Horse Rider Insurance: How Does It Work?

With a robust horse rider insurance policy you can enjoy your hacking in complete peace of mind

Consider any of these unfortunate scenarios:

-A member of the public gets hurt from a flailing hoof

-You fall and injure yourself on a hack

-The horse sustains a injury from an innocuous slip

Any of these incidents may cost you financially. Why not instead, enjoy a financial peace of mind as you ride in the knowledge that solid horse rider insurance will pay out when you need it most.

Read on, and WiseHorse explains all you need to know about rider insurance.

Do I need Insurance to ride a horse?

The British Horse Society gives useful guidance for riders about the highway code, but it should be a complement to insurance for horse riding.


It is not legally required to be insured to ride horses in the UK. Considering the potential risk of an incident involving such a large animal, it does seem surprising, particularly in public areas such as roads.

What is horse rider insurance?

Horse rider insurance is designed specifically for those who ride but do not own their animal. It provides financial cover against the risks associated with riding. These risks are substantial but are more specific than the risks related to also owning the animal.

Who has cover under rider insurance?

Broadly, insurance providers will provide rider only insurance for those aged between 5 and 75 years old. Many insurers will offer two types of policy based on age. Junior riders between 5 and 18 years old qualify for a young horse rider insurance.

The limits are typically lower than for an adult rider. Additional features such as cover for private school fees also differentiate policies for junior riders. An adults policy costs more due to the higher maximum limits covered in a horse insurance policy.

What does horse riding insurance cover?

Horse riding insurance protects against six essential areas of financial risk associated with riding. We will run through each one:

Personal accident

Personal accident relates to riders and not the horse, covering you for death, total permanent disablement and the loss of limbs, sight or hearing from riding. Personal accident cover varies between insurers and tends to start at £10,000 for standard cover up to £20,000 for premium coverage. The higher the cover, the higher the premiums that you need to weigh up.

horse riding accident

Insurers are very strict on what is covered under personal accident, particularly surrounding permanent disability. Some insurers will only pay out following a full year of not being able to work from the accident.

Hospitalisation also covers under personal accident. Insurers will have a set amount for every day that you are in hospital following any accidents and can start at £50.

For younger riders, some policies will include school fee coverage should anyone be unable to attend school for a time following an accident.

Insurers will insist that the correct safety precautions are in place for a claim to be valid. Principal amongst these is the requirement to wear approved protective headgear.

Dental treatment

Dental treatment is a vital cover option in riders insurance. It provides financial protection following injuries to your mouth or teeth resulting from riding. 

The cover is provided up to a maximum limit per incident, highlighted in the policy definitions. Limit levels vary between an insurer and tend to be in the range of £1,000 to £2,000 per incident.

Third party liability

Also called public liability insurance, third party cover is a central part of riders cover. A third party is a person injured or property damaged resulting from an incident with a horse you are riding. Legally, you as the first party are held responsible and could face compensation claims.

The insurer, known as the second party, provides financial cover for any claims up to a maximum limit. It varies between insurers and has a direct impact on the premium price. The lowest third-party cover provides £1 million of protection. Extensive cover up to £10 million is available from some specialist equine insurers.

Custodial Liability

Custodial liability provides a lump sum payout if an animal dies or is put to sleep by a vet for immediate humane reasons while you were riding it. A payout is usually the horse’s insurance policy value or the market value if this is less. A maximum limit is applicable with most insurers and can be up to £3,500.

Emergency vet fees

An essential feature of riding insurance, vet fees coverage provides emergency treatment up to twenty-four hours from when a horse sustains a visible accidental injury. The cover available can range from £1,500 to £2,000 depending on the insurer.

Saddlery and tack.

Tack cover is vital personal insurance for horse riders who use their own riding equipment. It covers theft or accidental damage of items such as saddles, bridles and harnesses essential for riding.

Most insurance companies will provide a maximum limit on the amount of saddlery and tack insurable. This limit can differ widely with some insurers providing cover up to £10,000 and some as little as £1,500. Some insurers will also have a single item limit.

Tuition fees on young rider policies

For riders under 18 years old, it covers the continued payment of tutoring fees should the rider be unable to attend education classes due to a riding accident. Private fees include ranges between insurer but can provide up to £3,000 of coverage.

How much does rider insurance cost?

Rider insurance is lower than horse insurance due to the stripping out of equine owner specific risks. It results in lower premiums and quotes for the young rider, and standard rider insurance can be as little as £5 per month.

The best horse rider insurance is not necessarily the cheapest.

Example quote

A standard policy quote from Animal Friends is just £6.16 a month with the following criteria:

Third-party liability: £1million

Personal accident: £10,000

Emergency vet Fees: £1,000

Dental treatment: £1,000

Custodial liability: £2,000

Which insurers offer horse rider insurance quotes?

All the UK’s equine insurance providers offer rider cover. It is an essential insurance product, as many riders cannot afford to own a horse. Policies between insurers vary according to needs.

Providers, including Insurance Emporium and Animal Friends, offer cheap, instant online quote to buy policies to suit the needs of the average rider.

Specialist UK horse insurance providers such as KBIS and SEIB can cater for more complex needs. It is essential to compare horse rider insurance by focusing on the complexity of your activities as a starting point.

Can I get rider insurance through my horse-riding membership?

Some associations do offer cover through membership. The BHS provides public liability insurance of up to £30 million and personal accident cover of up to £10,000 as part of its gold membership. If you are a gold member, this coverage may satisfy your requirements for rider cover.

Other associations such as British Dressage have tie-ins with insurance providers which provides a discount on the purchase of Insurance for members. Pony club members have third party insurance as part of their membership but not personal accident cover.


What is a rider premium?

The rider premium is the cost of insurance, either on a monthly or an annual basis. The premium makes up from risk factors assessed by the insurer and translated into a monetary amount. The age of the rider, the horse and the activities participated in all affect a rider insurance quote. The higher the risk, usually the higher the premium.

Is it illegal to ride horses on pavements?

In the UK, a horse must not be ridden on a pavement or footpath to reduce any injury risk to members of the general public. Equestrian crossings are sometimes available for riders to cross a busy road safely.

Do I need any licence for riding a horse?

A type of licence sometimes required for riders relates to a licence fee to ride in specific areas; not a licence qualifying you to ride a horse, like a car licence. For example, the local authority for your area may ask for an annual fee to ride on some public land. In this case, a licence disc must be on display.

Is it in the law to wear a helmet to ride a horse?

In the UK, it is law only for children to wear helmets when riding a horse on the road. Wearing safety headgear beyond that is not mandatory. From an insurance viewpoint, however, most insurers will only insure if you wear a helmet. It is common sense to wear a helmet. It designs to be as effective as possible to protect the part of your body that is difficult to fix – Your brain. Failure to wear a helmet will likely lead to any insurance claim being invalid.