While this type of bet may seem like it should be the default option for any punter, it carries the cost of paying out lower odds than you’d get if you placed a back bet on the same selection.
How insurance betting in horseracing works
An insurance bet is pretty much what it says it is – a bet that pays you out if your selection doesn’t perform as you predicted.
When you place an insurance bet in horse racing your entire stake will be refunded in the event that your horse places in a race instead of winning it.
The number of places paid out by an insurance bet vary.
If your insurance bet covers you up to second place, you’ll only get refunded if your horse finishes second, but will get odds that are closer to your selection’s odds in the regular win market.
If your insurance bet covers you for additional places, you’ll get a refund if your horse finishes in these places. However, your odds will be quite a bit lower than what you’d get in the win market.
Where to find insurance betting markets
Bookies will either display insurance betting markets on the primary race card or display links to these markets along with other alternative markets.
Note that the term insurance bet isn’t used by all bookies, and the major bookmakers use different terms to describe these markets.
We’ll go into more detail on how the major bookies label and handle insurance betting in a moment.
Insurance betting strategy
Insurance betting is something you can use to cover yourself in a wide variety of situations.
Probably the best way to use it is when betting on a horse you’ve identified as a strong favourite who offers some value on their price.
For example, if you find a strong favourite priced at 3/1 in the win market, it can make a lot of sense to take a slightly lower price to cover yourself if it places instead of wins.
However, if you have a strong favourite priced under Evens, an insurance bet is going to pay out such low odds on the win you’re likely to be better off taking the full price.
Insurance betting can also be used when you’re looking for a strong contender that offers better value than the favourite.
If the favourite obliges and wins its race, while your horse places, you lose nothing. At the same time if your horse upsets the favourite, you’ll get a payout at a decent price.
Insurance betting by the bookie
Major bookmakers use different terms to describe insurance betting and may handle these markets differently. We take a look at some of the major players below.
Bet365 uses the term ‘cover bets’ to describe insurance bets.
The cover bet option is found in the More Markets section of the racecard alongside the ‘betting without’ prices.
Bet365 only offers cover bets to 3rd place on races with larger fields, while cover bets to 2nd place are the standard across its race markets.
You can access insurance betting at William Hill by clicking on the Insurance Markets link on any race card on their website.
The market will then display a single column of insurance bet prices if the race is only paying insurance to 2nd place, or two columns if the insurance is paying out to 3rd place.
Paddy Power refers to insurance betting as ‘Insurebets’. You can find Insurebet prices under the ‘Insurance’ tab on racecards on the Paddy Power website.
The Insurebet odds table resembles the typical Paddy Power racecard, with separate cards used to display the Insurebet market to 2nd place, and the Insurebet market to 3rd place if that is available.
You can view the available markets by toggling the arrow on the Insurebet 2 Places option on the market.
Conveniently, Paddy Power also displays changes to the odds in this market for each entry and price. This makes it easier to see where other punters are putting their money.
- Do you think the winner will be a favourite or an outsider?
- Bet either way in a selection to win market, with different odds for if your choice wins or loses.
- Find out what the market ‘betting without’ means in horse racing betting.