Is Horse Insurance A Waste Of Money?

Posted on: 5 May 2016


Owning a horse is an expensive pastime and insurance premiums are an additional cost that can seem unnecessary. But just what does equine insurance cover and do you really need it? Read on to find out more.

What does equine insurance cover?

As any insurance broker will tell you, the purpose of an insurance policy is to protect you from unexpected loss. In the case of equine insurance, such losses could include:

  • vet's bills incurred following injury or illness
  • death of the horse
  • injury caused by your horse to you or to third parties
  • theft of the horse
  • recovery costs if your horse should stray from his field onto someone else's property
  • theft of tack or equipment
  • your own medical bills in the event that you are injured while riding your horse
  • permanent loss of use of your horse following illness or injury

What's covered as 'standard'?

All horse insurance policies come with basic standard cover and a range of 'bolt on' options to choose from, all of which incur additional cost. As policy terms can be complicated, it's a good idea to ask an insurance broker in your area to source a policy for you that covers all your requirements. However, as a bare minimum, you should take out a policy that covers you for the following standard items:

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) gives you protection against third party claims for injury or damage to their property that your horse might have caused. For example, if your horse took fright and got loose on the road with the result that he caused an accident, you could be sued by those who were injured or whose cars were damaged.

If you keep your horse at a livery stable where he might be handled by staff, you may find that PLI is insisted upon. It's a good idea to check your household insurance policy, as some policies include PLI under their terms.

Death or mortality

Death or mortality cover means that you will receive the market value of your horse if he dies following an accident or has to be euthanised due to severe disease. Ask your insurance broker to check if the horse will be covered for destruction due to a long-term illness, such as arthritis or navicular disease, as some providers will exclude this.

Important extras

Veterinary Fees

Veterinary fees are an important 'extra' that you should seriously consider adding to your basic insurance policy. Although veterinary cover may considerably increase the overall cost of the policy, the cost of treating even basic illnesses and injuries can run into thousands of dollars, so it's worth the expense for your own peace of mind. 

Permanent Loss of Use (PLU)

PLU cover is designed to compensate the policyholder in the event that the horse becomes unfit to continue the job of work it was insured to do, due to accident or illness. For example, if your horse was bought to do dressage, but became unsound following a tendon injury, you would be able to claim for PLU. Once you've claimed for PLU, your insurance company will insist that your horse is freeze-branded with an 'L' in a circle, to prevent it from being sold as fit to ride.  

In conclusion

Keeping horses can be a very expensive venture when things go wrong. Unless you have the luxury of unlimited funds to call on in the event of a disaster, it's a very good idea to insure your horse. Even if you never have to make a claim, the peace of mind you will enjoy will be priceless.