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Can you afford not to insure your horse?

One of our fantastic sponsors, SEIB and their team of horse insurance experts have compiled data and pinpointed the most often claimed ailments among insured horses. This data also includes the average costs for claims made, highlighting the need for horse owners to have effective insurance cover in place for their horses.

For the second year running, digestive disorders including colic and gastric ulcers are the number one cause for claims being made.

External trauma was the second highest cause for claims being made in 2022 and behind this was degenerative disease including skin disease. These three groups of illness and accident made up over half of all claims made by our equine clients in 2022.

The Average Cost of a Digestive Disorder Claim The average cost of a claim related to digestive disorders including colic and gastric ulcers for was £2,459. Gastric ulcers made up the bulk of claims in this group with 59%. A further breakdown of gastric ulcer claims revealed that 37% of claims cost over £3,000 while 5% of claims reached the limit of SEIB’s veterinary cover payout of £5,000.

The top 10 ailments by number of claims for SEIB customers in 2022:

  1. Gastric ulcers

  2. Horse in stable/field – visible wound or fracture

  3. Horse being ridden – visible wound or fracture

  4. Degenerative disease/development disorder of both hindlimbs

  5. Disease of the teeth/jaws/gums

  6. Other disease/injury causing lameness not defined anywhere else

  7. Medical colic

  8. Sarcoids, melanomas, tumours, warts etc

  9. Tendons/ligaments of one or both hind limbs

  10. Tendons/ligaments of one or both fore limbs

SEIB’s Equestrian Business Manager, Steph Ellis explained: “SEIB’s normal procedure for a gastric ulcer claim is to consider treatment following a positive gastroscope. At the end of the course of treatment, another gastroscopy would be required to confirm that ulcers are still present before considering the cost of further medication. In line with the normal terms and conditions of insurance, the policy does not provide any cover for preventative or maintenance treatment, and therefore no further reimbursement of fees will be paid once the ulcers have cleared.”

A similar story was found with the cost of the cause of the second-highest number of claims made by SEIB horse owners.

The Average Cost of External Trauma

External trauma including violent accidents, kicks, cuts, wounds and fractures made up 56% of all claims made. SEIB’s Equestrian Business Supervisor, Joanne Goodrich said: “Wound treatment can often be thought of as a more ‘straightforward’ situation when calling the vet as there is often less diagnosis needed. However, having a visible cause of an issue doesn’t always make it the cheapest to treat.” Claims made for external trauma for SEIB clients in 2022 had an average cost of £1,379.73 with 17% of claims reaching a cost of £3,000.

Real-life story:

Uncertainty and the speed with which things can take a turn for the worse can add to horse owners’ emotional turmoil when a claim is in the offing. Lisa Clarke owns coloured cob, Malibu, who is insured with SEIB. Lisa explained: “On the 23rd December last year, Malibu went down with colic, we initially thought he was on the mend but by Christmas eve he was being operated on for an impaction. We had to make a very quick decision to operate and having insured with SEIB for many years I was confident we would have no problem with making a claim. The aftercare for the operation didn’t go too smoothly and Malibu suffered an infected cannula whilst he was still at the vets leading to complications for him. This also resulted in increasing the cost of the claim. I rang SEIB asking with a query about the details of this and they got back to me within the hour. Fortunately Malibu is now completely recovered. I know my insurance with SEIB gives me peace of mind, even if Malibu has several exclusions owing to his medical history.”

The Average Cost of Degenerative Disease

Degenerative disease and development disorder, including skin disease was the third most common cause for an equine claim at SEIB in 2022 with an average claim cost of £2,435, similar to that of digestive disorders. Skin disease was the most frequently occurring ailment in this group where 23% of claims cost between £1,000 and £2,000. Many equine skin diseases can be ongoing and require veterinary treatment, they cover a wide range of problems, from fungal infections, allergies, rain scald, aural plaque, ringworm, mud fever, sweet itch and, sarcoids.

SEIB’s Marketing Manager Nicolina MacKenzie said: “There are so many wonderful advances in veterinary treatment and technology which help our horses live longer, happier and healthier lives. However, this has resulted in the cost of treatments going up significantly meaning that having correct and effective insurance for our horses is more important than ever before. We never know what is around the corner, but insurance helps ensure the wellbeing of our horses and provides peace of mind to horse owners.”

Take a look at SEIB's full range of Horse Insurance products here.

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