Is Horse insurance worth it?

What’s important to consider when choosing horse insurance?

It is many a child’s dream to have a pony or horse and for those lucky enough to be able to afford them it is often a huge dilemma whether or not to buy horse insurance. It seems that every aspect of owning a horse or pony is expensive and owners often wonder whether insurance is worth the additional cost.

Fundamentally we believe that every horse or pony should get the vet care they need, when they need it. Horse health insurance is one way of ensuring you don’t have to make difficult decisions based on cost if the unthinkable happened.   

There are several other types of horse insurance to consider and the choice can often be bewildering so we’ve researched what’s on offer and try to answer as many frequently asked questions as we can, to help you make an informed choice. 

  • What types of horse insurance policy are available in UK?
  • How important is it to understand policy exclusions and terms and conditions?
  • What factors will affect my horse insurance premiums?
  • If I save the premium value each month is that a workable alternative to buying horse insurance? 
  • Where can I find out what horse insurance customers REALLY think about their insurer?

There are several types of horse insurance in the UK that help owners cover costs when something terrible happens to their horses, to other people or property and to themselves. Many insurers allow you to select the cover to suit your needs including 1 or more of the cover options described below. 

Third Party Liability cover protects an owner or rider if they are involved in an accident with their horse where other people, horses or property are injured or damaged. Horse and ponies are big animals and if something goes wrong while you are out and about this cover will protect you against claims made against you. We feel this is absolutely crucial to have this insurance in place and all horse insurers offer it. There are usually choices in Liability cover limits and some policies offer more than one excess fee option. It is also possible to obtain through British Horse Society membership.   

Basic Horse Insurance usually covers death of your horse, Loss or Theft to a value of your choice.  

Horse Health Insurance is available for horses to cover vet fees and usually provides a choice of per condition or accident pay-out limits, so you can tailor the cover you buy to your needs. 

Personal Accident Cover is available to protect you and your family from hardship should you be injured, permanently disabled, or killed in an accident. Third Party Liability is usually included and some policies cover hospitalisation and dental treatment as a result of an accident. It’s possible to get cover to pay for someone else to take care of your horse if you are unable to, too. Cover is available for children who ride, with tuition fees cover for those unable to attend school because of injury. Some policies include some emergency vet fee cover for the horse. 

Many insurers also offer a Rider-Only policy offering protection for people who ride other people’s horses for them. Typically, the policy covers Personal Accident, Disability or Death, Third Party Liability and custodial liability cover. Cover is available for riders from 5 years to 75 years of age. 

Veteran Horse Insurance is usually a basic policy that covers the death, loss or theft of your horse up to a set value and covers horses from around 20 years of age. Some policies include cover for vet fees for injury up to a limit and third party liability cover.     

Other insurance types available include tack and saddlery cover and horse trailer cover.   

Many policies have a policy excess which you will pay as part of each claim, and sometimes it is possible to buy policies where you can choose the excess you pay. 

All policies have exclusions, limits for different sorts of treatment or claim, and conditions so it’s always important to read the terms and conditions before committing to any purchase. Take a look at our compare horse insurance page to start your research and get a flavour of the options on offer. 

Claims being unexpectedly rejected are one of the main reasons why people become disillusioned with their insurance. It’s vital to check the terms and conditions thoroughly to understand what is excluded and what the cover limits are by types of claim. All insurers specify your responsibilities in the care of your horse so read those details carefully to make sure you are complying with their requirements. Some also have rules about the time period in which you have to claim after consulting a vet so watch out for sneaky rules, too!

It’s a good idea to check the initial waiting period, which is the time that needs to pass after taking out the policy before you can claim. 

If you buy Horse Health Insurance check whether or not your policy covers illnesses, or just accidents and injuries as many health insurance policies for older horses will only cover accidents. It is usually possible to choose the amount of vet fee cover you buy.

You will need to know if the cover is per condition, or for total vet fees in a given time period. If you have per condition cover the pay-out limit may also be time limited so that claims for any one condition will cease to be covered once you reach your pay-out limit for that condition or (for example) 12 month elapses from first on-set of the condition. Please check the details with your chosen insurer. 

A common exclusion is ‘pre-existing conditions’. This means that the insurer will not cover any claims linked to an accident or illness that occurred before you took out your policy. This can also extend to excluding conditions developing in the opposite limb to a previous occurrence of the same condition. For example, if your pony has a ligament strain in the left fore leg, a similar strain in the right fore leg might not be covered. This is why it is a good idea to buy horse vet fee cover as soon as you get your horse or pony, but you may need vet certification of fitness before the policy will be confirmed. 

All insurers will ask you specify the types of activities you and your horse enjoy before quoting. Check the different levels of activity classifications to be sure you select the correct one and if you are not sure please ask the insurer to help you. 

If you have any questions about cover, please ask the insurer before you buy to make absolutely sure you are buying a policy that is right for you. 

Several insurers offer veteran horse insurance, but the definition of ‘veteran’ varies from 16 and older, to 20 and older or even 25 and older. Some polices have upper age limits, and some don’t. Most veteran insurance only covers death from an accident, and vet fee cover is usually only offered for accidents, not illnesses. Theft and loss from straying is covered. Its always a good idea to get a few quotes to see who will provide the best cover for your older friend.

There are lots of rider-only policies on the market to protect you if you ride someone else’s horse or pony. The insurance provides personal accident cover, third party liability cover and often offers custodial liability cover too. Many providers allow you to choose the level of cover you buy. 

If you want to buy cover for your death as well as permanent injury or disability, check the policy wording as not all providers cover rider death. Dental repair is worth checking carefully too as some providers will cover any dental work and others don’t.  Some policies include limited cover for emergency vet fees in the event of an accident. Cover is available for riders from 5 to 75 years of age.

Premiums are calculated based on all the information you give when requesting the quote. The type of policy you select will affect what you pay, but other factors are important too. 

Once you have selected the scope of cover you need there are some factors that affect the amount you pay that you can do little about such as where you live. If you buy horse health insurance offering vet fee cover premiums can vary depending on where you live because vet fees vary across the country. 

Most horse insurance providers allow you to choose the insurance cover elements you want to buy and choose your own excess amounts and levels of cover. Lowering the amounts you can claim will help to reduce your monthly premiums.

The types of activities you and your horse enjoy will affect your premiums; the more dangerous, the activity the higher your premiums. If you take part in serious competitions in any discipline, play polo or point to point you may need specialist insurance.

It’s a fact that most racehorses aren’t insured for anything other than third party liability as the insurance would be just too expensive to make it worthwhile! 

Some people consider saving as much as they can each month and hoping it will cover vet fees or other costs resulting from personal injury or an accident. The truth is all responsible horse owners should have Third Party Liability insurance and a form of personal injury insurance to protect you from enormous liability should the unthinkable happen. 

Vet fee insurance can be expensive, but vet fees for diagnosis and treatment can be very expensive, quickly mount up and become unmanageable. It’s important to consider what you could afford if your horse suddenly fell ill or had an accident and whether saving money each month is likely to cover the fees sufficiently. It is a big risk to leave yourself exposed to climbing vet fees, and you risk having to make a tough decision about your horse’s future for financial rather than health reasons; a position no owner wants to be in.

Horse Health Insurance to cover vet fees is for the unthinkable. It’s there so that when your horse needs you, you don’t have to think twice about buying them the best possible care, so they can get back on their feet quickly.

We are actively encouraging horse insurance policy holders to tell us and all our site visitors what they think of their insurance provider. If you are a customer, please leave a review and help us to build a source of independent opinion all horse and pony owners can rely on when making their own decisions about what to buy. 

If you are considering horse insurance, please use our community to learn what it’s really like to be each insurers customer. You can visit each insurers page from our insurers home page and read genuine owner’s reviews and opinions about each insurer’s customer service and claim handling. This kind of information won’t be on the insurer’s site, but it so valuable to know what it will be like to deal with them when you are coping with the stress and consequences of an accident or illness.

You can see our full list of reviews here and don’t forget to share your own experiences to help others make the right decision too.

Advertiser Disclosure:

The information above is non-specific to any particular pet insurance policy and should be regarded as a basic overview of the type of features that may feature in a policy. The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author. Always refer to an insurer for specific, accurate information on their policy features.