Just like humans purchase health and life insurance, horses need coverage to defray costs related to illness, injury, or death. Horse owners should look for total mortality and primary medical/surgical coverage to protect their investment and give them peace of mind.
The annual premiums for these policies are based on the horse’s value and vary by company. You should always carefully read the policy and check if pre-existing conditions are covered.
The most important reason to consider purchasing horse insurance is to ensure that your financial situation allows you to provide the best care possible for your equine partner. The right policy can help diffuse costs when your horse collapses, gets kicked, develops a tumor, or is permanently injured.
The most common type of horse insurance is called primary medical/surgical coverage. Usually added to a mortality policy, this coverage helps pay for veterinary expenses related to illness or injury. It will cover diagnostics, medications, and surgery after the policy’s deductible or co-pay is met.
While this type of insurance won’t cover the expected and routine vet bills (such as annual vaccinations, dental floating, and parasite control), it can be invaluable when your horse colics on Sunday night and must be rushed to the equine hospital for emergency surgery. These types of claims can cost thousands of dollars and are the kind of claims that can be financially devastating without proper coverage.
Many horse owners who purchase this policy add primary medical/surgical coverage as well. This additional endorsement allows the owner an increased coverage limit (and lower annual premium) for veterinary procedures that aren’t included in a standard mortality policy.
Some of these include maintenance procedures, veterinary calls, and travel charges, transporting the horse to and from treatment, elective surgery, alternative therapies such as chiropractic and acupuncture, pre-existing conditions, congenital disabilities, and more that vary by company.
While these policies can’t completely offset the high cost of equine care, they can help soften the blow to the pocketbook and allow horse owners to make decisions for their horses based on what is best for the animal instead of what their bank account will allow.
Always check with an experienced equine insurance agent for details, costs, and exclusions. Also, consider whether a catch-all farmowner insurance policy would better suit your needs. This might be appropriate for a person who does some boarding, training, or breeding on their property, along with lessons and other commercial equine endeavors.
Loss of Use Coverage
The right coverage can help you make medical decisions based on what’s best for your horse and not what your bank balance will allow. This coverage also helps soften the blow when an illness or injury occurs.
If your horse is injured while you are showing it or working it, loss of use can help pay for boarding and training expenses, as well as replacement costs up to policy limits. It also protects you if you are held responsible for the horse’s injuries or death because of your actions.
Many whole mortality policies offer this kind of coverage but review the terms and conditions carefully. These can include a time limit for when the horse can return to work and specific qualifications for permanent loss of use (e.g., a tendon or ligament injury that leaves the horse permanently unable to breed). It’s also essential to understand how claims might impact renewal and potential exclusions from future coverage.
Replacement Cost Coverage
Just like you likely carry insurance on your house and vehicles, you should consider getting a mortality policy for your horse. These policies reimburse the insured if an unavoidable natural occurrence kills their horses. This includes colic, lightning strikes, fire, etc.
Most equine insurance companies provide a range of limits from which the owner can choose to fit their budget. The annual premium is usually a pre-determined percentage of the horse’s insured value and may increase depending on options (deductible, coverage limits, etc.).
Insurance isn’t always cheap, but most owners would probably spend their last dollar to give their horse the medical care that could save him. Purchasing primary medical and mortality coverage is a great way to protect your investment in your horse and ensure you don’t get ripped off by the veterinarian. A knowledgeable equine insurance agent can help you understand the costs and disclaimers of a policy before you purchase it.