Horses are more than a pet. For many, horses are companions and a sense of pride. They have unique needs when it comes to care and housing. Horse insurance can cover major medical needs and accidents. Here’s what you need to know about choosing a policy.
What is Horse Insurance?
Horse insurance is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of policies. You’ll also see horse insurance referred to as equine insurance. These policies help to cover emergency medical care for your horse. They may also pay you a percentage of your horse’s value if your horse dies unexpectedly.
Who Needs Horse Insurance?
Every horse owner should consider horse insurance. Caring for your horse can be expensive. Horse insurance ensures that you can make medical decisions based on what’s best for your horse. Depending on your current insurance coverage, you may also want to consider liability insurance. This coverage protects you if your horse damages property or injures someone.
If you use your horse for breeding or racing, it’s even more important to have the appropriate coverage in place. In addition to medical coverage, you may also want to purchase loss of use coverage. This coverage pays you if your horse can no longer perform the income-producing activities like racing.
What Does Horse Insurance Cover?
You’ll find several types of horse insurance out there. Here are the most common types.
Mortality insurance for horses is like life insurance for people. It pays you if the insured horse dies due to a covered illness, accident or injury. Many insurance companies offer mortality insurance as the basis for other types of coverage. This means that you purchase a mortality policy and then add additional coverage, like major medical, to your mortality policy. This practice varies by company, though.
Companies offer full mortality policies and limited mortality policies. Full mortality policies pay the full value of your horse. Limited mortality policies cover a percentage of your horse’s value. Mortality insurance typically gets more expensive as your horse gets older.
Major medical coverage is like health insurance for people. Like health insurance, coverage varies by company, so it’s important to review potential policies carefully to see what’s covered and what’s not. In general, policies cover veterinary care due to accidents, illnesses and diseases. Policies also cover diagnosing and treating health issues and may cover some aftercare costs.
Major medical policies typically don’t cover preventive care, but they do cover unexpected veterinary costs. They also don’t cover preexisting conditions, elective procedures or alternative therapies like acupuncture. Policies also don’t usually cover dental care.
Policies usually have annual coverage limits ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. If your horse’s care costs more than your coverage limit, you’ll be responsible for the additional costs. This coverage works on a reimbursement basis — you pay your vet for the care and then send the bill to your insurance company. The insurance company reviews the bill and sends you a check to cover the costs according to the terms of your policy.
Some horses may not qualify for major medical coverage. Or your budget may not allow you to purchase major medical. In that case, you may want to buy a surgical-only policy. As the name indicates, these policies cover lifesaving surgeries for your horse. These policies also have annual limits up to $10,000. You can also find colic surgery policies that only cover colic surgery, which can be expensive. One important note is that these policies usually don’t cover the room and board costs of staying in the hospital, just the medical costs.
Loss of Use
Loss of use policies are for horse owners who use horses for income-producing activities like breeding. These policies usually have extensive underwriting, which is a review process conducted by insurance companies before they issue a policy. Insurance companies usually require a veterinary exam, radiographs and information on the horse and its medical history. The policy will pay you the income you would have received from the horse. You usually add loss of use coverage to major medical and mortality policies. You can’t buy standalone loss of use policies.
Liability insurance covers expenses if your horse damages someone else’s property or injures someone. Your homeowners insurance may cover your horse, but you should check with your insurance company to confirm this. If it doesn’t, you may want to invest in liability insurance. Accidents can happen, even with the most diligent owners. If you run a business involving your horses, you will need more extensive liability coverage. An experienced insurance professional can help you determine the appropriate coverage.
Care, Custody, Control
If you interact with other people’s horses, you may need care, custody and control coverage. This type of policy is a good investment if you board, train or breed horses. These policies cover you for damage to another person’s horse. These policies are available on their own or with other liability coverage. They provide coverage on a per-horse basis and per-year basis. For example, a policy might cover $10,000 per horse per year.
Pet Insurance Rates for Horses
Insurance rates for horses vary based on several factors. These include:
- The type of coverage: You have a lot of options when it comes to horse insurance. You can opt for limited mortality with surgery only, which would be the lowest cost coverage. You can also choose a plan with more robust coverage. The more coverage, the higher the costs.
- The value of your horse: Insurance companies base the cost of mortality policies on the value of your horse. Knowing the value can be difficult. If you just purchased your horse, the purchase price would be the value. If you use your horse for income-producing activities, that may increase the value of your horse. You will need to justify the horse’s value for your insurance company. The horse’s age also impacts its value. Older horses may have a lower value.
- The deductible: Horse insurance plans typically have a deductible. This is the amount you pay before your plan’s coverage starts. You will have lower insurance costs if you choose a higher deductible.
- Policy limits: Medical coverage typically has an annual coverage limit. A higher coverage limit results in higher premiums.
The best way to find out how much insurance will cost for your horse is to contact multiple companies for a quote. Keep in mind that each company offers different coverages, so it can be a challenge to compare policies.
The Best Pet Insurance for Horses
Since coverage varies widely for horses, it’s essential to look at multiple policies. Here are the best pet insurance options for horses based on our research:
Best Overall Pet Insurance for Horses: Blue Bridle Equine Insurance
Blue Bridle has specialized in horse insurance for nearly 40 years. It helped to pioneer equine medical and surgical insurance. Blue Bridle is licensed in 42 states. It offers coverage for all types of horse owners. It offers surgical and colic-only coverage, medical assistance, accident and illness coverage and loss of use policies. It also offers policy extensions to provide coverage if your horse travels outside the U.S. or Canada.
Most Affordable Pet Insurance for Horses: ASPCA
The ASPCA is a trusted name when it comes to animal care, and that care extends to horses. ASPCA pet health insurance for horses is an affordable option that helps cover unexpected care costs. It offers 2 plans: One plan covers colic and accidents, and the other plan covers colic, accidents and illnesses. Like most pet health insurance plans, the plans don’t cover preexisting conditions. You can add on preventive care benefits to either plan.
Best Pet Insurance Coverage for Horses: Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency
Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency offers an impressive array of coverage for horses. It offers major medical and surgical insurance for a range of horses and its claims department is available around the clock. Broadstone also offers extensive educational materials on its website so you can make an informed decision about the right coverage for you and your horse. Broadstone also welcomes questions about coverage, so don’t hesitate to contact it if you want to learn more about its coverage.
Best for Equine Major Medical: Kay Cassell Equine Insurance
Kay Cassell Equine Insurance takes pride in being family owned. It offers personalized service for all its plans, including major medical. Its major medical plans cover emergency veterinary care for your horse, and it has policies with limits up to $15,000. It also offers surgical only and colic plans. If you’re not sure which plan is best for you, Kay Cassell’s team members are available to discuss coverage options.
Choosing a Horse Insurance Provider
Choosing a horse insurance provider is an important decision. You want to know that your insurance company will be there when you need it. Ask friends or family members which insurance company they have worked with. Look for reviews for any insurance companies you’re considering. When you contact companies for quotes, pay attention to how they interact with you. Do they get back to you promptly? Do they explain your policy options? Look for a company that has your interests in mind.
From there, review your quotes carefully. Ask for a sample policy so you can review the fine print. Ask about their claims process and how long it takes for them to review a claim. Once you have all the information, choose the provider that provides excellent service at an affordable price.