Insurance is a form of financial risk management where one party pays a premium to purchase a policy and as a result another party is willing to take on (underwrite) that risk.
It makes sense for the potential policyholder to assess that risk whilst taking into account the cost of the relevant policy.
Horse owners should therefore carefully consider:
- The possible risks that would be associated with the horse’s lifestyle and
- Their financial circumstances before attempting to find an insurance policy that caters for those needs.
For instance, if the horse or pony in question is middle aged (11-16 years old), is pasture kept (either in isolation or in a small (same gender) group of cohabiters), is occasionally ridden (weekends only), and doesn’t travel to competitions, the risk of injury or illness is much reduced in comparison to a young, competition horse that is stable kept but has periodic “turnout” within a mixed gender group.
In the case of the former example some owners may decide to underwrite the risk themselves by placing money into a monthly savings account (plus an initial deposit if affordable) rather than paying the required insurance premium. In the latter example a similar approach is likely to prove financially unwise in the long term although owners would have to expect a more costly premium, particularly if a “loss of use” policy was involved.
Many horse owners are aware of the likely high costs involved when major surgical procedures are carried out (particularly colic operations which more often than not occur outside of normal working hours) and in the majority of cases payment will be requested at the point of departure from the hospital (or confirmation that the horse is covered by insurance).
Being properly insured at that point obviously gives peace of mind and removes any impending financial burden, although more recently it has become apparent that the final bill for these procedures can often exceed the ceiling for veterinary fee cover set by the insurance companies and the balance will have to be met by the policy holder.
We would be grateful if clients contacted us to discuss insurance matters, particularly in advance of a potential claim, so that we can provide valuable assistance where required.
Experience is extremely beneficial when dealing with the vagaries of Equine insurance!