Owning a horse is a serious financial investment, which is why getting equine insurance is a wise decision. Keeping that in mind, there are hundreds of various equine insurance plans available. And navigating those plans and offers can be a daunting task.
Fear not! We will help you through the the maze of options and get down to the most important aspects of horse coverage you need to know to make the right decision.
Who needs equine insurance
Good Question! Shopping for an equine insurance policy probably sounds about as much fun as mucking stalls in February. But unfortunately accidents do happen every day, and when that day comes you do not want to be stuck with a heap of veterinarian bills.
Just like you keep insurance coverage on your car and your home, you have a significant amount of money invested in your horses and they deserve the same level of assurance.
What does it cover
To see what type of coverage your horse needs, first you have to make sure you understand the different types of equine insurance available out there. The catch lies in the fact that equine insurance plans often differ depending on the insurance company offering them up.
You have invested a lot of time AND money into your horses. And mortality horse coverage is there for the unfortunate case that your horse dies. All mortality insurance plans vary in their details and you must read your policy thoroughly.
That being said, most of the equine mortality insurance plans cover any imaginable cause of death. This includes natural causes and fatal injuries, incurred by accidents. Some of the better coverage options will also cover other causes such as human destruction, fire or other natural disasters.
The age of your horse plays a big role in determining how much you are going to pay for your insurance policy. Horses that are at least a day old can be insured with a mortality insurance policy, with 17 years being the usual upper limit.
Although this number varies depending on the insurance company you choose. The premium you have to pay will also vary depending on just how much coverage you decide to get. This is derived from the percentage of the value of your horse. The following are the most important factors that ultimately determine the premium of equine mortality insurance:
The purchase price of your horse is always going to be the starting point of any insurance coverage plan. However, since the actual sale value of the horse is going to fluctuate throughout their life, there are a number of other factors that also play a significant role in this.
Breeding and competition records
The breeding record is a large determining factor. A mare or stallion with successful offspring is going to command a larger sum for the insurance company to payout.
Competition records also have a large impact on the price of the insurance plan.
If the horse you are looking to insure has undergone significant professional training it’s value is going to be higher. Therefore the price of insurance is going to go up.
But there is some good news! If the horse has undergone serious training, some companies will lower the price of the deductible, as the horse is probably in good health due to the training.
Market comparisons and appraisals
Some equine insurance providers require a professional appraisal prior to quoting your coverage.
While this is not done every time, you should not be surprised if the insurance company asks for this. Especially if the value of your horse is on the upper end of the scale.
Medical and Surgical Insurance
If you have medical insurance for yourself you have a decent idea of how it works for your horse. Equine medical insurance is not that different.
With the latest technological advancements, the treatment of horses and their general health care quality has risen significantly. But with this improvement there has been an increase in cost of equine medical care and without insurance, paying for this treatment can be prohibitive.
Therefore you should get both medical and surgical insurance coverage. As surgical procedures are often not covered by medical plans.
It is important to note that medical and surgical insurance plans usually do not cover regular health checks, such as vaccines or dental care.
This type of insurance policy works only on the “need to” basis, meaning that it will cover the costs of medical treatment that is required. Keep in mind, it is not valid for elective surgeries.
The last thing to note is that medical and surgical insurance plans do not cover the costs of medical treatments tied with any birth defects or any alternative therapies. Although the latter can be covered with some insurance companies.
Loss of use
Loss of use insurance coverage plan protects you in the unfortunate case that your horse becomes injured or too ill to perform the tasks that you bought him to do.
In this case, the insurance company pays a predetermined sum (which was determined at the signing of the policy). For this insurance policy to be valid, you usually have to get a medical insurance policy too.
Pitfalls to watch out for with Loss of Use insurance
While this insurance policy can be very beneficial, it can prove to be tricky to prove to the insurance company that the horse cannot perform what you bought him to do.
Another issue with this policy is that the insurance companies usually require that the horse is put to sleep, which is not something everyone is willing to do.
Think about your car and home insurance again. A general liability insurance coverage plan protects you if your horse damages someone’s property or even injures someone.
Before you purchase this type of insurance coverage, make sure that you do not already have this covered by your homeowner’s policy. You may be able to save some money! And speaking of money…
How much is it going to cost me
There are many factors that will determine the price you have to pay to insure your horse.
A few of those factors include where you live, the initial value of your equine, and the exact types of coverage you want to get.
Medical insurance policies are usually in the $500-$1000 per year range, although this can vary greatly, depending on those factors we mentioned earlier.
Finding the right company is going to make a huge impact on how much you pay and the quality of your coverage.
(I always recommend you talk to your friends about who they have used for their horse insurance. Ask them what they like and what they dislike about their provider.)
To choose a great equine insurance company you should make sure that they are underwritten by a legitimate carrier (watch out for scams).
Here are some questions to ask your prospective insurers to ensure you are going to get the best insurance for your money.
- Does my insurance coverage plan have any exclusions?
- What is the exact deductible of the insurance policy?
- How much will the annual premium be?
- How long has the insurance company been in business?
- What is the percentage that will be paid upon every potential claim filed?
Who should I call for the best quote
Buying quality equine insurance is an important decision. And the peace of mind you gain with getting the right coverage will be more than worth the costs.
Here are a few horse insurance providers that have earned a good reputation. They will be happy to answer your questions and help you find the perfect insurance coverage you and your horses needs.
- American Equine Insurance Group
American Equine Insurance Group has been in the equine insurance market for more than three decades, which is why they can be found at the top of our list. It has a network of independent insurance brokers, which allows them to cover the whole of the US. Two main types of insurance that they provide are Equine Mortality insurance and Equine Liability insurance, as well as Equine Ranch & Estate, which is a combination of homeowners and equine insurance.
- Hare, Chase & Heckman
Hare, Chase and Heckman agency is a vetted, national provider of different equine insurance products, ranging from horses and owners to trainers, equestrian facilities, and hunt clubs. They have been operating since 1867, meaning that they have more than enough experience when it comes to equine insurance. They offer a wide array of equine insurance plans, but the two that are most prominently used are horse mortality and medical insurance plans.
- American Equestrian Alliance
American Equestrian Alliance decided to venture forth in the equine insurance business, as the number of quality equine insurance providers has been in decline for some time now. AEA has many useful programs and safety guidelines that will surely help you in caring for your horse, even if you do not end up getting an insurance policy with them. What really makes this company stand out from all the rest is the fact that it did not start out as an insurance company, it was merely an equestrian club that recognized the need for quality equine insurance and jumped right in to fill that gap.
Fred is the editor of Equine Ridge. He grew up raising horses and has been riding, training, and competing for almost four decades. Fred started out performing on the AQHA and PHBA circuits. Fred trained other competitors in English and Western riding disciplines and today offers free riding lessons to youth who would otherwise not be able to afford lessons. When not working with horses he can be found backpacking or trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Email Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org