Working out what insurance you do and don’t need when you’re out and about on the road with your horse can be confusing. Horse & Hound sets the record straight

Cars need to be insured to be on road, but do horses?

The short answer is no, there is no legal requirement for horse or rider to carry insurance in order to use roads. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea.

Public liability cover

The British Horse Society (BHS) “strongly advises riders to take out public liability insurance, although it is not a legal requirement, as if a horse in their care causes damage to property or injury, they may be liable to pay considerable costs”.

Katie Oswald at SEIB, a specialist equine insurance brokers, says: “Public liability covers claims brought against you by a third party following property damage or bodily injury for which you are legally liable.”

SEIB’s literature explains how public liability insurance relates to horses: “For example if your horse escapes from its field in the night and runs out in front of a moving car resulting in damage to the car and injury to the driver, you could be made to pay the compensation costs for this incident even though you were tucked up in bed at the time.”

It’s not a road specific insurance, but it covers anything that happens while on a road, or any other public place.

Personal accident cover

As the person most likely to be injured in a riding accident is the rider, it’s also recommended that they take out personal accident cover.

Katie adds: “Personal accident cover provides benefits in the event of injury following an accident. Cover can be provided for death, loss of limb or sight, permanent total disablement or weekly benefits, however this is not an exhaustive list of benefits available.”

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Many insurance companies also offer vet’s fees, should the horse be injured in an accident.

Even if you don’t own the horse, you can still take out rider insurance. A number of insurance companies offer a rider-only insurance package. Petplan’s rider insurance is about £80 per year and includes personal accident cover, public liability, and vet bills.

A number of other organisations and companies offer insurance as part of their membership package. The BHS gold membership (£67 per year) includes public liability insurance, personal accident, and covers you for any horse you own, look after, or ride.

Members of the Harry Hall One Club receive £10m public liability insurance and £10,000 personal accident insurance, as well as discounts at all year round for £40 a year covering a rider and up to two horses.

World Horse Welfare offers a ChampionPlus membership (£52) that includes public liability insurance to the value of £10million for all the horses you own and ride for recreational use, plus personal accident insurance up to £15,000.

There are many more to choose from — shop around online and find the policy that’s right for you and your horses.

It is a good thing to have for peace of mind if you’re out and about on the roads.