There are different types of horse insurance policies. The most basic is full mortality, which reimburses the insured value of a horse for death from any cause, including theft. Another option is major medical/surgical, which covers veterinary costs like diagnostic procedures, medication and surgery. It is important to note that coverage for vet fees varies significantly between policies, so it is worth investigating carefully.

Major Medical Insurance

Horse ownership requires a substantial investment of time, money and resources. While nothing may ease the emotional burden should a peril befall your equine friend, wise planning can lessen its financial impact. While a basic mortality policy is mandatory, additional coverages such as major medical and loss of use can significantly reduce the risk of significant financial loss.

When comparing horse insurance policies, consider the agency’s and insurance carrier’s longevity and reputation. Ask the agent to explain any words, phrases or provisions you do not understand. In addition, be sure to find out what is required of you and your veterinarian in case of a claim.

Also, be sure to understand the policy terms, including any time limits imposed on treatment coverage and whether or not a specific condition is considered insurable. It is important to know how your veterinarian determines the insurability of a particular animal for veterinary insurance purposes.

Mortality Insurance

Mortality insurance reimburses the owner of a horse should it die. Usually, it covers all the foreseeable causes of death, including natural occurrences, colic and accidents. Generally, the premiums are about 2.5 to 4 percent of the horse’s value.

The rate is higher for horses older than fifteen or competing in disciplines, such as jumping, where there is a greater chance of injury. Most insurance companies require a statement from your vet regarding the horse’s health before taking out a policy. A pre-policy exam is usually needed for horses worth over a certain value.

Most companies exclude horses with serious health problems, such as navicular disease or recurring colic. Many horse owners purchase major medical/surgical insurance and a mortality policy. This type of insurance covers reasonable veterinary, medical and surgical charges incurred due to illness or accident and is normally limited to a set amount.

Liability Insurance

Your horses are your beloved pets and a significant financial investment. That is why it is important to carry high-quality equine liability insurance. Liability policies cover defense fees and claims for which you are legally responsible up to policy limits. Many insurers offer colic coverage, which, depending on the horse’s insured value, could significantly add to your policy limit.

Major medical/surgical coverage is an option that adds to your mortality policy a higher limit for colic surgery and other catastrophic illnesses and injuries. It typically covers diagnostic testing, medications, surgical care and post-operative care.

For those who operate boarding or training facilities, care, custody and control coverage is available to fill the gap in your standard general liability insurance that excludes equine property. It is an extremely important protection for those who board, train and breed their horses. It can include a wide range of security, including loss of use and international transit coverage.

Surgical Insurance

Like mortality insurance, you must choose a policy that covers a range of potential medical situations your horse may face. It’s also important to determine the deductible and exclusions and how the company determines your horse’s value.

Surgical insurance reimburses the owner for various treatments, procedures and surgeries due to an accident, illness or disease. It can also include diagnostics, medications, post-op care and therapy. The company will typically have a minimum annual aggregate limit and a deductible per condition.

Many equine insurers have a 24-hour emergency claims pager. When the call comes in, the first question is: “What is the horse’s health status?” The goal is to help owners avoid making decisions based on financial factors alone. 


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