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Equine insurance - essential but poorly understood.
This is a large topic with many aspects, we have tried to break it down into general sections and keep it brief. We have provided further information on a number of issues and problems, if the reader wishes to learn more.
From our experience we would strongly recommend all horse owners to consider and to take out equine insurance.
This obviously covers a whole range of factors from third party liability, theft of horse or tack, injury to others, legal costs etc etc. From our point of view we are well versed in the veterinary aspect of equine insurance and have had years of experience dealing with claims for veterinary related matters. This branch of insurance would usually be referred to as insurance for veterinary fees and is often grouped in with other aspects of equine insurance, on one policy.
At this point it is very important to point out that we are not licensed to give advise on the suitability of one policy or one company compared to another. We would be breaching the financial Services Authority (FSA) rules concerning insurance advise by doing so. We are therefore not prepared to discuss policies or companies except in the broadest sense. The final choice of policy and the company that you hold that policy with will be your choice or that of an independent insurance broker appointed by you.
Ok, that said, you may struggle to find a broker that is completely independent and not tied to particular companies and more to the point, one that is familiar with all the different companies and policies available. It is our experience that the deciding factor in choosing a suitable policy is usually the price. This is not surprising since it is important, however; equine cover is not like car insurance, policies and what you are covered against vary considerably. Cover against veterinary fees and for veterinary treatment and investigation varies widely. Again I will state we cannot advise you on specific policies or companies. We do however feel that every horse owner considering insurance should be aware of the potential pitfalls with policies and be armed with the knowledge and questions to give to an advisor or to ask a company so that they or their agent can make an informed and reasoned decision as to which policies to chose or consider. We feel that years of experience dealing with the veterinary aspect of insurance companies gives veterinarians an unrivalled understanding of how veterinary policies work and why clients often find that despite thinking they are covered they may not be.
We feel that it is long overdue that some of the practices often encountered with equine insurance are highlighted and explained to horse owners before they chose policies or make a claim. Whilst we would always encourage people to be insured a sound understanding of what to expect is important. Often the first a horse owner knows about a particular issue with their policy or cover is when they put a claim into the insurance company. This might be higlighted in the depths of the small print of the policy but rarely if ever is it pointed out to a client by the insurance company before a claim is submitted. Whilst we accept that it is impossible for every single possible issue that may occur to be discussed with the policy holder at the time the policy is taken out we within the profession see the same regular issues being raised time and time again and it is these issues that we would like to discuss and highlight to you.