Horse Insurance: Coverages

I work for an insurance company. My daily eight-to-five is insurance, so it shouldn't be surprising that the first thing I do when I buy a horse, before I even put them on a trailer to come home, is purchase insurance. Depending on the kind of horse you have, or what you're doing with them, it's a no-brainer.


There are a bunch of different reasons it's a good idea. If you have a high-level competition animal or  an accident prone idiot, you should probably buy insurance. Maybe you're also neurotic and paranoid and like the peace of mind it gives you.


Or, you know, you could be me. Buy a Thoroughbred and select option D 'all of the above'.

Don't even get me started.

In talking to people I've realized most of them don't understand insurance, which leads to people getting shafted by insurance companies and occasionally accidentally shafting themselves. Don't shaft yourself. That's bad. So I decided to do the world a favor and share my experiences, both from work and from having accident prone idiots as horse children.

Buckle up. These are the three major types of coverages you can get for your horse:

1. Major Medical
This is the most common type of insurance, and the kind I think everyone should have. Typically you can pick what limit you want and you'll have a deductible. When your horse, say, gets diagnosed with ulcers, or pops a splint, or needs to be rushed to the horsey-ER, this is the one that will prevent you from going "okay, so Indy has the Gastroguard he needs, and now I need to dig out of the trash for food". It help you treat your horse with the very best you can, and it's also not as expensive as you might think.

2. Mortality/Loss of Use
These two are sort of similar so I'm lumping them together. In the event the unthinkable happens, this is your safety net. I'd recommend this for any horse you spend a large sum of money purchasing or that's worth a lot of money to replace. Mortality is in case the horse dies, loss of use is if your horse gets a career ending injury that precludes him from being used for his original purpose. This insurance can be more expensive than major medical, because if your horse does die they will have to pay out a huge sum of money in one go.

3. Third Party Liability Insurance
This is a much less common type of insurance, but one I'm starting to see offered more and more. This insurance will pay for any damages your horse causes to other people. Let's say your idiot horse jumps out of its paddock. He has a bit of a romp and then runs out to the road and gets hit by a car, severely injuring the person inside. The injured driver can sue you, the horse owner, because it was your horse running willy-nilly out in the street that made them a quadriplegic.  

[AUTHOR'S EDIT: I incorrectly stated you could buy any combination of these, but on further examination the major medical is only an endorsement to the mortality policy, meaning you have to get both if you want major medical, but you can buy mortality on it's own. Sorry for the confusion!] You don't have to purchase third party liability on your horse, and if you have a very expensive broodmare and want to have coverage in the event she can no longer pop babies out, you can do that too.

There you have it: the three basic coverages offered by most insurance companies. Stay tuned next week for shopping tips, and then we'll enter the exciting world of limits!!!



I can hardly wait, you guys!!!!

Comments

  1. Blogger ate my first comment, ugh. I'm really glad you're making this into a series of posts, because I for one know I do not know as much about insurance as I should. And it's awesome to be getting the info straight from the horse's mouth (har dee har har) from someone who actually works in the insurance industry!

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    1. thanks! yeah i don't work in horse insurance myself but... at the end of the day it's all kinda the same.

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  2. Well timed! I was just thinking about insurance. I'm heavily considering major medical and would love to learn from someone who actually knows stuff :)

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  3. My first nice horse had major medical insurance and we ended up using every bit of it diagnosing him for what ended up being a pinched spinal cord. Now I have a horse that’s pretty much uninsurable bc he’s already had colic surgery (twice) and will be 15 in April.
    Thanks for writing this series though!!! Insurance can be so tricky so it’s nice to know what to look for!!!

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  4. After having to put down my last horse (who was uninsured) after a pasture accident, getting P insured was the first thing I did after signing the purchase agreement. And man, did it save my ass this past summer when the princess was diagnosed with mucho ulcers and required $3k+ worth of meds.

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    1. yup - indy got diagnosed with ulcers and it's already paid for itself.

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  5. Very interesting! None of my horses are currently insured but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

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  6. I always carried liability since I got to shows, its so cheap too offered through USEF (it used to be included in your membership now it's an add on). Dante is the first horse I've had Mortality/MM on. He's not so easily replaced (are they ever tho)

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    1. The day an insurance company can pay me back my emotional suffering is the day I stop hating the industry (Megan excluded, cause I like Megan).

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  7. Thank you so much for doing this! I'm fascinated (and confused) by the different options and would love to gain insight!

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  8. Insurance confuses the shit out of me. I am super excited to read the rest of this series.

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  9. I have never insured a horse. I look forward to your continuing this series.

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  10. I mostly only do mortality on mine. I've had exclusions placed on my mortality coverage due to medical issues that my horse was treated for through the major medical. Way back when my parents still paid for everything, I knew the vet bills could be paid, but replacing the horse might be harder. Now though, I guess I should consider using the major medical... I get a little bit of free coverage through my mortality carrier for being a USEF member.

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  11. My insurance has paid for itself already and I'm grateful to have it and not have to worry about affording treatments! Also, I fully appreciate your use of "willy-nilly" in a sentence. I freaking love that term because it makes me giggle. I wish it were used more often.

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  12. I'd actually be super interested to hear more on this!!

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  13. I've never had loss of use and heard it's REALLY expensive and difficult to get payouts on. Do you have any knowledge/experience with it? I'd love to learn more...

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  14. So much good information! I think every horse owner should read this. I wish I knew more about it when I got Ozzy. It would have saved me a lot of money and heartache over the years. That ship has sort of sailed at this point. I think he's pretty much excepted from everything at this point...

    But my next horse will definitely be getting all of this. (And I pay extra for third party coverage through my liability insurance as an instructor. The second you admit to boarding horses, especially other people's horses, BOY do your rates go up though!)

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  15. I got insurance for my expensive for me (3,500.00) mare and did mortality and major medical. I insured her for mortality, since I couldn't afford to to replace her if the horrible happened. I went with Markel and they've been easy to deal with. I had contacted another with questions and was insulted when they found out how much I paid for her and they couldn't be bothered to even quote me.
    When she got diagnosed with EPM, the insurance was a HUGE help for the Marquis treatment, it's now excluded for her, but the fact she's happy, sound and ride-able made it so worth it.

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