Horse Insurance Companies

Horse Insurance Companies

Australia is a land of wide open spaces.  We love to explore the countryside and what better way to do so than on horseback.  Many Australians keep horses as pets and horses remain an important part of the livestock and racing industries. 

While owning a horse is incredibly rewarding, it can also be expensive.  Equine vets can charge hundreds of dollars for a simple examination and surgery can cost thousands.  If you have a working farm and one of your horses suddenly dies, it can be very expensive to replace it.  Your horses may also cause damage to a third party, which leaves you liable.  To manage these unexpected costs, many Australian horse owners purchase horse insurance.  

Horse insurance can protect your against sudden financial shocks and ensures your horses get the help they need.  This article will closer take a look the different types of horse insurance available in Australia.

Types of Australian Horse Insurance Policies

Most Australian horse insurance plans are quite flexible and offer different types of coverage.  Consumers can choose which types of coverage they require, building a bespoke insurance policy perfect for their situation.  The options that are commonly available on Australian horse insurance plans include:

Mortality Cover

Mortality cover helps you pay for expenses associated with your horse dying, being lost or being stolen.  This kind of policy can cover illness and/or accidents.  Mortality cover will reimburse you for a pre-determined amount that is negotiated when you purchase the policy. 

The amount that you can cover your horse for is usually based on its age, breed, and discipline.  For example, a young horse that is only used for recreational riding is considered less valuable than a high-performance work horse.  You may also be asked to provide records showing the price you paid for your horse to help the insurer determine its value. 

Similar to car insurance, your policy will use one of two methods for determining the value of your horse:

  • Fair market value
    What horses of a similar breed, age, and discipline are worth.
  • Agreed value
    You will negotiate your horse’s value with the insurance company when you purchase the policy.  You may have to prove your horse’s value with documentation.

Typically, full mortality cover is available for healthy horses between the ages of 6 months and 18 years.  This type of policy covers your horse for most illnesses and accidents.  Partial mortality cover is available for horses of all ages.  It covers a limited number of scenarios including death from fire, flood, trailer accidents, and lightning.  Horses of all ages can also be covered for theft.

Horses must also be in a “sound and insurable” condition to obtain mortality cover.  Some horse insurance policies will also have a list of pre-existing conditions which can affect coverage.  If your horse has a serious injury or illness, your insurance provider may have to re-evaluate its health and may decide to cancel your horse’s mortality coverage.

If you purchase mortality cover for illnesses, you may have to purchase veterinary cover as well.  This is required to ensure your horse gets the medical attention and health examinations it requires.

Some Australian horse insurance policies will help you pay for:

  • Advertising after your horse has been stolen or strayed
  • Removal of remains after your horse has passed away
  • Euthanasia expenses
  • Post-mortem autopsy expenses

Most Australian horse insurance policies have a list of specific exclusions.  They usually include neglect of your horse’s health and administration of treatments without a vet’s consent.  If you have decided to insure your horse for recreational use, then decide to engage in a high risk activity like racing, you may also invalidate your insurance. 

Permanent Loss of Use Cover

This cover will reimburse you if your horse is no longer able to perform its stated use after illness or injury.  This type of cover is useful of you have a work horse or race horse that is sick or injured and no longer able to perform its role.

Some Australian horse insurance companies offer two types of permanent loss of use cover.  “Full loss” coverage will protect your against any accident, disease or illness that makes your horse permanently unable to perform its role.  “External injury only loss” will cover your horse against external injuries they sustain.  

Owners must keep paperwork to prove what the horse was used for.  After an injury or illness has disabled your horse, you must prove your horse can no longer perform their role.  This type of equine insurance plan is often taken out by owners of work horses, show horses and race horses.

Veterinary Cover

Veterinary cover will partially reimburse you for any non-routine veterinary treatment.  The amount covered will vary depending on the type of policy, age of your horse, and the condition being treated.  Most policies will only cover a portion of your total veterinary bills and will have a maximum annual payout limit.  Having this type of coverage will ensure that your horse has access to the latest medical advancements.

Third Party Liability

Horses are naturally flighty creatures.  Their strength and size means that they can damage property and cause injuries.  For example, one of your horses might bolt from your yard and cause a car crash or run over someone.

Third party liability cover will handle any claims that result from damage or injuries caused by your horse.  This is a very useful form of insurance as it protects you from serious financial risk.

Horse Float Cover

Horse float cover will reimburse you if your horse float or horse drawn vehicle is damaged, stolen or destroyed.  The payout on these policies is usually for the sum insured or market value, whichever is the lesser.

Harness, Saddlery and Tack Cover

If your horse runs away or is stolen you may lose the horse tack that it was wearing.  Criminals may also take horse riding equipment left at your home.  This type of cover will reimburse you for any losses you suffer.

Tips For Choosing The Right Horse Insurance Plan

Here are some simple tips to help you choose the right Australian horse insurance policy.

Carefully choose the features you require

Australian horse insurance providers allow you to can mix and match different types of coverage.  If you have a horse that never leaves your property, you may not require third party coverage or horse float cover.  If you have a valuable working horse, you may require full mortality coverage, third party liability, and permanent loss of use cover.  Think about your requirements before choosing which types of coverage you need.

Check the exemptions list carefully

Australian horse insurance policies have very specific exemptions and rules for different kinds of coverage.  Check the fine print very carefully and ask questions of the provider if you are unsure about any policy details.

Check the deductible and coverage limits

Most Australian horse insurance policies will have a deductible.  This is amount you must pay when making a claim.  You may notice your policy has different deductibles for each coverage type.  There will also be limits on how much you can claim for each policy year.  For example there may be a $10,000 limit on veterinary expenses.  In general terms, the higher the premiums you are willing to pay, the lower the deductible.