A horse is an investment and may need equine insurance. There are a variety of options and deductibles to choose from, so it can become confusing very quickly.
Understanding equine insurance is important for farmers and ranchers, sure, but also those in clubs and showing need to understand the basics, as well.
What is Equine Insurance?
In essence, the policies for horses are similar to human life insurance policies and other types of personal coverage.
The coverage is a legal contract which covers the animal in specific terms.
What Can It Cover?
There are policies available for:
- major medical
- loss of use
Perhaps the important aspect is the health of the horse. Insurance can be helpful if an injured horse requires extensive veterinary care, for example.
If a horse dies while covered, the agent needs to be contacted immediately. The insurer will need the necropsy, or animal autopsy, report in order for the claim to be made with your policy. If the veterinarian is unable to perform this, many state agricultural departments do it.
What Does It Not Cover?
Know what your equine policy will cover and what it won’t.
Some won’t cover diagnostics if the horse is lame. It also may not cover treatments for injuries that weren’t caused by trauma. Conditions existing before insurance coverage may not be able to be covered, either.
For instance, a horse with a history of colic may not be covered for that under a health insurance policy. As a pre-existing condition, the insurance company may not be willing to pay without an additional risk premium.
Are There Policy Limits?
The insurance policy you choose will determine the deductibles and policy limits. Equine insurance can be costly so it’s important you have the right coverage in place.
Sometimes this limit is set based on market value which can be based on age, use, and breed. Market value can be a tough number to pin down for a variety of reasons. If you recently purchased a horse, the market value is clear.
If the animal was purchased inexpensively but later was found to have exceptional value, you may need to reassess what the true market value is. The same is true for a horse that doesn’t have the expected performance levels. It will also be more difficult to set a value if you bred the horse yourself.
There are other types of coverage for special circumstances such as breeding mares during and after foaling, or horses who travel internationally.
These address specific situations and can be added when and if they are needed.
If a horse competes internationally, for instance, it is easy to add the coverage when needed. Also, if a horse is no longer able to compete, there is loss of use coverage.
Equine insurance is worth the investment, but you need to truly understand what your needs are, as well as what your options are. A good insurance agent will be able to help you through the process.
Protection begins with the right coverage.