Veteran Horse Insurance is Gradually Including Illness Cover

Is your older horse increasingly susceptible to illnesses and ailments? If it needs life saving treatment can you afford it?

Insurers are increasingly looking at ways to provide illness cover for veteran horses.

Illness cover is an aspect of horse insurance that has been lacking for owners. Often it leads to financial instead of emotional decisions regarding older horses.

What Age Is a Veteran Horse?

In the equine world, a horse is a veteran once it reaches fifteen years of age. With the constant improvement in medical science and understanding diet, horses are living longer than ever.

Once 25 years of age was considered old for a horse but today, enjoying their lives into their thirties is not uncommon.

Issues to Consider with A Veteran Horse

Ageing is unavoidable with a mature horse, and signs of age include a reduction in muscle definition, dental issues, stiffness and a thicker coat. An owner has to take into account issues with a veteran horse:

Workload: Consideration to reduce the workload of an older horse

Dietary and nutrition needs: An owner needs to manage its dietary needs. Mature horses suffer issues with their digestive system as it becomes less efficient. A high fibre diet and adopt a small and often feeding cycle.

Dental needs: A horse’s teeth stop growing at 20 years old, and the ability to grind food may result. A hay replacer like soaked cubes is one of the adaptions that may need consideration.

Treatments: Would your older horse to benefit from treatments like physiotherapy, hydrotherapy or acupuncture.

How Does Age Affect Horse Insurance?

A horse’s age impacts significantly on insurance with certain types of protection either unavailable or reduced for older animals. There are two critical differences between a standard equine policy and a veteran equine policy.


Standard equine policies cover for death, theft or straying with the sum insured up to £10,000 online or even more with a horse insurance quote by phone. Veteran horse policies tend to be capped in value with £2,000 the average market value. Death is only covered if it is due to visible external injury

Vet’s Fees

In the horse insurance industry, general practice for mature animals is to provide vet fee cover for visible external injuries and not illness. As an animal gets older, there is an increasing risk that necessary treatments, illnesses and disease increase.

Some insurance companies are less willing to provide cover for animals that are above 16 years old on a standard policy. However, many have increased that cut off to 20 years to satisfy the demands of horse insurance for older equines.

Other Policy Features

Apart from death and vet fees, additional features available on mature horse policies match those on standard policies. Public liability cover, personal accident cover, and saddlery and tack coverage all feature and have the same maximum levels of coverage as regular horse insurance.

The Impact of vet fee insurance limitations

Due to lack of vets fees cover currently available for older horses, owners may look after the animal less well in old age. They will certainly be less willing to call out a vet if the animal is unwell due to the high costs attached.

Even, more serious, if an owner does not have the money for life-saving treatment, economics mean euthanasia is the option left which can be heartbreaking.

The Veteran Horse Society, which dedicates itself to the welfare of older horses has recognised that veterinary fees are a significant issue for owners, with insurance policies not providing the necessary support. It is becoming recognised by insurers, and mature horse policies are starting to adapt to care and welfare issues, mainly caused by a lack of sickness cover.

Veteran Horse Insurance: Illness Cover Options

Petplan Equine leads the way in changing how the horse insurance industry is approaching insuring older animals. Provided a horse has insurance with Petplan before its 20th birthday, they will extend standard insurance that includes illness cover until its 25th birthday. At this age, a horse is very much a senior citizen, comparable to a 70-year old human.

KBIS also offer illness cover options for horses over 20 years old, with cover now available up to 25 years of age. You do not have to be insured with them previously to cover a mature horse.

A Veteran Horse Insurance Comparison

As well as changes to illness coverage, insurers are extending the age to which they will continue policy cover under a mature horse policy. Again, Petplan equine leads the way and will provide insurance up to the age of forty under their older horse plan. KBIS will also insure up to the age of thirty.

The list below gives main features to get the best veteran horse insurance from the leading UK providers. We also have reviews of these providers in our review section.

The Insurance Emporium

Cover for horses over the age of 20, maximum sum assured of £2,000 and vet fees for injury only £1,500


KBIS provides older horse cover from 16 to 30, including cover for illnesses up to the age of 25.

Petplan Equine

Vet’s fees cover, including illness up to the age of 25 years old provided the horse has insurance before the age of 20. Cover up to the age of 40 available on a petplan veteran horse insurance policy

Coverage available for older horses from 15 until 20 years old with all the features of standard equine cover

Animal Friends

Insurance cover for horses from the age of twenty years of age, with accidental injury up to £2,000 and a maximum death benefit limit of £1,500 but no coverage for illnesses


Insurance available from 18 to 25 years old for accidental injury and death but no illness cover included.

Veteran Horse Insurance Quotes: How Much does it Cost?

The cost of horse insurance policies for older horses starts from as little as £5 a month from online discount insurers like The Insurance Emporium. At this premium, do not expect to have illness cover for your animal. To have this cover it is likely to cost from between £25 and £50 per month.


How does veteran horse insurance work?

A horse owner pays a regular monthly or annual premium to the insurance company throughout the fixed term policy. In return, the insurer will provide a financial payout should a claim need to be made and which meets the policy conditions.

What is the best insurance for veteran horses?

The best insurance is one that covers your older horse adequately. One size does not fit all in horse insurance. If you are financially able to pay for any medical treatment, you may be able to take out a low-cost online policy. If you do not want to have to choose between economics and euthanasia, then a policy including illness cover may be a consideration.