Accidents can happen to anyone riding a horse, even if you don't own or permanently loan one, so it’s important to consider whether you could cope financially if you had an accident whilst riding. The financial consequences of an accident can be enormously costly when you consider:
- Loss of earnings if you are unable to work due to injury;
- Vets fees if the horse is also injured;
- The cost of alternative care provision for the horse if you are unable to do so due to injury.
There are rider insurance policies available on the market that will provide cover for all of the above and more, for example, reimbursement costs of pre-paid events that you are unable to attend following an accident.
Things to consider when choosing your rider insurance policy
Separate personal accident insurance cover
Many horse insurance policies will enable you to add personal accident insurance cover to your annual horse insurance policy for an additional premium. However, these policies are generally very limited in terms of their benefits and it is worth considering separate personal accident insurance cover or an income protection policy instead, with a wider range of benefits.
Accident insurance cover or income protection?
Should you choose an accident policy or an income protection policy? Accident policies include benefits such as fracture cover; loss of limb; paralysis and total permanent disability. They tend to pay out quickly in the form of a cash lump sum, which may be beneficial if you have a lot of up-front costs. However, the amount of benefit may vary depending on the nature of the injury and you need to consider whether your costs would be covered. For example, you may get £3,000 if you broke your leg, but would this be enough to cover your loss of earnings on an ongoing basis, plus vets fees and any additional costs?
Income protection policies provide a weekly income in the event that you are unable to work due to accident or injury. Their advantage over accident policies is that they will cover you for the duration of your incapacity for work, rather than paying a lump sum regardless of duration. However, not all income protection policies are created equal and it’s important to check that your activity of choice is covered. For example, many policies specifically exclude high risk activities such as horse-riding. Products can seem like good value at first sight but can turn into costly mistakes if you haven’t adequately checked the exclusions.
The age factor
The age at which you take out your policy is likely to determine whether an accident or income protection policy is more appropriate for your needs. As a general rule, income protection policies are better value for younger people, whereas accident policies may be more suitable for older people. Your broker will be able to provide a detailed cost comparison for you.
‘Own’, or ‘any’ occupation
Whether a policy offers ‘own occupation’ or ‘any occupation’ cover is crucial in determining the likelihood of a successful claim. Policies that provide ‘own occupation’ cover will pay out if you are too incapacitated to carry out your own job, whereas policies that stipulate ‘any occupation’ will only pay out if you are too incapacitated to carry out any job. Consider a scenario in which your job involves riding horses and you break your leg and can’t ride. If your policy covered you for ‘own occupation’ then you would be eligible to claim, but if you were under an ‘any occupation’ plan, the insurer wouldn’t pay out because you would still be able to do some types of work. In most cases, ‘own occupation’ cover is the most expensive and ‘any occupation’ cover the cheapest, however, an ‘own occupation’ definition makes it more likely that you’ll make a successful claim.
Get the policy that is right for you
What are you trying to protect by taking out rider insurance? Consider your own personal circumstances and ask yourself what you need to protect most. Is your intention to protect your income, or is it to protect yourself against a serious injury such as paralysis? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to insurance, and what is right for one person may not be right for another.
Consult a broker
The market for rider and equine insurance is quite a niche, but there is a range of different policies and additional covers available and you should make sure you have the one that is right for your needs. That’s why it is helpful to use a broker, as they are experts in their field and can help talk you through your options and enable you to make the right choice for you. Here at Hugo Wright Ltd we have first-hand experience of equine activities and will understand your needs and the rider insurance products available to meet them.
Read more about our Rider Insurance here or get in touch for our expert advice.