5 questions to ask when buying Livestock insurance

In 2016 our customers made more claims for their livestock than for anything else on the farm. The majority of these were for fatal injuries but sheep worrying, animals on the road and damage to property from animals were also reasons our customers needed to make a claim. And claims can run into the thousands. One of the biggest claims for a single animal Rural Insurance has settled was for £10,000 – a sum that can have a major impact on the cash flow of your business.

So what do you need to think about when it comes to livestock insurance?

1. Are your farm animals covered if they are fatally injured on your own premises?

While many insurers will cover you for death of an animal if it has strayed onto another property, not all policies include cover for deaths that occur on your own premises. Fortunately, you have the option to extend your cover with Rural Insurance for any fatal injuries that take place on your property.

2. Are you covered for sheep worrying?

It’s a sad fact that sheep worrying is on the rise (more than 15,000 sheep and unborn lambs were killed by dogs in 2016 according to Sheepwatch UK). Having the right cover in place means you don’t have the additional financial burden in addition to the distressing experience of losing livestock this way.

3. Do you need public liability insurance?

If you have any farm animals (particularly larger animals such as cows and horses) the answer is likely to be yes. If any of your livestock escaped in England and Wales, you would be liable for the damage they caused, whatever the circumstances. A few years ago, the horse of one of our customers was spooked and escaped onto a public road, colliding with a car and causing the driver serious injuries. Fortunately, they had liability insurance and so did not have to pay the £100,000 cost of the claim.

4. Have you remembered to update your policy to reflect your livestock numbers?

If your herds have grown over the last year don’t forget to let your insurer know so your livestock are not under-insured. Similarly, if herd numbers have gone down this might have a positive impact on your premiums if you let your insurer know.

5. Are there any specific diseases you want to cover against?

Fortunately, foot and mouth is a distant memory and anthrax outbreaks are less and less common, but a disease amongst your livestock could have a devastating effect. Many insurance policies will provide cover for a range of diseases – just ask your insurer what is covered at standard. You may also wish to consider cover for infertility of livestock.


When your livestock are your livelihood you’ll know the importance of making sure they are covered. Even if you only have a small number of farm animals you may want to make sure you have the right liability cover should they escape. With the number of claims we see at Rural each year we understand the importance of protecting your farm animals.