Business Clinic: Is my working dog covered by farm insurance?

Farmers Weekly‘s Business Clinic experts offer free advice on legal, finance, tax, insurance, farm management and land issues.

Here, farming insurance specialist Chris Walsh explains how a working farm dog should be covered in case of accident, illness or theft.

Q My sheepdog is crucial to my daily work. Will my insurance cover vet’s bills and replacing him if he is out of action through illness, accident or, in the worst case, if we lose him?

Chris WalshChris Walsh
Farming insurance specialist
NFU Mutual

Working dogs can be covered by general or specialist insurance policies in case they die or, through illness or injury, can no longer do their job.

Many farm dogs are insured as part of a general livestock policy.

Most will pay out for vet bills, however the maximum limit for these fees is usually the value of the dog and rarely more than a few hundred pounds.

Under these policies, if the dog dies or is put to sleep, the payout can vary. If your dog is of particularly high value, buying a replacement could be a struggle.

See also: Why employers liability cover is essential for everyone

Common issues involving farm dogs include them being hit by farm machinery, getting caught on barbed wire or developing long-term joint problems.

For high-value animals and those regularly working on shoots or on the farm, you might want to consider taking out a specialist dog policy featuring loss of animal cover, which would cover the replacement value as well as other expenses.

Again, these vary between insurers so you need to ask what is covered or what is available.

The main areas to consider are loss of the animal (straying is sometimes included in this cover), loss of use (through illness or accident) and vet’s bills (boarding costs and expenses may also be included).

Finally, don’t forget to keep an eye out for thieves – trained dogs are on their wishlist. You will only be covered for loss by theft if that is a named peril on your policy.

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