4 Things You Need to Know About Horse Insurance
Horses are more expensive to maintain than dogs and cats. In the unfortunate event of death, injury or sickness, the losses incurred are significantly higher than for most animals. An equine/horse insurance is necessary to protect you and your horse.
Did you know that lightning strikes are a common cause of horse mortality? One equine insurance company faces at least 10 claims a year for horses that have died from lightning strikes. Other risks include damage to your riding equipment, trailers and other gear, theft or straying, loss of use and more. To protect yourself financially, you will need horse insurance which will provide you with a cover that offers you some security and confidence. The following are the 4 important questions you need to answer before acquiring equine insurance:
- Do you need horse insurance?
- How much should you insure your horse for?
- How to calculate the value of your horse
- The types of horse insurance cover
Do you need horse insurance?
Maddi Kempf, a horse owner, only insures her horses that cost more than $10,000. Reason being that insuring a horse that she could easily replace is not a wise decision to her. Perhaps not every horse owner needs insurance. If you bought a new BMW for $50,000 and have the resources to buy another one immediately if the car was stolen, then you don’t really need car insurance. The same applies to horse insurance where if you can afford to replace your horse if he dies today without feeling any financial strain, you don’t need to worry about insuring him/her. However, if replacing your horse could create a financial pinch on your chequebook, then perhaps you should consider insuring him.
How much should you insure your horse for?
The first question you should answer is what is the value of your horse. The idea behind horse insurance is to recover your investment in case of loss and not to make a profit out of a claim. The value of a horse is also not how much it will cost you to replace him or what someone else is willing to buy him from you but only what you have invested in the horse.
How to calculate the value of your horse
If you just purchased the horse, the price of the horse is what you have invested. Therefore, be sure to keep all the sales receipts and copies for the proof of purchase in the event of any loss. If you have had the horse for some time, you can determine the value by adding the cost of any training fees spent on the horse. Make sure you keep the records, earnings and the breeding record if it’s a stallion. You could consider insuring him for the partial cost of the investment rather than the full value of the horse. This is a common practice for those who want to keep the premiums down and be able to afford major medical coverage as well.
The types of horse insurance cover
This is the most basic coverage and is actually a requirement for any other coverage. When you buy a horse, the price of the purchase will determine the value of the cover. However, with time a horse becomes more valuable through generated earnings, breeding income and training expenses.
In the unfortunate event of theft or death of your horse, you will be reimbursed for the insured market value of the horse. Death due to neglect or abuse isn’t covered.
Decide whether you want full or limited coverage. A full comprehensive package covers death due to acts of God such as lightning strike for example and human destruction and other causes.
This coverage has specific exclusions that may not include acts of God for example.
While the annual premium is based on a percentage of your horse’s estimated value, insurance companies have established minimum policy prices that vary from $150 to $250.
Maddi, a horse owner had this to say about her insurance cover:
“The company I use charges 3.5% (for a barrel horse) of the horses value per year. So, if your horse was worth $10,000 you’d pay $350 a year for insurance. You can also add on Major Medical, up to $5000 was a flat $250 I believe, and up to $10,000 in medical was a flat fee of $350.”
Horse owners sometimes face a dilemma that could force them to choose between euthanasia and medical care when the medical expenses for their horse become unmanageable. Veterinary care can be expensive particularly for lameness, injury and colic treatment.
Major medical coverage comes in handy to ease the financial burden and help you avoid making that difficult choice. As mentioned earlier, your horse must first be covered under a mortality/theft policy to be eligible for major medical coverage.
Premiums will depend on the policy limit you select. A major medical policy with a $5,000 limit averages $200 annually. A $7,500 limit is around $340 annually; $10,000 is close to $450 a year, and a $15,000 limit is approximately $675.
You will be required to prove that you provided all the necessary care possible to save your horse when insured for major medical. For instance, if you choose to euthanise your horse when faced with a colic surgery so as to relieve your horse of the stress of surgery, the company is not obligated to pay on the policy. If all means are taken to save the horse and the horse doesn’t survive, then you’ll be paid on the policy.
Accident Sickness Disease (ASD)
If you have a stallion then this insurance cover applies to you. ASD insurance covers investment in breeding stallions. Should your stallion lose his ability to breed due to accident, sickness, or disease, the policy compensates you for the stallion’s insured value.
Before coverage begins, you’ll be required to demonstrate the horse’s viability as a stallion, including that he’s settled mares in at least one breeding season. A semen evaluation by your veterinarian also is required.
In the event that your stallion is no longer able to breed and you submit a claim to be paid for his insured value, the insurance company will require the horse to be gelded.
This cover applies to horse owners with horses that compete in different games such as reining, western pleasure and cutting. Your recreational horse will not require this cover. The value of the cover will be determined by your horse’s performance level. There are two types available: accidental (limited loss) and full loss.
Accidental or limited loss insurance pays a percentage of the horse’s total value in the event an accident leaves the horse unable to perform his intended use.
Full loss insurance covers a percentage of your horse’s value in the event of an accident or internal injury, including OCD (osteochondritis dissecans) or navicular disease, that will prevent your horse from performing his intended use.