As a critical care and 24 hour emergency treatment practice and facility, we are often faced with grave decisions at very odd hours of the night and have to spend precious time waiting on owners to make a decision or confirm a course of action, especially regarding surgery.
It’s not something one wants to think about but when faced with a decision based on how much you are able to spend on your horse’s care or surgery, having equine insurance gives a little peace of mind and takes the pressure away, knowing that you can go ahead with treatment, especially in the event that surgery is recommended.
Insurance for our pets and horses is something that we are not yet all that familiar with in South Africa and we often have clients asking us about the various options and benefits.
We asked client and local equestrian business owner Candice Hobday, to give us her advice on what to consider and how to evaluate your requirements before deciding on the best insurance broker and options to suit you and your horse.
Why take the risk?
Having equine insurance is considered the norm in the UK. This is an important culture that should be developed in South Africa as vet bills can mount up quite quickly when treating a horse for a compromising injury or colic.
In the UK, in a poll of equine owners (Equine Compare 2012) the following trends were discovered:
- 76% insure all their horses
- 5% insure some of their horses
- 14% save instead of insure
- 4% borrow
Although our percentage of insured is on the increase in South Africa, we are far off the above UK averages.
Most people have the idea that horse insurance is expensive and only covers accidental death. This is certainly not the case. Not only can you tailor a policy to suit your pocket, but you can opt for stand-alone products like Hospital Cover and Health
So what does this all mean?
IN-HOSPITAL, SURGERY AND CRITICAL CARE COVER
This insurance would give you access to funds that would pay all costs associated with hospitalisation for any lifesaving and emergency surgical procedure or treatment. Of course our biggest fear being colic, but it would also include cases such as severe biliary, African Horse Sickness, laminitis, poisoning and the list goes on.
What are the chances you might ask?
Well according to Erica Larson in “Equine Postoperative Ileus Insights” of 4 July 2014 and Nancy Loving in “Equine Colic Management and Long-Term Survival” of 4 July 2014, the incidence of colic in the general horse population has been estimated between four and ten percent over the course of their lifetime.
If you add to your consideration of this that a simple colic surgery can cost you anything from R30 000 and upwards, (often not including the after-care), you can start to understand why nearly 8 in 10 British equine enthusiasts ensure their horses.
That’s rather a high risk, and when there are products on the market to protect you against this from as little as R150 per horse per month, why not take it?
This cover would be more extensive protection for your horses, which offers the Hospital cover as well as non-emergency treatments such as stitch ups, eye ulcers, lameness detection and treatment and so on. This cover would need a medical certificate and may include waiting periods, but once in place gives you more complete peace of mind. This cover can cost you as little as R395 per month.
What should you look for from your broker?
- Do they have the cover you need?
- At the rate you can afford?
- With the service level you deserve?
- Represent you as the client with regard to any claims to the Insurance Company
What product should I take?
- EVERY HORSE SHOULD HAVE IN HOSPITAL LIFESAVING AND EMERGENCY SURGERY OR TREATMENT COVER.
- From there you upgrade as you can afford.
For any questions or advice, please contact Fourways Equine Clinic on 011 468 3393 or a designated equine insurer.
Fourways Equine Clinic: 011 468 3393
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