Horse Insurance 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Whether you are an individual or a business horse owner that breeds, trains, rides or races, you know how pricey a single horse is. Much more the cost of its lifetime health maintenance. And with the level of activity that your horse engages in, there are always threats of additional expenses due to illnesses, accidents, injuries, damages, and deaths. 

No wonder that most if not all horse owners seek financial protection in the event of these unfortunate circumstances. After all, horses are highly valuable and costly investments. 

In this article, we will discuss what is horse insurance, what is the Equine Activity Liability Act (EALA) and what are the key concepts that you must know. We will also enumerate the different types of equine insurance programs. In the end, we will review our top horse insurances in the industry today. 

Our goal is to guide you in getting your ideal insurance program. Incase you own other pets, you can check out our articles on dog insurance and cat insurances. This way, you can race ahead of the possible odds. So what are we waiting for? Let’s begin!

What Is Horse Insurance?

Horse insurance or equine insurance provides an individual or a business horse owner financial protection should their horse falls ill, strays, gets stolen, cease to be useful in business operations, cause personal injuries, damages property and dies. 

With horse insurance, an individual or business horse owner purchases an insurance program and pays premiums, deductibles and excess. In exchange, the insurance company provides any of the above mentioned protection coverage. 

Before we go into the details of equine insurance, let us first talk about how the law safeguards horse-related activities. Also, let us learn why we still need insurance despite this.

What Is The Equine Activity Liability Act?

The Equine Activity Liability Act (EALA) was passed in the majority of the states of the U.S. EALA’s objective is to support and encourage equine-related activities. This law transfers the liability from individual and business horse owners to the participants (who use horses) in equine-related events and activities.

What does this mean? Well, before the EALA, the individual and business horse owners were fully or partially liable for injuries and damages incurred during horse-related events. High number of lawsuits were filed against horse owners to claim payment for injuries and damages. The bulk of costs discouraged horse owners to engage, sponsor or organize equine-related activities. This directly affected the economic movement in these types of events. 

With EALA, the liability is passed on to the participants. The premise is that the horse users are fully aware of the risks. 

That said, it is important to note that EALA only protects horse owners from some personal injury expenses but not from all possible horse-related activity costs. Horse owners are still responsible for their horse’s welfare, safety protocols and property damages. And this is where horse insurance comes in. 

What Are Horse Insurance Key Concepts?

In order to understand the dynamics of horse insurance, we must first familiarize ourselves with some key concepts.

Market Value

The market value is the price of your horse when you purchased it. The market value is the price that the insurance company reimburses if your horse gets lost or dies. 

There are instances when owners buy their horse for a cheaper amount compared to the average price. Note that the insurance company will only reimburse the amount that you paid for. 

There are also ways to increase your horse market value. For instance if your horse has training or wins competitions, their price can increase. 

Premium

The premium is the amount that you have to pay for your insurance provider every year. The premium is calculated based on the market value. Usually the annual premium is somewhere between 2 to 8% of the market value.

Deductible

A Deductible is the amount of vet expenses that you first have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company begins to reimburse succeeding vet expenses. 

Claim

The claim is the percentage of the vet fee or a fixed coverage limit that you can reimburse from your insurance company.

Excess

The excess is the amount that you have to pay to receive the claim. 

Coverage

A coverage is the risk, loss, and liability covered in the horse insurance program. 

Exclusion

Exclusions are the horse’s conditions that are not covered on the insurance policy. The most common examples of exclusions are the following. 

  • Major medical insurance programs do not cover pre-existing medical conditions 
  • Mortality insurance programs do not cover horses over 18 years old.
  • Insurance providers may refuse unvaccinated and not wormed horses.
  • Some insurance policies do not cover hospitalization costs. 
  • Insurance providers do not cover accidents, illness or deaths within the waiting period.

Now that we understand most of the horse insurance terms, let us move on to the different types of horse insurance.

Types of Horse Insurance Programs

Listed below are the different types of insurance programs for individual or business horse owners.

Major medical

The major medical insurance program covers the diagnostic consultation, veterinary procedures, treatment, surgery, and medication costs on horse injuries and accidents. 

With a major medical insurance program, you pay an annual premium, a deductible and an excess before you can make a claim. This type of horse insurance usually has either an annual limit or per incident claim limit. 

Each major medical insurance program has its own set of exclusions. Get the maximum benefits of major medical insurance if you avail of this program early. Make sure that your horse is within one day old to less than 15 years old.

Surgical

Major medical insurance covers some but not all types of surgeries all the time. For instance  if your horse has a colic surgery this year, the insurance provider may not cover the same procedure come next policy period. 

That is why there is a surgical insurance program. This type of insurance covers the costs of horse operations. Coverage includes surgeon’s fee, anesthesia, and procedure. Some may or may not pay for hospitalization beyond the surgery proper.

Full mortality

The full mortality insurance reimburses your horse’s market value if it dies because of illness or accidents. You can also claim reimbursement if your horse strayed or got stolen.  

horse insurance 3

You should also get the major medical insurance program along with full mortality insurance program. This is to make sure that you will not let your horses die and do everything to save them.

Limited mortality

The limited mortality insurance program covers the market value of your house if it dies because of an accident or other specified cause. This type of insurance policy does not require full medical or surgical policy. 

People who usually avail of this insurance program do so because their horses are placed at risk like cross-country shipping. 

Loss of use

The loss of use insurance reimburses the market value of horses should they get ill and incur injury to the point when they can no longer perform their supposed function.  This type of insurance program usually goes with major medical insurance. The combination will make sure that you will do everything to recover your horse’s health. 

This horse insurance program requires a lot before you can make a claim. At times, you must euthanize your equine and or surrender it to the insurance company before collecting the reimbursement. 

Personal liability

The personal liability insurance program protects you in case your equine causes someone injury or damages a property. Before availing this type of insurance program, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to avoid redundancy. 

How Much Will Horse Insurance Cost You?

The cost of your horse insurance policy depends on the market value of your horse. Together with your horse insurance provider, you will agree on the price of your equine. The factors considered are the age, activities and the coverage that you need. 

Once this is established, you will pay an annual premium. This is a percentage of the horse insurance policy. Aside from the premium, you are also going to pay a deductible. To make a claim you need to pay an excess too. 

Most people think horse insurance is expensive but this is far from the truth. Especially if you consider buying a new horse to replace the ill or injured one. On the average, this is $4000 and the full cost of treatments and medications or surgeries are about the same amount. 

Horse Insurance Top Picks 2021

Kay Cassell Equine Insurance

The Kay Cassell Equine Insurance is considered as the best overall and best for breeders insurance program. This equine insurance company offers more than 30 types of insurance coverage plus add-on coverages. It also offers specific programs for breeders. The downside of this company is it does not give online quotes and claims.  

The Hartford

The Hartford has been offering equine insurance for a century. It is considered as the best customized insurance policy program. You can choose just what your horse needs and avoid costs from unnecessary coverage. This company has 24/7 claims service and processes claims fast. The downside is they do not offer online quotation and limits. You need to get in touch with an agent to learn about the details.

Hallmark Equine Insurance

The Hallmark Equine Insurance is best for show horses and best in liability cases. This insurance agency provides 10 different policies and add-ons to mostly high-value horses. The annual medical limit is $15,000 and the excess coverage is up to $5 million. It is rated as A or Excellent for financial stability.

ASPCA Horse Insurance

The ASPCA Horse Insurance is considered as the best for medical insurance and the most affordable for individual horse owners. This insurance company offers major medical insurance that covers preventive care, medical and surgical procedures and treatments. Because it specializes in medical care, it does not cover mortality and loss of use.

The Markel Insurance 

The Markel Insurance is at par with the best overall and best for breeders insurance program. It offers 10 different policies and add-ons that focus on ranches, farms and business horse operations. This company also customizes your insurance needs. It is perfect for business owners. The downside is it does not give online quotations.

Blue Bridle Equine Insurance

The Blue Bridle Equine Insurance is considered as the best for insurance coverage and best for racers. This company is one of the top insurance providers for major medical and surgical programs. It offers 10 different policies and allows you to customize according to your needs. This has air travel coverage too.

Broadstone Equine Insurance

The Broadstone Equine Insurance is regarded as best for pet and older horses. This company caters to individual horse owners and gives them great deals for an affordable price. It has a 24/7 operational claims department.

Bottomline

In choosing for the right horse insurance program, bear in mind that the best choice is the one that suits your horse’s needs. Always consider your horse ‘s age, long term health conditions and your financial capacity. The earlier you invest in horse insurance, the better prepared you can be. We hope this article helped you in taking the first step towards a protected future with your horse.

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