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.
Best Faller Insurance Offers
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.
Using Faller Insurance
As always, whether or not you should take advantage of an offer that you find on a bookmaker’s website will depend entirely on whether or not you were going to place the sort of bet that it covers anyway. If you’re not a horse racing fan and don’t often find yourself in a situation where you’re going to place a bet on a horse race, faller insurance is going to be completely useless for you in much the same way that non-football fans aren’t really going to be able to take advantage of early payouts if your team goes 2-0 up, say.
On the flip side of that, someone that regularly bets on jump horse racing would be mad not to place their bet with a bookie that offers faller insurance regularly. As long as you don’t need to do anything specific with the bets that you were already thinking about placing, you lose nothing by going with a company that offers faller insurance on the races that you were already thinking about betting on. It is a simple enough concept to get your head around, but one that surprisingly few people actually take into account when betting.
What You Need To Bear In Mind
Just as companies don’t tend to offer life insurance for free, bookies aren’t ones to offer you faller insurance without finding a way for you to pay for it in one form or another. In most cases, you can ‘take’ faller insurance by accepting slightly smaller odds to the straight odds offered on the bookmaker’s main page. In other words, if your horse wins, or places in the case of Each-Way bets, you’ll be paid slightly less money than you would have been if you’d not taken out the faller insurance on offer on your bookie’s website.
Whilst this is less than convenient, it does mean that you’re protected in instances where your horse has fallen at a fence, been brought down by another horse or unseated its rider. When that happens, you’ll get your stake returned to you and can look to place another bet, hopefully on a horse that will finish the race in a manner that sees you win some money. It’s also worth remembering that the offer doesn’t apply if your chosen horse’s final result displays as one of the following: Slip Up, Refuse, Run Out or Carried Out.
Is It Worth The Hit?
We’ve looked elsewhere at whether or not faller insurance is good value in terms of how often a horse might actually do one of the qualifying things, but what about in terms of the money that you’ll lose? Let us imagine for a moment that a horse is priced at 4/1 in the fixed-odds market but 11/4 with faller insurance. That means that their odds have dropped by approximately 1.25/1. A £20 bet on the 4/1 market would return £100, including your stake returned to you. The same stake at odds of 11/4 sees you get £75 back, including your stake.
The problem with this is that that seems like an obviously poor return, but it is only thinking about your horse winning. Fire insurance at £10 per month costs £120 a year, which is wasted money if your house never sets on fire. The second it does set on fire, however, the insurance that you’ve been paying for would be worth its weight in gold. Similarly, faller insurance isn’t great value when you look at the money that you’re losing out on when your horse wins, but it’s excellent value if your horse ends up falling, being brought down or unseating its rider.
What To Do With Paid Out Money
Faller insurance is, as we’ve established, excellent value when your horse ends up unseating its rider, falling at a fence or being brought down, but the question then becomes about what you should do with the returned stake. The answer comes in the form of your own typical betting habits. It is never a good idea to place bets on markets that you don’t understand, so the most intelligent thing that you can do if you weren’t already planning on placing another bet is to bide your time. Whilst free bet tokens or the likes often have time limits attached, they’re normally seven days or similar.
This means that you’ve got a week to find another market to bet on. Sometimes the free bet will specify that it must be placed on a horse race, whilst others will not have such limitations applied to them and will therefore allow you to use it on something you’re more familiar with such as football or tennis. Regardless of what the bet is about, the important thing is for you to do as much research as possible before placing it. Whilst the bet that you get to place might essentially be ‘free’, that doesn’t mean that it should be wasted.
Research is the best way of ensuring that your bet has the best possible chance of winning. In the case of the bet you’re getting back after your horse has fallen, that is obviously just really unfortunate. The likelihood is, though, that you’re getting the money back because the research you did said that the horse that you bet on was likely to win but ended up having their race stopped some other way. That just means that you’ve been unlucky and not that you should throw the baby out with the bathwater moving forward.
The key thing to think about is that betting on something that you don’t know much about is a sure fire way to lose your money. Nobody wants to lose money in simplistic circumstances, so the most sensible thing that you want to do moving forward is as much research as possible. Again, just because it is a free bet doesn’t mean that it should be a wasted one and that is something that you should think about as a mantra when it comes to figuring out how best to use money that you’ve suddenly got available because a horse fell.