level.
Tips for insuring your horse:
It is always worth insuring your horse as soon as you pay for it, if you insure your horse within 7 days of purchase and vetting you can receive full cover straight away (avoiding an accidental, external injury only period)*.
Amend your level of cover as required, this can be done at any point during the policy and as you go up the levels in eventing you may need to increase the Class of Use.
Always review your cover at renewal, you should check that your horse is in the correct class of use, has an appropriate sum insured, and has a level of vets fee cover that you are happy with.
When buying an experienced event horse it isn’t uncommon for it to have pre-existing issues that need managing. When insuring your horse you can ask for the exact exclusions that will be applied prior to insuring the horse so you know where you stand.
As a minimum you should always make sure you have Public Liability insurance in place if nothing else.
Please note that this article refers to insurance policies with KBIS British Equestrian Insurance and the cover available will change with different providers*