What To Consider When Exploring Insurance for Mature and Older Horses



What To Consider When Exploring Insurance for Mature and Older Horses

Veteran, or mature, horse insurance is designed to protect your older horse. This type of insurance starts at around 16 years old and extends upwards to 25 years old, depending on the provider. There are some key things you need to consider with this type of insurance:

  • Death (Mortality) and Vet Fees
  • Coverage and limitations of cover due to age
  • Cost considerations
  • Age limits

Carriagehouse Insurance have been providing horse and related equestrian insurance to our customers since 1992. We have shared our insights into insurance for mature horses for you to get to know more about how to care for your mature horse as best as possible.

Focus on Health Insurance and Vet Fees cover

With advances in veterinary care, management and nutrition, more horses are living longer and often working well into their late teens and twenties. Insurance policies have evolved to take this into consideration and it is now possible to maintain mortality and veterinary fee cover on your veteran horse well into their twenties. As an owner and rider/driver of a veteran horse, ensuring that you have insurance coverage for vet fees can provide peace of mind. It allows you to focus on your horse’s well-being and make necessary veterinary decisions without worrying about the financial burden.

Vet fees are an important consideration with mature horse insurance, because as horses age their bodies tend to go through more wear and tear (much like us as humans!), making them more susceptible to conditions like arthritis, lameness, dental issues, and weakened immune systems. However, when looking into this insurance check the limitations of cover as some providers may exclude conditions more likely to be seen in older horse such as degenerative diseases, such as Arthritis, or Cushings Disease. Alternatively, on the older veterans, they may limit the cover to external and visible accidental injuries only and exclude all illness cover.

Be aware that if your horse is diagnosed with an excluded condition, the costs of investigations will not be covered.

Even if your older horse seems healthy, there’s always the possibility of unexpected emergencies like colic, injuries or fractures. These situations can necessitate immediate and often expensive veterinary intervention. Other conditions such as soft tissue injuries, respiratory problems such as equine asthma, gastric ulcers often require ongoing veterinary treatment and medication, leading to higher vet bills.

In the Blue Cross Big Pet Census 2022, they found that 55% of the participants who own a horse are worried about the cost of vet bills, and 30% are worried about the cost of insurance.

Cost Considerations

Since the risk of claims is higher for older horses, mature horse insurance may be more expensive than insurance for young horses. However, you can often customise your plan to manage costs;

If you haven’t reviewed the sum insured of your horse for a few years, look at this as you may be over insuring him/her compared to their current market value.

Another cost consideration is the excess which is the amount you pay towards any veterinary fees before you can start to claim. Choosing a higher excess could lower your premium, but you’ll need to be prepared to pay more out of pocket for vet bills.

Remember to check the class of use your veteran is insured in. If you plan to continue riding your mature horse in high-risk activities such as hunting, competing in higher level dressage or jumping, or doing carriage driving trials, you will need to ensure you are in a higher class and the premium will probably be higher compared to a horse enjoying a peaceful retirement. However, if you have ‘down-graded’ the level of work you are doing, check whether or not you can drop the class of use and thereby save something on the premium.

Finding the right balance between cost and coverage is crucial. While a lower premium might be tempting, ensure that you understand the cover that you have chosen and the level of vet fee coverage.

By understanding these cost considerations, you can make informed decisions and find a veteran horse insurance plan that provides the necessary financial protection for your horse’s well-being without breaking the bank.

Optional Coverage

To understand whether your Carriagehouse Insurance covers you, your horse, and any of the optional additions below, please get in touch. We can also discuss whether any of these are available to add to your coverage if needed.

Once you have arranged your policy for Death & Theft (Mortality) and Vet’s fees you can include other cover such as Public Liability also known as Legal Liability or Third Party Liability (injury to others or damage to their property caused by your horse), Saddlery and tack, Horse trailers, Personal accident for the rider and other equipment such as carriages and harness.

Death & Theft (Mortality) cover
provides a financial pay out in the event your horse dies or has to be put to sleep due to illness, accident, or injury. The amount paid out would typically be based on the insured value you declared for your horse. Disposal costs help to cover the expenses associated disposal of your horse’s remains on the sad occasion of losing your horse. These can come at a significant cost.

Public liability insurance
ensures you are covered if your horse injures someone or damages someone else’s property. This can be crucial, especially if you take your horse out in public areas, on the road or allow others to ride it.

Transportation Costs
In a number of cases, this is automatically included within you Vet Fee cover and covers the costs associated with transporting your horse to and from the vet clinic or hospital.

Saddlery & tack (or carriage and harness) cover
helps to cover financial losses due to theft, damage, or loss of your horse’s equipment.

Personal accident insurance
provides compensation for injuries you sustain while riding or handling your horse, and some plans even offer optional coverage for any dental-specific injuries you sustain from a horse-related accident.

It’s important to remember the availability and specific details of these optional coverages will vary depending on the insurance provider. You must remember to carefully review the policy wording and exclusions before choosing optional coverages, and make sure to consider your horse’s age, health, activity level, and your own financial situation before deciding which optional coverages are most important for you.

Age Limits

There may be limitations on how old a horse can be when looking at insurance. Be sure to check with the provider about their specific age limits. Most veteran horse insurance policies apply when your horse reaches around 15-16 years old. This acknowledges that your horse is entering its senior years and may require specific veterinary attention due to their age. When obtaining an insurance quote, you will asked your horse’s year of birth and then the quote will reflect the cover available based on your horse’s age.

The upper age limit for coverage can vary significantly. Some providers may offer insurance for horses up to 25 years old, while others may extend coverage up to 30 years but on a limited basis. Some provide wider cover for horses they have insured consistently since younger horses. Whilst some providers reduce the cover under the death & veterinary fees sections as the horses age, you can still purchase liability insurance for any age of horse.

These age limits exist because as horses age the risk of health issues and the need for veterinary care rises. This translates to a higher risk for the insurance company who will either have exclusions in place which restrict the cover and/or they will charge a higher premium. Additionally, the market value of horses generally decreases with age. Insurance companies typically insure horses for their market value, so older horses may have lower coverage limit (see money saving tip above).

If you are unsure of the cover you have, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance company directly to discuss the coverage options for your specific horse’s age. If finding insurance for your mature horse proves difficult, it may be beneficial to explore alternative financial planning strategies for potential vet bills. This could involve setting aside a dedicated savings fund for your horse’s care.

Get in touch with Carriagehouse Insurance

If your horse is fortunate enough to require mature horse insurance, we may be able to discuss your options. Carriagehouse Insurance have specialist and first-hand knowledge of horse ownership and we endeavour to ensure that all enquiries and claims are dealt with quickly and efficiently. Get in touch with us today to find out more about the options available to you and your horse.