Horsebox breakdown insurance: why you need to check the small print *H&H Plus*

  • Does your horsebox breakdown insurance cover everything you think it does? Drivers are being encouraged to check their policies carefully to ensure they will received the help they expect should things go wrong. H&H finds out more...

    Owners have been reminded to check the small print when choosing a horsebox breakdown recovery service to ensure they are aware of what policies do and do not cover.

    As demand for recovery has increased since competition restarted (news 30 July), PRP Rescue Services managing director Jon Phillips told H&H owners should choose a policy with a reliable equine breakdown provider.

    “Cover should include recovery by professional agents for the lorry, and separate transport for the horses, to any destination of your choice,” he said. “Some policies will only take the lorry to the nearest garage – but bury that in the small print.”

    Mr Phillips advises against policies that insist horseboxes carry spare tyres. He said because by law a tyre fitter must only fit a tyre which is in excellent condition, many owners can be caught out if the tyre on board is not in good enough condition as the fitter will refuse to use it.

    Owner Jo Turner was travelling with her daughter and her horse on 8 August when, on hitting a pothole, a safety mechanism in the horsebox aimed at preventing fire when the vehicle hits something with force was triggered. This meant the fuel tank was cut off and the engine stopped.

    Ms Turner contacted her breakdown agent Equine Rescue Services (ERS), via her insurer, and was told she was not covered and would be charged as it had been an accident, not a mechanical failure.

    ERS has since told H&H an error was made and Ms Turner should have been covered, and has apologised for this.

    “Since the incident I’ve been thinking of scenarios that could happen and whether I’m covered or not,” said Ms Turner. “I assumed when you pay for recovery you get whatever you need, and this will make me look at it more carefully.”

    ERS network and business development manager Chris Facer told H&H the company covers most aspects of a breakdown, including mechanical issues such as engine failure, tyre blow-outs, electrical or ramp issues.

    Incidents caused by “human error” such as leaving lights on or using the wrong fuel are not covered and are chargeable, as is a road traffic collision, which falls under the owners’ horsebox insurance.

    “Where we can’t do a repair roadside, we would recover the vehicle and arrange horse transport. We never recover a horse on the back of a recovery vehicle – that’s a big no-no,” he said. “When looking for cover these are the sorts of things people should be asking because there are people who unfortunately who would recover horses on low-loaders and things like that and it’s not in the best interest of the horse.”

    Mr Facer urged owners to be aware of “cheap” policies and limitations.

    “You don’t always get what you think so make sure you’re getting what you really want. If someone is only travelling locally a certain policy might suit, but if they’re travelling nationally they might need more.”

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