T&C’s apply, 18+, Begambleaware.org
The Gambling Act of 1845 ensured that the only form of legal gambling in the United Kingdom was at racing tracks. It’s fair to say, then, that the majority of bookmakers have their origins in dealing with horse racing. Consequently they’ve found ways over the years of making their offers more attractive than others, thereby encouraging more punters to place their wagers with them.
One of the most popular offers that has emerged is Faller Insurance. But what is it? How does it work? What are the ins and outs of the deal and why is it a good thing to take bookies up on? Hopefully I’ll be able to answer all of those questions and more on this page, putting you in a decent position to know what you’re looking for when you go to place a bet on the gee-gees.
What Is Faller Insurance?
Sometimes when it comes to placing a wager you’ll look at an offer or type of bet and wonder what on earth it means. Other times an offer is somewhat self-explanatory, with the title telling you pretty much everything you need to know. This is one of those times.
Faller Insurance is an offer whereby a bookmaker refunds your stake to you if the horse that you’ve bet on falls or does something similar to rule it out of the race, such as unseats its rider or is brought down by another horse. The stake may be refunded to you as bonus funds, a free bet or (rarely) as cash, but the general rule of thumb is that if your horse doesn’t finish the race because it falls you’ll get your bet back one way or another.
One thing that seems obvious but that didn’t occur to me the first time I found out about Faller Insurance is the fact that it tends to only apply to the jump race season. In the flat season bookies tend to replace this offer with one that sees your money returned to you if your horse is beaten by a head or length, but as always with such things that varies from bookmaker to bookmaker, with all of them offering slightly different things.
Common Faller Insurance Terms
Most bookmakers offer you Faller Insurance for if your horse falls, unseats its jockey or is brought down. That’s great and if you’re a fan of jump racing season then you’ll know the agony of seeing your horse fall and your money fall down with it. This is a way to mitigate your pain and give you a chance to have another go.
One thing you should be aware of is that your horse has to start the race for this kind of insurance to kick in. If the horse you have bet on doesn’t make it to starter’s orders then the Fallers Insurance won’t apply. The same is true if it is withdrawn from the race.
One key thing you’ll want to consider is whether your stake is returned to you as a free bet, bonus funds or as real cash. A free bet is common practice, though sometimes bookies will try to give themselves an edge over their competitors by simply refunding your initial stake straight back into your main wallet.
More often than not Fallers Insurance applies to Win bets or the Win part of Each Way wagers. Again, this can differ between bookmakers so it’s worth asking the question before you decide whether or not to place your bet with one bookie over another. You can also have insurance on a different number of horses depending on how many are in the race.
Not all jump races are covered by Fallers Insurance, with some bookies offering it on selected races or meetings. Other have tie-ins with the likes of ITV and offer it for the races that are live on the TV. Therefore make sure you have a look not only at which bookies are offering it but also which races they’re offering it on. You might be able to mix and match with different companies if you’re betting on several races.
The final thing I’ll mention is stakes and odds. Have a little look to see if there are minimum or maximum stake limits combined with the Faller Insurance offer, usually this is capped at £25. Some bookies have a minimum bet of £5 or £10 so beware of this too.
Is Faller Insurance Good Value?
One question you might be asking yourself is whether or not Fallers Insurance is actually good value. After all, if horses don’t actually fall or unseat their riders that often then what’s the point in taking out protection against it happening?
It’s a very fair question to ask. In 2008 The Guardian ran a piece talking about the top jockeys and the number of falls they have. Over two years Ruby Walsh had issues in 7.4% of his races. Tony McCoy, meanwhile, fell or was unseated in 3.7% of the 567 rides he had. Tom O’Brien fell or was unseated 49 times in total, whilst Mick Fitzgerald had the fewest but still had issues in eight races.
In other words, it varies from jockey to jockey but it definitely happens and no jockey during that two year period went without either falling or being unseated. If you’re really puzzled by value then maybe monitor some races for a couple of weeks and see what happens.