Items

Forums
The Lowdown On Buying Horse Insurance
 By mosquito   •   13th May 2011   •   5,184 views   •   9 comments
I have mentioned horse insurance in a few other articles, and frankly I’m a fan. I have always insured my horses, and I have always been glad I did. Insurance can take away the worry of unexpected vet bills, or the risk of making an unpleasant decision on the basis of money. If you have spent a lot of money on a valuable animal, it can cover your risk if the horse is injured or can’t compete. It may cover theft, and may pay for advertising if your horse is missing. Some policies will cover tack, or will protect you from lawsuits if your horse damages property or injures someone. Some policies will even pay for you to hire a replacement horse if yours can’t compete.

Horse InsuranceI don’t work for an insurance company and I won’t promote any particular companies here. Choosing to insure or not to insure is a very personal decision – but I’ll give you some pointers as to how it works so you can decide if insuring is right for you. If it is, there are also a few things it’s good to know to choose the right policy for you and your horse.

Policies and premiums


Insurance policies cost a little – or a lot. This is your ‘premium’, and you can usually pay it annually or monthly, although most companies will add a small charge for making monthly payments. The amount of your premium will depend on several factors. The value of your horse, its age, its breed, its medical condition, and what you use it for are the main factors, and there isn’t much you can do to control those. Your premium will also depend on your ‘coverage’ or what the insurance company will pay for. You will usually have some choices about your coverage.

For example, your premium will depend partly on the maximum amount your policy will pay.

Most policies will set a couple of maximum amounts they’ll pay. These might be the maximum amount they’ll pay in total in a year for veterinary care for every claim you make, or the maximum for any particular injury or disease. The more you lower the amount the insurance company may have to pay, the lower your premium will be. However, if you horse needs extensive care, you may find you reach that maximum very quickly and you can still be left with a big bill. When deciding on a policy, talk to your vet about what some common conditions cost, or how much a trip to the equine hospital might run. This will help you judge what you are potentially likely to pay in the event of illness or injury.

Another way to cut down your premiums is the ‘deductible’. This is the amount you pay for any injury or illness first, then the insurance company pays the rest. For example, you get a vet bill of $600 and you have a deductible of $200. You pay the first $200, and your insurance company pays the rest, up to the maximum your policy allows. A low deductible makes for more expensive premiums, but if your cash is tight, and finding a couple hundred bucks to pay your vet before the insurance kicks in could be a problem, then a lower deductible might suit you better.

There are other things an insurance company may take into account when considering your premium. Older horses (those over fifteen) often cost more to insure, as do horses competing in strenuous sports like eventing or barrel racing. Freeze brands – and marking tack and rugs with your horses’ brand – can often lower your premiums.

Choosing what to cover


We've just talked about deductibles and maximums, but there are a few other choices that will affect your premiums. You might prefer not to have coverage for theft, or not to insure your tack as well. Most policies will require the ‘liability’ insurance – that’s the part that protects you if your horse hurts someone or damages property – but it’s not the expensive part of your premium and in my opinion it’s good to have. You might be able to put your trailer or lorry on your policy, but it might be cheaper to insure that with an auto insurer. Some policies offer medical coverage for you for riding accidents, but you might be covered elsewhere. Check all of your other insurance policies so you don’t pay to protect yourself for something already covered. Remember, insurance can be hidden in all kinds of places – Some breed or association memberships include some insurance too!

Pre existing conditions and exclusions


There are some things an insurance company won’t cover, and these are most commonly ‘pre existing conditions’. Chances are, when you first set up your policy, the company will want you to get a general vet check of your horse. If your horse already has an illness, and injury, or a genetic condition, the insurance company may ‘exclude’ that from your policy. That means they won’t cover it and won’t pay any bills associated with it. A pre-existing condition is often a source of frustration with insurance companies, and you can argue your case or shop around to find a company that will cover it.

Your policy will come with a list of ‘exclusions’ which are all the things they won’t cover. Before you finally sign on the dotted line, make sure the company has provided you with a list of exclusions and that you understand them.

Loss of Use


Loss Of Use BrandLoss of use is another option to consider when insuring. This is a payment the insurance company will make when if horse is so badly injured that it can’t be ridden, bred, or otherwise do what you bought it for, but isn’t so badly sick or injured that it needs to be put down. It is usually a percentage of the horse’s value (most commonly 75 to 80%), but some companies will offer 100% of the horse’s value for a loss of use claim. Your vet will need to certify your claim, and usually your horse will need to be freeze branded with an ‘L’. If you ever see this brand on a horse, it shows that the horse has been the subject of a loss of use claim. That means if it’s your horse, and you go to sell it, everyone will know. It’s not a problem for honest horse owners, but if someone is trying to sell you a horse with that brand, be careful.

Who pays when?


The last thing to think about with insurance is how the company will pay. Most insurance companies will expect you to pay the bills first, and then they’ll reimburse you. This can take a long time – I’ve waited for as much as three months for a claim to be paid. If you think you can find the money for your vet bills, but only temporarily, or can borrow the money, then this may work for you as you will normally get the money back eventually. If you can’t risk your claim being turned down, or you really can’t find the money up front, then look for an insurance company that will let your vet bill them directly for anything above your deductible – and make sure your vet will agree to that too!

You've got your insurance, now what?


If you decide to insure, and you find a company and a policy that works for you, then take care of it. Make sure you call your company every time you use your vet, even if you don’t plan to make a claim at that time. A small injury or illness can turn into a bigger problem, and you want to make sure your insurers know that a claim might be coming. Before agreeing to expensive treatments or alternative therapies (things like acupuncture may or may not be covered by your insurance depending on your policy and your vet’s recommendations), call your insurers and check. Keep your horse up to date with vaccinations and worming so you don’t invalidate your policy. Make sure you fill in your claim forms completely when you file a claim, and submit them promptly. Don’t expect your company to be happy to pay out on a bill that’s six months old that they knew nothing about! If in doubt whether to inform your insurers, call them.

Other than that, pay your premiums on time, read any letters they send you that might alert you to policy changes, and then go out and relax and enjoy your horse!
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  mosquito
ImaCoolCowgirl  
Hum....wonder if they have horsey insurance in my area....
  May 13, 2011  •  3,455 views
 
Artista  
VERY informative article! All my animals are insured and while sometimes the copay doesn't make much of a difference in the overall cost of treatment, more often than not, I've always been grateful when something "serious" happened -- only to find, it was covered.
  May 13, 2011  •  3,486 views
 
Simplicity  
Nice article
To bad I don't have a horse XD
  May 14, 2011  •  3,452 views
 
T E M P E S T  
Great article!
  May 14, 2011  •  3,499 views
 
Little Bitty Farm  
Another great article! :)
  May 14, 2011  •  3,699 views
 
Ghost  
Thanks! I've been considering getting horse and pet insurance in general, so this article has been very informative!! I'll be using it as a reference when I look at plans!
  May 16, 2011  •  3,473 views
 
Labyrinth  
I'm sure there are many people out there that regretted not having insurance when the time came to choose between the money or the horse. I had my yearling colt insured when he was five months old. It's not everyday that you get a colt with his breeding and quality at the price we got him for, so it wasn't a question whether or not he'd be insured.
  May 16, 2011  •  3,656 views
 
Arialr  
This is really helpful. Thank You
  Jun 3, 2011  •  3,497 views
 
All That Jazz  
Oh my gosh, this is so helpful!
  Jan 10, 2012  •  3,498 views
 More News by mosquito
Old Joe - Chapter 5
10th Nov 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
I couldn’t believe my eyes. For having been so little there before, it looked like a whole town had been turned inside out. Ben shook his head, and walked down to the trail slowly, carefully, picking out way around what was now de ...
Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Hindquarters
21st Oct 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
We’ve seen how the lower legs and hoof all work together to help the horse move, even without any muscles there. Now let’s start looking at how the muscles of the horse really give him power, speed, and balance. Where better to st ...
Your Horse from the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 2
8th Sep 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
We’ve taken a look at the solid structures of the lower leg – the bones – now let’s see what makes those bones move. First of all, remember that there are no muscles below the knee or the hock, so there’s no actual ‘engine’ to mov ...
Old Joe - Chapter 4
25th Aug 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
There was no shelter, no trees, nothing. Ben called again and we turned further right, angling away from the train. We were going uphill, and that seemed even more foolish to me until we reached the crest. What goes up, goes down, ...
Old Joe - Chapter 3
5th Aug 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
It wasn’t long before Luke rode up alongside us on Snowy. I couldn’t see him for my blinkers, but I could hear Snowy’s little quick hoofbeats and smell his carroty breath. Snowy reached over and gave me a nip on my muzzle; I turne ...
Old Joe - Chapter 2
29th Jul 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
As the sun grew higher in the sky, the dew dried on the grass, and the last few lingering clouds fluttered and disappeared. The bright blue sky – with that deep blue of a cold morning – changed to a softer hue, as a muggy haze be ...
Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 1
19th Jul 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
Now that we have the foundations – the hoof – let’s move up our horse and find out a little more about how he moves. In this article we’ll visit the lower leg. For the most part, the front and hind legs (below the knee and hock) a ...
Old Joe - Chapter 1
15th Jul 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
I heard the rooster crow, and shifted in my stall to try and stretch as much as I could. First he crows, then Farmer Ben comes along, Bess and I have breakfast, and we get to work. Sunday was yesterday, when we got brushed up nice ...
  View All News by mosquito
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
174 Members Online 254,731 Registered Members 2,629 News Articles 11,130,582 Unique News Article Views 261,561,966 Website Views