Whether you just bought a horse and are curious if you should get it insured, or are a facility owner looking to protect yourself in a world where people hand out lawsuits like candy on Halloween, navigating the world of equine insurance should be top of your to-do list.
Insurance coverage is specific to the underwriter and policy that you choose, so while this article aims to provide the basics for your general understanding, it is important to speak to insurance agents and carefully read through the terms and conditions of any insurance policy to ensure it covers what you need before purchasing.
Choose an Agent and Company
Receiving quotes from different insurance companies not only gives you the opportunity to compare costs but will also provide you with insight into how the coverage differs from one company to the next.
Additionally, you will be able to assess how you like working with the company to see if it might be a good fit for you. If you’re constantly emailing and leaving messages and not getting a quick response for your questions, will you want to deal with that type of interaction when seeking claim payout or assistance with coverage questions once insured? Now is also a great time to ask what the claims process looks like should an incident occur, and what type of documentation is required both to enroll in the coverage as well as to submit claims.
Mortality insurance can be thought of as life insurance for horses. It protects owners against financial loss if a horse dies, needs to be euthanized for medical reasons, or if a horse is stolen. Reimbursement for this loss is based on the insured value of the horse which is determined by a variety of factors. While you can get mortality insurance on horses regardless of if they are a trail pony or a Grand Prix winner, discipline, age, and health factors will impact the cost.
Similar to health insurance for humans, major medical is usually an add-on (endorsement) to your mortality policy. Major medical insurance for horses can help to cover the cost of veterinary fees for certain covered surgical procedures, medical treatments, and diagnostic testing done when your horse displays lameness, illness, or an accident. A major medical endorsement is available to protect owners against unexpected expenses and generally will not cover preventative treatments or performance-enhancement procedures.
Loss-of-use is another endorsement that can be added to a policy, although usually it is costly and comes with an extensive list of exclusions. In order to be paid out for loss-of-use, the covered horse must have a total and permanent inability to perform its specified use before you will receive payment of a percentage of its value. Different policies have different language and restrictions on this coverage, however, most offer an option for coverage of:
This coverage is usually an add-on to a mortality policy and will help to reimburse owners for covered veterinary fees for surgical procedures that occur when a horse experiences a covered illness, injury, accident, or disease that requires life-saving surgery under general anesthesia.
Colic coverage is often an optional add-on to a mortality policy and will reimburse towards veterinary fees incurred due to colic or necessary colic surgery.
If a proven breeding stallion is insured with Stallion AS&D and, due to a covered accident, sickness, or disease that occurs during the policy period, he can no longer get mares in foal, the coverage will reimburse owners for a percentage of the stallion’s insured value.
Leaving the health side of equine insurance, there is also the opportunity to protect yourself against liability issues arising due to ownership of your horse
If your horse gets loose and causes a car accident, are you capable of paying for the repairs? Private liability policies help to protect horse owners against claims arising out of bodily injury or property damage caused by your horse. While many horse owners assume their homeowners’ insurance policy provides protection, unfortunately, most exclude or limit protection for equine-related activities. This coverage is specifically for horse owners not involved in a commercial operation, although often coverage can protect the owner at home or off-property (such as when boarding at another facility or off property at a show).
Commercial Equine General Liability
Commercial equine general liability provides coverage to equine businesses, such as operations which include breeding, lessons, training, horse sales, etc. In most cases, this coverage can be used either on a property that is owned by the business or on a property that is rented/leased for business reasons.
Care, Custody, or Control
If a horse professional is responsible for any non-owned horses, this coverage provides legal liability for injury or death of the equine when in their care, custody, or control. This coverage can be useful when boarding horses owned by another, or for trainers who work with horses they do not own, and is usually offered as an add-on to a commercial equine general liability policy.
Equine Professional Liability Insurance
Provided as an option for additional coverage, equine professional liability insurance can help to extend coverage to include occurrences of property damage or bodily injury arising out of the rendering or failure to render professional services. Some examples of this could be a show steward giving directions that put riders in harm’s way resulting in an injury or a farrier incorrectly shoeing a horse resulting in injury that removes that horse from its potential in reaching the high levels of the discipline for which it was bred and purchased.
Show, Clinic, and Events Insurance
For individuals or organizations running a show, clinic, or event, this coverage protects against negligence that causes bodily injury or property damage to a third party. It can include both the show/clinic days, as well as the set-up and take-down days.
Tools of the Trade
Once you’ve determined the right type of coverage, choose an agent/company to provide that coverage, and have begun your policy period, you can feel reassured that you have another tool to protect against the unexpected accidents, injuries, and incidents that often arise in the horse world!
One benefit for horse owners and barn managers who work with StableSecretary is the option to provide detailed documentation in a horse’s record about health issues and treatments. While an incident may seem too big to forget at the time it occurs, a few years later you may not be able to remember everything that has happened to you and your horse. Having records at your fingertips for each horse in your care can make submitting insurance claims simple! Additionally, the ability to set reminders for your policy renewals can help you stay on top of your coverage.
Learn more about how StableSecretary can help you track horse records and incidents at your facility.
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