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Your Horse column – What horse insurance do I need?

Q I’ve just bought my first horse, which I will use mainly for hacking and occasional Riding Club events.

I appreciate that insurance offers some peace of mind but he wasn’t a very expensive horse, and I need to keep the bills down as much as possible. I’ve also heard several hard luck tales from friends who feel they have been unfairly treated by insurance companies when a crisis occurred. How do I find the best policy for me at minimum cost, and is it even worth it?

A – I would strongly advise that public liability insurance is taken out to protect you from the risk of becoming personally liable should your horse injure someone.

I note that you ‘need to keep the bills down as much as possible’ but horse insurance is not a corner that should be cut under any circumstances. Taking on a horse is a big responsibility and if finances are tight this is all the more reason to ensure that you have adequate insurance in place. In the event that your horse falls ill the cheapest policy is unlikely to be the best option in terms of ensuring that your horse is protected.

When making enquiries as to the various policies on offer be sure to check the amount of cover (and excess)that is in place for vets bills, public liability etc. I note that you wish to take part in occasional riding club events. Some clubs and parks will insist on you being covered for up to 2 million pounds public liability.

In terms of insurance companies treating people unfairly if you were unfortunate enough to find yourself in this position you could write to the head of legal at the relevant insurance company and threaten legal action if they refuse to compensate you as per the contract that you hold with them. You could also seek legal advice on the matter should this become necessary.

Whilst insurance companies may look for a way of avoiding payment, providing you have not misrepresented anything to them and under the terms of the contract you have a valid claim there are ways of enforcing compensation for breach of contract. A few horror stories should not deter you from taking out protection for you and your horse.

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