Finding the right sort of insurance can be confusing. There are in fact two types of insurance, one for the horse, and one for the rider.
For The Horse
Insurance for your horse generally falls within two different categories, depending on the types of activities you want to do on your horse. Class A activities include breaking in, hacking, and low-level competitions for riding and driving. Class B will include all these, as well as more advanced and risky activities like eventing and hunting, and is more expensive.
Insurance can cover the cost of vets bill, although, like car insurance, there will be an excess. It might be that you would rather put aside money each month in case of vets’ bills. There will be regular vet bills for things like vaccinations and teeth work, which generally won’t be covered by insurance because of the excess, but unforeseen events such as prolonged illness or accident can run into thousands of pounds and are generally best covered by insurance if you can afford it. Skipping insurance to cut costs might be very expensive and cause a lot of heartaches.
If you have spent a lot on tack, you also might want to ensure this.
You can also ensure your horse against loss of use, which may be especially important if the horse has been bought for specific use like competing. This will make the insurance more expensive, but this is because higher eventing and endurance levels put more strain on the horse.
Veteran Horse Insurance
Horses usually become ‘veterans’ when they are over the age of 17. Most horse insurance companies offer policies that will cover veterans. To keep costs down, it might be possible to under-insure your horse. This would mean that any payouts would be less, but the vet’s bills would still be covered. Insurance for older horses can be more expensive as although horses are generally healthier nowadays and living longer, there is also a longer period for covering vet’s bills.
Like insurance for your horse, insurance for you can be tailored to your needs. Every rider should have third party cover which is necessary in case your horse causes an accident or damaged someone else’s property.
Personal accident cover can also be taken out, which will cover you for the accident, injury, or death. This will generally give you around £10,000 for loss of life, loss of a limb, an eye, or permanent disability. You need to be aware though that this sort of insurance won’t cover you for loss of earnings if you have time off work – this is covered by a different kind of insurance. But it will cover anyone else who rides your horse, so if you share or have lots of people riding your horse, it really is a must.
It might also be worth considering insuring against accidents when traveling, and recovery for breakdowns when traveling, especially if this is something you are likely to be doing on a regular basis.
On the whole, policies for horse insurance can be tailored to meet individual needs. As with any sort of insurance, once you have decided what will be right for you, ring around for quotes. You can also compare prices and policies online. Always check you are getting the right insurance to suit you, and do ask other horse owners for recommendations – some horse insurance companies do have better reputations for service and prompt payments than others. This can matter more with a horse than with, say, car insurance – your car isn’t actually going to suffer as a result of late payments, and there are some companies who will deal directly with the vets, which saves a lot of hassle and stress, so it’s not necessarily best to go for the cheapest. Having said that, once you have your quotes, it might be worth your while to barter to keep costs down especially if you are keeping a horse on a budget.