Animal ownership comes with many expenses, including food and medical care. With horses, there are larger investments in equipment like a barn or stable, fencing, a trailer, and acreage to pasture them. A mortality policy reimburses you for your horse’s value should it die during the policy. Many companies also offer loss-of-use coverage, which covers a percentage of your horse’s weight should it suffer an external injury and become permanently disabled.
Types of Policies
There are many different policies available, ranging in price and coverage. A good Equine Insurance agent can help you sort through the costs, disclaimers, and options to find the right policy for your horse.
The basic policy, called full mortality, insures a horse for the cost to humanely put it down or its replacement value. Most insurers offer a number of coverage limits and rates that depend on the horse’s age and use. The cost is typically a percentage of the insured value of the horse but can vary from company to company. Most mortality policies will also cover emergency stabling expenses, which could become necessary if the horse must be displaced from its normal stable due to disaster or an uncontrollable circumstance such as a fire, flood or contagious disease.
Major medical/surgical is a more specific add-on to the mortality policy that insures the horse for the cost of certain veterinary expenses after a per claim deductible is met. These include the cost of life saving surgery under general anesthesia and other costly procedures that could be necessary in the event of an accident or illness. These policies will usually exclude pre-existing conditions, elective treatments and dental work. Some of these policies can be added to the mortality policy for a flat rate.
Liability is another important add-on that may be offered in a variety of different packages and rates. It is essential to have this if your horse is being shown or competed as it will not be covered by the owner’s personal liability or homeowners’ policy. Liability can also be extended to the property where the horses are kept and may even be offered to follow the horse if it is being transported for show or training purposes.
In addition to reviewing the coverage and pricing, equestrians should also check on an insurer’s financial stability. It is often helpful to see if an insurer is “admitted” in your state, as this means they are subject to regulation and consumer satisfaction reviews by the state insurance department. This can provide peace of mind in the event that a company fails.
The standard horse insurance policy, full mortality, reimburses you for your horses’ insured value in the event of their death. However, a lot of people will want to add additional coverage for things like veterinary fees and surgeries, liability, and even loss of use. This will increase the cost of the policy, but it may end up saving you a lot in the long run.
One of the most common additional coverages is major medical/surgical, which helps pay for reasonable and customary veterinary expenses after a deductible has been met. The specifics of this kind of policy will vary from company to company, so make sure you ask about co-pays, treatment time limits, and exclusions.
Another popular addition to a basic mortality policy is accidental death and dismemberment, which will cover the costs associated with a covered accident or injury that results in the limb being lost. Most companies offer this kind of coverage for a flat fee that is determined by the policy limit, the deductible, and other details.
Some additional coverages you might consider are stallion service, colic, equine dental, and loss of use. Each of these will also have different policies and details, so be sure to ask your horse insurance specialist for more information.
You might also want to consider adding a mortality rider, which will increase the amount of money your horse will receive if they die as a result of an accident or illness that is covered by the policy. This will generally cost more than a regular full mortality policy, but it is an important addition if you’re going to be taking your horse out for competitions or other events.
Your equine veterinarian cannot attest to the insurability of your horse, which is a matter between you and your insurance company. If a dispute arises, your equine vet should be able to report the facts of your case but will not be involved in resolving the issue.
You should also understand that if your horse has had an episode of colic, surgery or another health issue in the past, it will probably not be covered by any insurance company. Many insurance companies will exclude pre-existing conditions, and the extent of how far back they check will vary from company to company. Other pre-existing conditions that are not typically covered include elective procedures (such as castration), alternative therapies (including chiropractic and acupuncture), joint treatments or injections, and necropsies.
Whether you own one horse or many, whether you use them for sport or breeding, you can’t afford to take chances with your precious assets. That’s why it is so important to have an equine insurance policy in place, especially a major medical/surgical policy. While these policies don’t cover every problem that may arise, they offer something priceless: peace of mind.
Major Medical/Surgical policies cover veterinary care costs like diagnostic procedures, treatment and surgery after a policy deductible is met. The limits vary, but are typically up to $15,000 per year. However, these policies do not cover preventive care or pre-existing conditions and most do not reimburse for alternative therapies such as acupuncture, magnetic therapy or chiropodisty.
Full mortality coverage is another type of policy that offers a specific monetary value in the event of a death due to accidents, fire, lightning, humane destruction or natural causes. Some companies will offer limited mortality for horses that have reached a certain age, such as 16 years, or for those that are not eligible for the more comprehensive full mortality coverage.
If you have an equine that you depend on for competitions, sports and breeding, loss of use coverage is available for a fraction of the mortality rate and covers your financial losses when your horse becomes permanently disabled from an injury or illness. You can get this on its own or add it to the major medical/surgical policy.
A stallion infertility plan is also an option that is added to the full mortality insurance and covers a stud’s infertility caused by an accident, disease or illness. This is a very valuable policy for breeders and is only offered by some companies.
A major consideration when shopping for equine insurance is pre-existing conditions. In general, any illness or injury the horse has had prior to the policy taking effect is a pre-existing condition. This is especially true if the illness or injury was treated at some point in the past, even if no claim was made. Insurance companies use their own guidelines to determine whether a pre-existing condition exists, and these guidelines are different from company to company.
Many of the insurance policies available include mortality and loss-of-use coverage, as well as a variety of medical and surgical coverages. Generally, the more extensive the coverage, the higher the premium. The type of coverage that may work best for you depends on your horse’s particular needs, as well as your budget.
In general, the majority of equine insurance is designed to cover veterinary bills associated with accident or disease. A standard mortality policy typically covers up to a certain amount of the horse’s insured value. Many of the additional coverages are add-ons to the basic mortality policy, and most are based on a percentage of the full mortality rate.
For example, a colic surgery is a common addition to the full mortality policy. Typical colic surgeries cost between $2,500-$5,000, depending on the horse’s insured value and the insurance company. Oftentimes, these types of policies also provide coverage for other emergency veterinary care, such as fracture repair or hernia surgery.
Another popular addition to the basic mortality policy is a disability coverage, which provides up to 60% of the horse’s insured value should it become permanently disabled and unable to perform its specified purpose. This type of coverage is usually subject to a few restrictions, such as the age of the horse and the specific disease or disability.
When shopping for equine insurance, it is important to consider your options carefully and ask questions. Many horse-owning friends and trusted professionals can offer suggestions on insurers and policies they have had experience with. In addition, you should always research a potential insurance company to learn its financial stability (through ratings such as A.M. Best), and to check its license status in your state. If an insurance company is not admitted in your state, it may still be a good option for you and your horse, as some non-admitted insurers are willing to negotiate a bespoke coverage plan.
Life changes and so do insurance needs. Whether it’s getting married, having kids or trading in your car for another one — these changes need to be communicated to your insurer.
An adviser can help you understand the different policies available and the premiums associated with them. They can also help you manage your risk and avoid costly peaks and valleys.
Review Your Coverage Needs
If you want to ensure that your loved ones and belongings are protected, it’s important to make sure that your insurance policies meet your current needs. An agent can help you review your coverage and provide professional guidance to determine whether or not any changes need to be made.
Generally speaking, you should review your home, auto and life insurance annually. This is especially true if you recently purchased or sold a property, changed your mortgage company, car loan status or job. These types of changes could affect your coverage requirements and result in costly gaps in protection.
Another time to review your policy is after a major life event, such as having a baby, getting married or losing a family member. You should also consider changing the beneficiaries on any existing policies if your situation has changed.
If your business is growing, you may need to consider securing additional coverage. For example, you might need to increase the limits on your commercial general liability or workers’ compensation policy. Your agent can help you assess your risks and determine if these changes are necessary to protect your business.
You should also review your policy at least once a year to make sure that the coverages are still relevant in light of new risks, such as cyberattacks and data privacy risks. It’s important to take note of these emerging risks so that you can protect your business from potential claims and liability. In addition, you should review your business insurance types periodically, such as terrorism and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, as these risks can change quickly. You should also review your business coverages if you start or expand into a new market, as this can also introduce new risks that require appropriate protection.
Find All Available Discounts
It’s important to make sure you are taking advantage of all available discounts. These can include discounts for bundling, being an auto accident free driver or having a good credit score. Additionally, most insurers will offer a discount for being a long-term customer. You can often find information about these discounts on the declarations page, or an attachment thereto, of your policy. You can also contact your agent or visit a carrier website to learn more about their cost-saving opportunities.
A few insurance companies, including Allstate, Farmers, American Family and Travelers, also offer automatic payment and paperless billing discounts. These can help reduce administrative costs and keep your policy up to date.
Another way to save is by shopping for a new policy before your current one expires. Many insurers will give you a one-time discount for doing this, and the amount depends on the company. For example, Travelers will save you 3% to 10%, depending on how soon your previous policy was due to expire. Talk with your friends and family, or a licensed insurance agent, to learn more about how you can save by changing the carriers you do business with. You may be surprised at the savings you can find.
Consider Your Budget
The main reason that people get insurance is to mitigate a potential financial loss from an unexpected event. Unfortunately, you can’t always control the outcome of an event such as a fire or car accident. However, you can adjust your budget to help manage the impact financially. Depending on the situation, this may mean trimming spending on unnecessary items or adding spending on necessary ones.
When considering your budget, it’s important to consider the costs of all insurance policies. This includes the fixed premium (the monthly cost of your insurance) as well as other expenses, such as copays and deductibles. You should also factor in any upcoming changes to your coverage needs or lifestyle. For example, if you plan on changing jobs that would affect your mileage or you’re thinking about downsizing to a smaller car, make sure you understand how these factors will affect your insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Health care costs, in particular, can be an unexpected expense for many people. When creating a budget, it’s helpful to look at past medical and insurance claims to help estimate annual healthcare costs. This will give you an idea of what to expect and how much to set aside each year.
It’s also a good idea to speak with an insurance agent when budgeting for your insurance. They can review your previous year’s claim history and explain how claims may impact your future rates. For instance, if your current company paid out more than they earned in premiums last year, you could see an increase in your rate next year. An agent can also discuss your coverage options and recommend ways to trim costs without reducing coverage.
Review Your Policy at Least Once a Year
The best way to ensure that you always have the right amount of protection is to review your policy at least once a year. This allows you to verify that you have the right coverage levels, while also helping you keep your premium costs competitive.
A number of life events can trigger the need to review your policy. Some of the most common include getting married, buying a new home or sending children off to college. It’s important to take the time to review your policies following these events so that you can make sure your policies reflect your new circumstances.
It’s also a good idea to review your policies when you complete major renovations at home or for your business. These changes may require you to increase your coverage limits or deductibles and may also qualify you for certain discounts. For example, adding a pool or shed to your property could trigger the need for additional insurance protection. If you add medical equipment to your home, it could be necessary to increase your life insurance protection or even consider a new rider policy.
Changing jobs or retiring are other events that often warrant a policy review. It’s important to understand how these changes can affect your premium, and it’s also a good time to see if you can save by bundling or switching policies. Keeping your insurance documents organized and readily available can help you remember to schedule these reviews on a regular basis. The last thing you want is to discover that you have an uninsured loss or find out too late that your coverage isn’t sufficient for your needs. A comprehensive insurance review can help you avoid these issues while also sparing you the hassle and expense of making a claim.
Consider an Agent
When it comes to finding insurance coverage, you should consider working with a licensed agent rather than trying to do it yourself online. An agent will help you with many aspects of the process, including gathering quotes and providing recommendations for you. They also take the time to listen and understand your needs so they can find you a policy that is right for you.
They know the industry inside and out, so they are well positioned to answer any questions you may have about policy options and details. They will also make sure you fully understand the coverage you choose and can help you with claims, billing and other issues as they arise. A local agent is also a great choice because they are familiar with the risks and issues specific to your area.
Whether you need life insurance or business insurance, an agent can recommend the best options for your situation. They will consider your age, health status, family history and financial goals when suggesting a plan. For example, they will explain the difference between term life and whole life and suggest a plan that is appropriate for your circumstances.
Unlike captive agents, independent agents do not work for an insurance company and therefore have the ability to search multiple companies for the most competitive policy. They will save you valuable time by doing the research for you and helping you find a policy that fits your needs and budget. They are also available to meet with you in person to discuss your concerns and explain any policy terms or benefits that may be confusing. They will continue to be there for you when you need them most, whether you are filing a claim or reviewing your policies as your needs change.