Insurance warning: unvaccinated horses risk invalidating cover for flu claims

An insurance broker has reminded owners to check their horses’ vaccinations are up to date to prevent the risk of invalidating their policies.

Lycetts, an independently-run broker, warned horse owners risk being uninsured for flu treatment if their animals are not vaccinated against the virus.

Racing under Rules and point-to-pointing has been abandoned in Britain until at least Wednesday (13 February) due to confirmed cases of equine flu in vaccinated horses in a racing yard.

There have also been other outbreaks recorded across the country.

Richard Freeman, from Lycetts, recommended owners check their policies and contact their brokers or insurers if they are unclear.

“Equine flu is generally not specifically excluded from equine insurance cover, but it is commonly a condition of a policy that the insured horse must be vaccinated against equine flu,” he said.

“It is always the case that the insured must at all times provide proper care and attention to the insured horse and do all things possible to minimise any loss.”

This strain of the virus has affected both vaccinated and unvaccinated horses, although signs are usually milder in inoculated animals and include a raised temperature, a cough and nasal discharge.

“This is a serious situation for all horse owners, who wait with bated breath to see what the full impact of this disease will be,” added Mr Freeman.

A spokesman for Petplan Equine told H&H it provides cover for treatment recommended by a vet up to the full veterinary fee limit policy holders have chosen.

“This includes treatment for equine flu, as long as the horse is up to date with their vaccinations and it is not a pre-existing condition,” said the spokesman.

“Petplan Equine urges owners to contact their vets if they have any concern for their horses’ health and to be mindful of the recent guidelines set by the British Equine Veterinary Association.”

A spokesman for Shearwater Insurance advised owners to check their own policy wording and to call if they have any questions.

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Emma Cover, from KBIS, told H&H all horses insured with them must have up-to-date vaccinations for flu and tetanus under the policy terms and conditions.

“If a horse that is correctly vaccinated were to contract flu then the policy would kick in, in line with the cover they have chosen regarding the vets’ fees and mortality sections,” she said.

“If a horse’s vaccinations are not up to date a claim could not be considered as unfortunately the policy terms would not be met.

“As with any medical concerns owners should contact their vets for advice and treat the horse accordingly.

“All claims are subject to policy terms and conditions and if any policyholders have any queries regarding their policy please get in touch on 0345 2302323 or email ask@kbis.co.uk.”

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