Insurance has become one of life’s essentials and is especially vital in the equestrian world. With an animal as unpredictable as a horse, the ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude is not a plausible excuse. Jeremy Lawton of Shearwater Insurance helps you find your way through the minefield of insurance…
We all know that horses are a costly investment – and no one can predict the future of such an unpredictable animal. This is why it is very import
ant to take out a valid insurance policy to protect your expenditure. Like many other purchases, such as a car, you would not spend thousands of pounds on an item without considering insurance, there are a number of things that could potentially go wrong with a horse – so a comprehensive protection is imperative.
What should be covered?
There are different ranges of cover, dependant on the value of your horse, the work they will carry out and the level of cover required. However the main areas to consider are vet’s bills, mortality, loss of use, theft and public liability. Shearwater, will offer tailor made policies to ensure you have the correct level of cover for your needs.
It is not uncommon for a horse to seem perfectly healthy one day and then in a critical state a day later – vet’s treatments are rising year on year and without having adequate cover for this you could be faced with a hefty bill, or a heart breaking decision. When insured for vet’s fees an insurance policy will cover non-routine vet’s bills up to various levels dependant on the policy taken out. These will usually hold an excess which the owner is responsible for paying – the insurance company will then evaluate the claim and pay the remaining fees either directly to the vet or to the customer.
When taking out a new policy it is important to check whether there are certain treatments that are not covered – for example some diagnostic and alternative remedies – as well as familiarising yourself with the excesses and limits that your policy allows. In the event of an incident occurring your vet should b
e able to give you an approximate cost for treatment so you can inform your insurance company as soon as possible to ensure you will be covered.
Mortality cover ensures that in the event of the death of your horse you will receive a sum of money from your insurance company. This sum may take in to consideration many factors to decide the amount given. At a difficult time emotionally this is coverage that you should be sure protects you fully to reduce the possibility of further heart ache. Policies vary, but generally cover death as a result of accident or injury; death due to illness or disease; euthanasia based on humane grounds which must be confirmed by a qualified practitioner and loss from theft, unlawful removal or straying. Extensions are often available tailored to the customer’s requirements and ensure that the most comprehensive cover is offered.
Permanent loss of use
Again this varies between companies, but in the event of a claim for loss of use it has to be proven that the horse will never again be able to do the job for which it was insured. Horses which have been subjected to a loss of use claim are now freeze-marked with an ‘L’ to ensure that they are not sold on or used further after a pay-out.
Third party and public liability
This is one of the most important aspects of insurance and will protect you in the event of your horse injuring a third party, or damaging their property. Without this cover you could be held liable for any damages caused in the event of an accident involving a member of the public. Some registration authorities offer automatic coverage when you become a member, such as the British Horse Society and British Eventing. Check to see if you are covered as it could save you money on your premium.
What about the rider?
Many people take out insurance for their horses but do not consider themselves. However rider insurance is now something that should be considered further.
A Personal Accident Policy will ensure that you are protected in the event of an accident occurring. Within this policy it is important to check the amoun
t you would be entitled to in the event of Temporary, or in some circumstances Permanent Total Disability. This means that should you be injured and are unable to work you will still receive money up to a certain amount – particularly vital if you are self employed.
As well as this you should check whether you are covered purely for equestrian activities, as some equine insurance will only offer this, or if you buy a policy from a non equestrian insurer you may find that it does not cover you for all equestrian activities.
When looking for rider insurance it is important that you know exactly what you need to be covered for, for example, should you be exercising other people’s horses for them, or a competing at a certain level, you need to have the relevant cover.
A responsibility to your horse
Insurance may well be a cost that many people overlook – and at times it may seem unnecessary. However with costs rising and finances tight it is something you should consider, can you afford not to take it out? There are policies to meet everyone’s requirements out there and you are not obliged to take out the first one you request. Shop around to be sure you are purchasing a policy you are completely confident in.
For more information on the services that Shearwater Insurance offer, or for a free,
no obligation quote, tel: 08700 767 666 or visit: www.shearwater-insurance.co.uk