What should you do in the event that a terrible tragedy befalls you and your horse and you are faced with having to prove a claim for mortality?
The first thing to do when you realise that there is something wrong with your horse is to contact a registered veterinarian to come and attend to your horse. It’s not advisable to treat the horse yourself and, through doing so, delay the intervention of timely treatment by the vet. If the vet needs you to take the horse to a hospital for treatment, you must follow his or her instructions and allow and facilitate the treatment.
Once the vet has been contacted, the next call should be to your insurance company or your brokers to advise them of the situation.
If the horse has sustained an injury or has an illness or disease that is so severe that it warrants immediate destruction, the vet will consider humane euthanasia to relieve incurable and excessive pain. The vet needs to consider if there are any other options of treatment available. If they are not sure if there might be other options available, it would be best for them to render first aid to the horse until such time as the insurance company can be contacted or, failing that, a second opinion from another vet can be obtained.
In the event of a death
If the horse dies before the veterinarian has come to your premises, then you must immediately and at your own expense contact a registered veterinarian to conduct an autopsy or necropsy on your horse, as the cause of death must be established.
The veterinarian should firstly conduct an identification of your horse. This can either be confirmed against the passport or, if the horse has a microchip, this can be scanned. This is so that the insurance can confirm that the horse who has died is actually the horse who has been insured. The veterinarian’s initial inspection will include an evaluation of the condition of the horse and whether he was kept in good general health before the incident. The vet will then begin to conduct the autopsy and they should ideally take photographs of the evidence they find and, depending on the circumstances of the death, they may need to keep organ samples and/or blood samples for further testing if, for instance, the horse died of a virus. You would also need to include your vaccination history.
If the horse has died from a broken leg, then a full autopsy need not be performed if the vet can confirm the cause of death without opening up and inspecting the horse.
Rather be safe than sorry
It’s traumatic enough to lose a horse. When you find yourself in this situation, it’s not easy to think about all the regulations and conditions of the insurance. That is why we urge you to contact us as quickly as possible so we can assist in making sure all your Ts are crossed and your Is are dotted so that the claims procedure is handled as smoothly as possible.
Proudly brought to you by Equipagé