Whether your horse is a pasture pet or a high-level competitor, you want to protect them from unexpected illness or injury. You also want to protect yourself from financial disaster — if you’ve ever dealt with an unexpected vet bill, you know they can cost a fortune!
Equine insurance works differently from livestock or farm insurance. If you’ve never purchased an equine insurance policy, you might not be familiar with the range of coverage types available. Here are the major types of equine insurance to consider.
Major Medical Expenses
Major medical insurance for horses works much like human medical insurance does. This type of policy covers many types of veterinary costs:
- Veterinary visits connected to illness or injury
- Diagnostic procedures
As any horse owner knows, veterinary costs can add up quickly. Your insurance company will usually set a per-incident deductible as well as a limit to the total amount they will cover per incident. Most policies also limit the amount they will pay out per horse per year.
Equine medical insurance isn’t subjected to the same regulations as human medical insurance. What this means is insurance companies can set age limits, and most of the time, they won’t cover horses who are 15 or older.
Similarly, equine medical insurance providers may make exclusions based on your horse’s health history. For example, if your horse has severe, chronic laminitis, your insurance company might cover surgical intervention. But when it’s time to renew your policy, the new policy might not cover any expenses related to laminitis.
It’s important to note that insurance providers only allow you to purchase equine major medical insurance if you also have mortality insurance — you can’t have one policy without the other. There’s a lot of variation between different major medical policies, so it is critically important to review your options carefully before you select one.
Specific Surgical Expenses
Equine major medical insurance covers surgical costs. However, major medical policies can sometimes be prohibitively expensive. If major medical insurance is out of your price range but you still want to protect your horse, it’s worth looking into surgical insurance.
This type of insurance will only cover fees directly related to the surgery — it won’t cover the cost of hospital stays or follow-up care. It might not cover every medical expense, but it is much better than having no insurance at all.
There are two types of equine mortality insurance — full mortality and limited mortality. Full mortality insurance will reimburse you the insured value of your horse in the event of their death. It covers death from most causes:
- Euthanasia (if a veterinarian deems it necessary)
- Theft (if the horse is not recovered)
Just like with equine major medical insurance, it can be very difficult to find an insurance company that will cover a horse who is 15 or older. Many companies also require foals to be at least 31 days old before they can be covered. If you have a full mortality policy, you will also need to have a medical or surgical policy.
In some circumstances, you might choose to purchase a limited mortality policy. As the name suggests, limited mortality policies only cover death in limited circumstances — usually accidents. You can purchase a limited mortality policy without having major medical or surgical insurance.
So when would you buy a limited mortality policy? Most people only get this type of policy if their horse is at special risk of accidental death.
For example, if you frequently travel to shows, there’s a greater chance your horse could be killed in a car accident. It would make more sense to purchase a limited mortality policy for this horse than it would for a horse who never leaves your property.
Loss of Use
In some cases, your horse may suffer a non-fatal illness, accident, or injury that leaves them unable to perform like they used to. For instance, an event horse may suffer an injury that makes it unable to jump (but still able to do light work on the flat). Or a stallion used for breeding may contract an illness that leaves him infertile.
In these situations, if you have loss-of-use insurance, your insurance company may reimburse you a percentage of your horse’s value. Loss-of-use policies are usually case-by-case policies that depend on your discipline, the horse’s age, and their medical history.
If you drive a car, your liability insurance protects you if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property. Equine liability insurance works the same way. If your horse causes damage or injury, your liability insurance can cover medical or repair costs.
However, some kinds of farm and ranch insurance already offer this type of coverage. Before you take out a liability policy, check your farm insurance and see if it covers injuries or damage caused by your horses.
Determining Your Horse’s Value for Insurance Purposes
If you take out a mortality or loss-of-use policy on your horse, you might wonder how you and the insurance company will agree on your horse’s value. Your horse’s purchase price can be a good starting point. But you should keep records of a few other things to document possible increases in value:
- Show Records: If your horse consistently does well in the show ring, their value is likely higher than their purchase price
- Training Records: Quality training will almost always increase a horse’s value
- Breeding Records: If your horse is a proven producer of quality offspring, their value may go up
- Comparable Listings: If you need to substantiate your horse’s value, it can be helpful to gather ads for horses similar to yours
- Professional Appraisals: If you aren’t sure of your horse’s value, an experienced appraiser may be able to give you an idea
Remember that the higher your horse’s value, the higher your premiums will be. If you want to keep premiums down, you might be able to insure your horses for less than their full value.
Let Us Help You Find the Right Equine Insurance
The world of insurance can be a challenging one to navigate. But at Garrett Insurance, we’ve been helping people like you protect themselves, their belongings, and their loved ones for over 100 years. Our experienced agents deliver exceptional service and take the time to help you find a policy that has everything you need — and nothing you don’t. If you need equine insurance, farm insurance, home insurance, or something else, get in touch to request a free quote today!