With the ever increasing costs of paying vets fee claims due to the rising costs of Veterinary Fees themselves it is inevitable that horse insurance premiums will rise year on year, but what can you do to bring your premium down and how can you get the most for your money?
We look into a number of areas of insurance to consider, you must remember, however, that your decision about what is best for you and your horse is personal and will reflect your own view of risk.
Whether you are insuring a new purchase or reviewing your policy at renewal, it is worth considering the cover you are taking out carefully to ensure you are buying cover that is most suited to you and your horse.
1. Mortality Insurance – what is your horse actually worth? If it is a new purchase this is easy to identify as your horse is worth the amount you paid. Further down the line such as at renewal, this can be more difficult to determine. Your horse is getting older and he may be doing less as a result, therefore you may want to reduce the Sum Insured in line with your horse’s actual value. Mortality claims are settled based on the current market value of the horse, therefore over-insuring is of no benefit, it only means you will be paying a higher premium.
Alternatively, if covering your horse for mortality is not your biggest concern then you can under-insure them for 50% of their actual value with KBIS, therefore reducing your premium as the risk posed to Underwriters is less. If you are not bothered at all about your horse’s value but want some basic vets fee cover then you may want to consider a vets fee only policy such as Catastrophe Cover.
2. Loss of Use Insurance – It is no secret that loss of use insurance is an expensive section to include on your policy as it is a significantly higher risk to Underwriters. That’s why if you do want to include this level of cover you can choose between 100% or 75% of the horse’s value with 75% resulting in a cheaper premium.
3. Vets Fees – This is the most expensive part of a horse insurance policy because it is the most commonly claimed section with 1 in 4 horses having a claim on the Leisure contract and 1 in 2 horses making a claim on the Competition contract. The vets fee cover is also the area where you have the most choice, therefore some points to consider are:
– Level of Cover – what treatment would you actually put your horse through? If he had colic and required surgery would you choose to put him through this? If based on the age or history of the horse the answer to this is no, it is important to consider the level of cover on the policy and whether this reflects the amount of cover you would actually need based on what you are willing to put the horse through. Having the most comprehensive cover may not be the most economical option if the treatment you would put the horse through is more limited.
– Previous History – if the horse has been unfortunate enough to have previously suffered from multiple conditions resulting in exclusions (as these conditions are now pre-existing to the current policy), it may not be worthwhile having the most comprehensive cover in place. A lower limit per incident may be more of an economical way of insuring, or considering more restrictive vets fees such as Catastrophe Cover or cover for Accidental External Injuries Only. This means you are not paying a higher premium for a level of cover you will be unlikely to utilise due to exclusions on the policy limiting what conditions could be claimed for.
– Excess – if it is important to you to keep the most comprehensive cover on the policy, the premium can often be reduced by increasing the excess on the vets fees. By taking on a higher excess, you are accepting that you will be unable to claim for lesser amounts and therefore reducing part of the risk to Underwriters. Due to this, it helps to bring the premium down whilst still keeping more comprehensive cover if this is the main reason you are choosing to insure your horse.
4. Public Liability – whilst Public Liability cover is not the most costly section of horse insurance, it is an optional element of cover that you may have elsewhere. You may find that through various memberships elsewhere you already have this cover in place and therefore there is no benefit to paying for the same cover twice. It is important to read the terms and conditions of the membership to make certain that it will cover the horse at all times, rather than only when attending events run by the organisation. If you do find the cover elsewhere is sufficient it will bring the premium down to remove Public Liability cover from your horse insurance policy.
5. Personal Accident – the Personal Accident cover that can be included on our horse insurance policies is very limited cover. It will only provide cover for death and permanent disablement as well as some cover for dental treatment. Consequently, it will not cover any temporary disablement, such as broken bones, or loss of earnings. Again, the Personal Accident section is not the most expensive part of the policy, but if this level of cover is not suitable then it can be removed to bring the premium down. We can offer more comprehensive Personal Accident cover through our Liability team, you can find out more here.
6. Saddlery and Tack Cover – if you choose to include tack cover on your policy there are specific security requirements that must be met. The tack must be locked in a secured building with a 5-lever mortice lock (a key in the door type lock) rather than a padlock and all windows must be locked also. If there are more than 10 horses on the yard, the tack room must also be alarmed. There is no advantage to including tack cover if your tack room does not meet these requirements, as a claim would not be paid out if the terms and conditions of the policy are not met.
It is also beneficial to check if your tack would be covered under your household insurance as ‘sporting goods’ to save you paying twice for the same cover. If you choose to include tack cover on your horse insurance policy¬†it is important to consider the current value of your tack, as the policy will pay out the market value at the time of loss up to the Sum Insured. If you think the value of the tack may have decreased since originally insuring, the sum insured can be reduced helping to bring down the premium.
7. Trailer Cover – whilst including your trailer on your horse insurance policy is convenient, it is not necessarily the most cost-effective way of insuring. We can offer standalone trailer policies that may work out cheaper as they are underwritten by different Underwriters. If your trailer is currently insured on your horse insurance policy, you can contact the office on 0345 230 2323 to find out what will work out cheapest for you.
Having a true understanding of the level of cover in place and how this contributes to your insurance premium can help you to work out ways you can bring down your premium, you can always ask your insurers for the breakdown of the premium and then you can work out where your money is actually going. If you would like to find out more about the different cover options available please contact the office on 0345 230 2323 and select option 1 to speak to a member of our Equine Team.