The funny old thing about insurance is that nobody really enjoys paying for it, and yet when the time comes that you need it you’re so thankful that you took out that policy on your home or car.
The same sort of mindset kicks in when we take out insurance on our horse racing or greyhound racing bets. While we might be miffed that we have to accept generally shorter odds than is the case in the traditional markets, we also know that we will get our stake back should our pick to win end up in the places.
So here’s a closer look at place insurance, its benefits and drawbacks and what to expect when you are insured against your selections failing to claim victory.
What Is Place Insurance?
In a nutshell, place insurance is the mechanism via which you can bet on a horse or dog to win, and if they do prevail you will be paid out in full as normal.
However, bets that are ‘insured’ will be refunded if your selection doesn’t win but does go on to finish in the declared number of places.
Different bookmaking firms call their place insurance different things: at William Hill it’s straightforward ‘insurance betting’, whereas Paddy Power have gone for ‘Insurebet’ and Bet365 ‘cover bets’.
Either way, most bookies offer some kind of insurance on your horse/greyhound racing bets, so it’s just a case of finding it on their website/app.
How Does Place Insurance Work?
When there are eight or more runners in a field, you can use place insurance to cover either one or two places.
So, if your pick is beaten by a nose, then two-place insurance punts would see your stake returned. The three-place option extends that so that your refund will be forthcoming if your selection finishes second or third.
To reiterate, you will still be paid out as a winner if your pick crosses the line in first place – it’s just that, in the absolute vast majority of cases, you will be taking lower odds than you would in standard win and each way markets.
Let’s take a look at an example of that in action. Here’s three well-fancied horses in a race at Haydock Park, and here’s their odds in the traditional betting markets:
- Al Dasim – 7/2
- Rogue Spirit – 11/4
- Kuwait City – 5/1
Now here’s a look at the prices you would be taking if you took them in the insured two-place or three-place options:
As you can see, for the added peace of mind that place insurance brings, you do miss out on a couple of points worth of profit if your selection does go on to win the race.
Here’s the relative returns from this Haydock renewal to a £10 stake:
|–||Win Only||2 Places||3 Places|
As you can see, there’s a considerable difference when taking insured prices compared to win-only odds.
So when it comes to place insurance betting, you need to pick your battles carefully.
When to Use Place Insurance
There is no hard and fast rule to using place insurance, and your analysis of a race will ultimately determine what the best course of action is in the individual circumstances.
Sometimes, we bet on favourites or market protagonists but there’s a voice telling us that, because they’re taking a step up in trip or making their debut at a new track, we should be cautious. Place insurance here can work.
It’s a bet type that has some value when the each way returns from a short-priced fancy are so meagre that there’s no real point in taking the e/w odds – backing them to win, with the consolation of place insurance, is arguably the sharper play.
It’s a bet that you can also deploy when you have a fancy for a horse at longer odds – especially when the favourite is a temperamental or unpredictable sort. That way, if the fav does put in a big performance, you don’t need to walk away empty-handed.
But if the market protagonist does have a shocker, then you will be well placed to take advantage with your insured pick.