Cornish Mutual Insurance Company, which has offices in Exeter and Truro, believes veterinary treatment fees are pushing up the price of horse insurance premiums, with the increase well ahead of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) at approximately 7 per cent per year.
Cornish Mutual, which has Members in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, also says that vets charge VAT on top, which many horse owners are not able to reclaim and is warning that treatment is likely to get even more expensive as a result.
According to the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), there are more than 216,000 horses in the South West. The average cost of a claim, involving vets fees for treating an ill or injured horse, is around £1,500 but often much more.
"We are seeing a definite rise in the cost of treating a horse for illness or injury," says Alan Goddard, Managing Director of Cornish Mutual. "Improved techniques and equipment mean that horses can get the very best treatment, but of course that comes at a high cost - bills often run into thousands of pounds."
Mr Goddard adds: "There are top-class referral centres, equine hospitals and universities available now for the treatment of horses. While some costs have come down because surgical procedures and equipment are becoming more common, an MRI scan of one limb, for example, can still cost between £600 and £800 and colic surgery will cost in excess of £3,000 plus aftercare and attending vet's fees before the horse gets to hospital."
Cornish Mutual says claims for upper suspensory desmitis, particularly of the hind legs in dressage and show jumping horses are becoming more common.
Alan Goddard says: "It might be that this is due to the way these horses are trained or that there is an increasing demand on these horses to perform. However, in many cases the injury responds well to surgery, but again, the overall cost of treatment will run into thousands of pounds."
Cornish Mutual offers a wide and flexible range of bespoke equestrian insurances. Various levels of cover for horses and ponies of all ages can be provided including vets fees, liability to third parties, theft, loss of tack, and disposal and loss of foal.
The company arranges cover for personal accident, death or serious injury caused by the horse or while out riding. Should a horse suffer injury or illness, loss of use can be covered to up to 100 per cent of the value of the animal (depending on the policy).
The company also provides access to a free 24-hour helpline for Members to get advice in an emergency, as well as a round-the-clock vet helpline and legal protection cover in the event that the owner is unable to contact their own vet.
About the author
As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.
She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.
Staying up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..