Not only is insurance extremely useful when those unexpected vets’ bills crop up – and with the cost of a surgical colic running into thousands of pounds, insurance is a must if you want to keep your horse’s treatment options open – but it is also important for a number of other reasons.
Probably the most important of these is public liability insurance: don’t forget that owners are responsible for their horses and also for any damage they might cause, and may be held so legally. Most of the cheaper horse insurance policies also include personal accident, the value of the horse at death, and its value in the event of either theft or of straying.
The next level of policies should include cover for vets’ fees, tack, stables and the temporary hire of a replacement horse if one is stolen. However, many illnesses prevent a horse from being able to work but without necessitating its euthanasia, under which circumstances normal insurance will not pay out the horse’s value.
A further option, which is extremely useful in such cases, is loss of use insurance. This pays out the pre-injury value of a horse if it develops a condition that does not necessitate euthanasia but does render it unable to fulfil its original function; this means that the owner can afford to purchase a new mount.
It can be depressing to have to make treatment choices for a sick animal that are based on finances rather than what is actually best for the horse, so it is usually advisable to insure horses against vets’ fees as well as the basic public liability insurance. Another option that some owners choose is to put a certain amount of money aside each month for emergencies, and this can work quite well.
The main thing is to avoid having an empty bank account just when your horse decides to injure itself.