Equine Insurance : Questions and Some Answers
The equine insurance industry has grown tremendously, along with the world equine population and increased use of horses in business, sport and pleasure. Horses are prone to injury, like all living creatures. When used as sport horses, show animals, race horses, or in breeding, their monetary value increases and therefore the monetary impact of injury or death increases.
The initial price of the horse, the ongoing cost of maintaining and training the horse constitutes a large investment not only of time and emotion, but of finances. Equine insurance offers protection for injury, expensive health care, mortality, and a range of liability protection in case you end up in court because of harm to person or property, caused by your horse.
SELLING EQUINE INSURANCE
If you wish to make known to others, the benefits of equine insurance offered by your company, you may join our database users and create your Equine Insurance listing, yourself, and you may edit and update the listing at your own convenience throughout the year.
SHOULD YOU PURCHASE?
If you do not insure through a company, you are in effect insuring yourself and your own investment, as the loss of money due to injury, death or liability will be your loss. Then again, there are instances when self-insuring makes more sense, so the decision is ultimately one you make.
Forgetting the emotional aspects, the value in dollars of a horse you bought or raised and have spent years training can add up. If you lose the use of the horses or if the horse dies, to replace the animal with one of equivalent value is going to be costly. Equine insurance coverage comes in a wide range of possibilities, from loss of use of the animal, to full value or partial value at the death of the horse. Instead of having insured for full value, you might have chosen to insure for less than the full value of the horse just so the policy would assist you in the expense of starting over instead of paying the whole bill. There are situations where this might be the choice you make. If this is your choice, you must know enough to document the current horse s actual value and your reasons for insuring for less than that amount.
Then there is the situation where you absolutely know that no equine insurance payment could ever replace your horse, but you decide to insure for full value at death anyway, because you want the major medical coverage that is available only if you insure for mortality. This can prevent the need of a terrible decision if the horse could be saved by highly expensive surgery and you can t afford the medical treatment when the horse is in need of it.
One certain thing where equine insurance is concerned, is to check out reputable companies and to further pay lots of attention to individual policies and everything contained in the policy and know what is and is not covered when and why.
Another certainty is that you have a legal responsibility to everyone with whom your horse comes in contact. Horse owners and horse businesses risk themselves and all assets from any damage to people or property. Be sure to check your homeowners policies because they may or may cover these situations, even if you have only one family horse, stabled at home. Liability equine insurance polices for commercial coverage is basically a necessity in today s world, but the good news is that it is possible to tailor such policies to suit the needs of your own business needs.
WHAT DOES YOUR POLICY GIVE YOU?
All equine insurance policies are backed by a company that establishes guidelines they have set for themselves and to which they adhere, regarding what will and will not be insured, so shop around before buying. One company or one policy may appear to be cheaper but will end up not being cheaper at all, so diligent research and understanding of what protection the policy provides and what it does not provide is needed before it is even possible to make a wise decision. Also premiums can go higher later, depending on the insurance company you select.
Even if the state in which you reside, and run your business, has liability legislation for equine activities, you are not necessarily protected from lawsuits, and each equine insurance company must explain their guidelines. Apply your skills to asking questions and understanding the policies while being realistic about your needs. Will your policy pay for whatever personal and property damage a court of law might deem that your horse caused, and does the policy also pay for your legal costs if anyone takes you to court?
Medical and surgical coverage varies between equine insurance companies so it is wise to know that part of the insurance endorsement. Will they pay up to a limit, or only a percent of medical care plus post-surgery expenses, or will they pay all; and for how long of a time period? What kind of medical treatments are covered? When is vet-certification required when treatment is in excess of this or that dollar amounts? What is the coverage if the horse dies during or after surgery?
Most equine insurance policies have clauses pertaining to pre-existing conditions or the prior health history of the horse. A company might require information from your vet before deciding if some health condition, that existed prior to asking for the policy, is to be an actual exclusion of payment in the future. Does a company require that they be notified if the horse experiences any illness, lameness or any kind of accident or injury? How does the company establish the value of the horse? Often there are forms to complete if a horse s value is higher than the price you paid when you purchased the horse.
What does an equine insurance policy state precisely as the agreed value as opposed to the actual cash value of the horse? Usually agreed value is the value the company agrees to pay for the horse, as stated on the policy. Actual cash value is a value (or payment), that is based on the market value of the horse at the time of illness that leads to death. The policy can end up meaning that the company can pay the smaller amount between the current market value and the value you thought was stated on the policy. Horses tend to lose market value once they become ill.
Often in this modern world, when a horse is sold, the buyer wishes to obtain a vet check prior to the purchase and often the buyer and the seller sign a release form. Such an exam is also required by most equine insurance companies prior to issuing a policy.
It is wise to determine, by talking to the veterinarian, the extent of the exam, or to make your wishes known too, as a more extensive and more detailed test(s) might make more sense depending on the cost of the horse and how to intent to use the horse. Be sure to specify what needs to happen if the horse is suddenly lame on the day of the vet check. This happens quite often. Perhaps it should be agreed ahead of time that if lameness is present that day, then the exam will be rescheduled. The vet will provide a written, detailed report of his findings after the exam, or series of tests is completed.
Although many procedures are typical, there is really no standard exam dictated by either vet or every equine insurance company. Discussion with the vet and even the seller too, prior to the exam, is a great plan to follow. Usually a local vet is used, since now days a horse from any country can be purchased by an owner in a different country.
The long term value of the pre-exam relies totally on good communication between all involved: the seller, you as the buyer, the equine insurance company and the insurance agent as well. How experienced is the insurance agent who is talking to you and how well do they represent and understand the insurance company s guide lines and the policies they are discussing with you?
Equine Insurance is a contract, and this contract is renewed, or not, on a yearly basis. It is just as important that the horse owner totally understand their obligations to that contract, as it is to understand the insurance company s obligations to the insured.
The nature of the equine insurance industry has changed dramatically in recent years, as have the various horse industries themselves, so it is of utmost important that the horseman or business owner understands the differences in polices, and the differences in companies, and if at all possible the history of the company with this or that customer's claims.
There is much to consider when buying or equine insurance and there are many companies which offer a wide range of policies.
Listings on this site by companies who sell equine insurance can be located in the Shopping section of the site, and individual listings will display information and give an ability to email, phone numbers and links to individual Insurance (equine) companies.
Other HSC site areas of interest to horsemen are Horse Industry Stables/Farms/Ranches, Stallions at Stud, Horse Associations - Clubs and Horses for Sale - each area offers an online search facility.
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