When looking for horsebox insurance, a policy must match not only the requirements for transporting your horse, such as expected usage or mileage but also should correctly reflect your horsebox, including size, weight and load capacity.
We explain all about this type of specialist insurance. We have compared all the leading horsebox insurance providers by putting together a list of 21 features that are available as part of a policy.
We want to help you with your search for a robust policy by making you aware of all the insurance options available for horseboxes. Hopefully, you can decide which elements are relevant to your activities leading to a more tailored policy by including essential features but omitting features that serve no value to your circumstances at all.
What is insurance for horseboxes, and is it essential?
Horsebox insurance is financial protection offered by an insurance company should your vehicle be involved in an incident. The insurance cover is funded by regular payments of monthly or annual premiums on an ongoing basis by the policyholder.
Unlike for horse trailers, it is a legal requirement to have insurance in place for horseboxes driven on the roads in the UK.
What types of cover options are there?
Horsebox insurance cover works similarly to other types of road-driven vehicle insurance with three different levels of protection.
A third party is another vehicle involved in a collision with you that may claim against your horsebox insurance if they think you are at fault or you agree to being at fault. It is known as a third-party claim. Under third party insurance, third-party claims protect, but you will need to pay yourself for any loss or damage to your vehicle.
Third-party fire and theft
Coverage for third-party claims against your insurance and any loss or damage to your vehicle if it is due to fire or theft is also included.
Comprehensive insurance covers any damage to a third party as well as damage to your vehicle if it gets involved in an accident. It allows you to put in a claim to have your horsebox repaired or replaced, unlike third party insurance where any damage to your vehicle needs to be paid by yourself.
Why insurers need to understand your horsebox activities fully
For an insurer to provide you with a horsebox insurance quote that closely reflects your horse-related activities, it is essential to advise your insurer on intended usage accurately. The level of premium must be comparable to how you use your horsebox to ensure that a policy is robust and will payout when you need it most.
Social, domestic and pleasure use
Anyone who uses a horsebox for personal reasons and not for making a profit classifies under social, domestic and pleasure use. Hacking, travelling to amateur events or holiday travel are all activities under this classification.
The use of a horsebox for the transportation of horses for business purposes or financial gain, business usage is also known as ‘hire and reward’ by horse insurance companies.
Essential considerations when buying horsebox insurance
Horsebox insurance, like other types of vehicle cover, has policy exclusions. It is vital to make sure that you are aware of all the terms and conditions before taking out a policy, so there is no unexpected risk when you are using your horsebox. Important considerations to be aware of include the following:
Horses in transit
When in transit, horsebox insurance will not provide a payout for any injury associated with your horse. Coverage specifically for the animal will come under the remit of the insurance policy that you have in place for your horse.
The weight of horseboxes is a crucial consideration for an insurer. Any misalignment between what sets out in the policy terms and the assumed weight could result in a claim rejection. For example, a horse box must be an appropriate size for your horse with manufacturer safe load limits not being exceeded when transporting your horse.
The age of a driver is an important consideration when taking out horsebox insurance. Many insurance brokers may not automatically insure a driver under the age of 25 under their own policy, instead preferring that they register as a named driver.
If a driver is under consideration for their own insurance under the age of 25, insurance premiums are going to be higher than for an older driver.
Security is an essential consideration when it comes to taking out insurance for your vehicle. Most insurers will require that measures are put in place to minimise the risk of theft before they extend coverage to your horsebox. Requirements may include industry approved wheel clamps, steering wheel locks and the registration of your vehicle to a qualifying database.
Not all insurers will provide insurance for personal possessions kept in a horsebox, or cover levels will be very low. It is essential to check beforehand if protection extends, especially if you are likely to have equipment for your horse-related activities that will remain in your vehicle..
Horseboxes are heavy vehicles, and weight considerations may require that you hold a specific category on your driving licence. Up to 3.5 tonnes can be driven on a standard B category car licence. Above this weight, different types apply which may require further driver training or qualifications. The most important, however, that are relevant to an owner are as follows:
Category B: For Horseboxes up to 3.5 tonnes in weight
Category C1: For between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes
Category C: For horseboxes that weigh over 7.5 tonnes
An operator’s licence will be needed for all vehicle weights if the intention is to use it for hire and reward or any other business activities. For further information on operator licence requirements you should refer to the UK government website.
Why should you compare horsebox insurance?
Undertaking independent research and price comparisons is essential for finding the best policy. It will allow you to get a feel of the features and options available from different insurance providers and at what price point. The cheapest horsebox insurance is not always the best. The policy that closely fits your activities at a competitive price is the best.
Research can be painstaking but it is essential if you really want to to shape an insurance policy that allows your horse transportation needs to align closely.
To help you with policy and pricing comparisons as part of your research, as a starting point it can be useful to complete a comparative quote online which provides multiple horsebox insurance quotes from a single form including specialist providers such as ADE. All the prices of the quotes are listed together with the names of the insurers providing the quote.
We have also written an in-depth guide including 5 simple steps to achieve the best horse policy, the principals of which also apply to horsebox insurance.
21 features that are available for horsebox insurance
We have completed a detailed horsebox insurance comparison of the best policies available on the market. Here is an extensive list of 21 features that at least one insurer offers in a plan. They may not all be available with one provider, but it will give you an idea of what is out there and how you can compare and mould a policy carefully to your circumstances. Asking an insurer to include those features that specifically apply to your situation can help you avoid paying a premium for features you do not need.
1. Younger drivers
The typical age for a driver to be considered for their own horsebox insurance policy is 25 years old. Some insurers will provide horse box insurance starting from the age of 21 as standard with drivers under this age also under consideration.
2. Self-drive hire
When a horse box is hired out without a driver and driven by the hirer, it is known as self-drive hire. It is often used by owners who want to recoup the money spent on their vehicle by hiring it out for financial reward when not in use. It is more commonly available as a separate policy known as hire insurance or self-drive hire.
3. Social, domestic & pleasure
Social, domestic and pleasure refer to the requirements of horse enthusiasts that need to transport their horse as part of their hobby and so for recreational use.
4. Hire and reward
If your vehicle is used in the transportation of horses as part of a business or you accept payment for transporting horses and providing a driver, it will constitute business use, and insurers will consider your insurance needs as coming under a hire and reward policy.
5. Flexible payment options
A common feature on insurance is offering customers the ability to pay on a regular monthly direct debit rather than paying annually upfront. There may be a minimum annual insurance premium before a monthly payment plan can come under consideration.
6. High-value horseboxes
Horseboxes are expensive vehicles. Custom-built models can exceed more than £100,000 in value. Some insurance brokers like ADE will provide insurance for the higher price category with coverage up to a value of £250,000 often available.
7. Limited mileage
Insurance cover that in return for lower premiums places a cap on the annual mileage permitted under the policy.
8. Unlimited mileage
Unless otherwise stipulated, horsebox insurance policies come with unlimited mileage as standard.
9. Quote and buy forms
There has been a move to the horsebox insurance online quote, which instantly gives the cost of insurance. It allows easy comparison and a painless sign up to a policy.
10. Legal protection
Legal protection is a feature which provides access to legal advice relating to your policy. Some providers offer coverage up to £100,000 in legal costs.
11. Mirrored no claims bonus (NCB)
This is a feature offered by insurers where a driver with a no claims bonus on their horsebox policy may be able to extend the option to use the NCB with another vehicle.
12. Protected no claims bonus
Protecting your no-claims means an insurer will allow you to have a certain number of at-fault accidents without it affecting your NCB.
13. Private car NCB
Private car NCB is the allowance of introductory levels of discount on horsebox insurance by providing proof of your private car insurance no-claims bonus.
14. Discounts for enhanced security
Additional discounts for horseboxes that have enhanced security measures in place beyond the standard security requirements to qualify for insurance cover.
15. Van and truck-based conversions
Insurers prefer to provide insurance cover to standard manufactured horseboxes with factory fitted options. Some insurers will extend protection to include horseboxes that are the result of either truck or van-based conversions.
16. Personal effects
Not all insurance brokers include personal effects cover which provides financial protection against theft for possessions that are in horseboxes. It may also be capped at a lower level unless specifically requested to be higher.
17. European insurance
Insurance cover is extended at the same level when driving your vehicle in other European countries and can include European breakdown cover.
18. HGV Horseboxes
Many insurance providers will provide insurance ranging from 3.5-tonne horsebox insurance to vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and classified in the heavy goods vehicle or HGV category.
19. Large Horseboxes
This is cover for horseboxes that are not only heavier in weight but are extensive in size with the ability to transport up to six horses at the same time.
20. Horse Trailer
The cover extends to any trailer specified in a policy when either attached or detached to your horsebox.
21. Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance is the most basic form of breakdown cover. It allows for your horse box to be fixed at the roadside or get towed to the closest garage if it is not possible to fix it. More comprehensive roadside assistance is known as breakdown cover and is a stand-alone policy.
For the best horsebox insurance, compare quotes and do your research to ensure you get the perfect policy
Other types of horsebox related insurance
Horsebox breakdown cover
Breakdown cover is offered as a stand-alone policy and not included as part of horsebox cover, which is limited to roadside assistance as a cover feature or option.
Standard breakdown cover includes some of the following features:
- Home start
- Recovery to any UK location
- Replacement driver
- Roadside assistance
- Recovery to a repairer
- Vehicle hire and overnight accommodation
- Lost keys
For many owners, especially those actively involved in events and competitions involving substantial mileage this may be a consideration on top of standard insurance.
Temporary horsebox insurance
A temporary policy that is offered by some insurance brokers but limited to social, domestic, and social use. Plans are often limited to 7 days, and weight restrictions excluding HGV horseboxes may be applied. Reasons for a temporary policy could be the purchase of a new horse that is a substantial distance from where you live, or a short-term requirement as your vehicle undergoes a repair.
4 Tips to save money on your insurance
The more secure the area that you store your horse box, especially overnight, can positively work to lower your premium.
If you can park your vehicle off-road on your private premises, it is already preferable to leaving it on the roadside. Even better is parking your horsebox, overnight in secure four-walled storage that is locked, alarmed, and fitted with grilles or metal bars over any window openings.
Consider taking out a policy with a clause to adhere to an annual mileage limit. The less you drive, the less risk there is for an insurance provider, and they will be willing to reflect this by offering you a lower premium if you undertake to have an annual mileage cap on your policy.
Consider raising the excess amount on your policy. The excess is the first portion that you pay following a road accident and by increasing it should see an insurer reduce your insurance premium.
The risk of theft is a real problem for owners, and by making your horsebox harder to steal through additional security features can see a reduction in premiums. To provide insurance for your vehicle, insurers will require an acceptable level of security. A move above and beyond standard security features may reward you with a decrease in the cost of cover. Devices that delay or deter thieves include wheel clamps, lockdown devices and security marking including data tagging.
What is the main difference between horseboxes and horse trailers?
There is one fundamental difference between a horsebox and a horse trailer. Horseboxes are motorised vehicles and are driven. They offer a safe environment in which to transport horses and are also known as a horse lorry or a horse van. A horse trailer is not motorised. It is attached to the back of a vehicle and towed, not driven.
Can I transport other people’s horses under personal cover?
If it is not for monetary gain, an insurer will permit the transportation of other horses. It is essential to ensure that all your horse-related activities are clearly defined in your policy at the outset, including the transport of other people’s horses.
Can I drive a 7.5-tonne horsebox on a car licence?
To get 7.5-tonne horsebox insurance your horse box comes under the same classification of an HGV or heavy goods vehicle. A driving licence with permission to drive a category C vehicle is a requirement for this weight. A car licence is a category B and only permits driving a horse box up to 3.5 tonnes.
Does a single driver policy reduce premiums?
If you are the only driver on a policy and there are no other named drivers, this can reduce the cost of cover as the level of risk of an accident for one driver is deemed lower in the eyes of an insurance provider.
Can I drive any other vehicle type under my horsebox insurance?
As a very specialist type of insurance, it is unlikely that an insurer will extend your insurance to drive a different kind of motorised vehicle.
Am I covered to drive abroad?
Driving horseboxes in the EU does not have to come with additional costs if it is a standard policy feature under your insurance. If you are not sure if you are covered, check the policy documents or check with your insurance broker. If not, it may be possible to take out additional insurance.