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Insurance and horses today

by Daniel H. Grove, DVM - June 1st, 2017 - Ask the Vet

AskTheVetInsurance. It has become commonplace in today’s society. It has even been legislated into our lives with automobile insurance and health insurance. The idea behind insurance is that many people make small payments into a large pot so that those who need the money for the insured occurrence get a payout for said occurrence.

Well, like almost anything you would like to insure, our pets have insurance available. This includes horses. As medicine advances, it also becomes more expensive. Our pets have newer surgical techniques, advanced imaging modalities, even cutting-edge treatments. All of these things cost more and more money. Society’s view of how we feel and to what lengths we will go for our pets has changed greatly. The length to which we will go to save an animal’s life means we will most likely be spending more money on our animals. Let’s take a peek at what is available to us to help mitigate the higher costs of equine ownership and also protecting the investment we make in these animals.

Each insurance company will vary somewhat, but most have these common categories.

1)Mortality — This type of insurance protects your investment. Should your horse need to be euthanized or dies unexpectedly, then this type of policy will pay out what the established value of your horse is at the time of underwriting.

2)Major Medical — This covers your more common issues that arise that are not part of the routine care of your horse, like that emergency colic surgery or the MRI to determine the cause of the new lameness that has arisen.

3)Surgical only — This will only cover specified surgeries.

4)Loss of Use — This is for when your horse can no longer be used for the intended purpose for which it was purchased. A career limiting injury or some other accident that does not necessitate the euthanasia of the horse.

After you have an idea of what insurance you want or need, you will need to apply to the insurance company of your choice. They will have different requirements in order to fulfill the needs of the underwriters. It varies as to which types of coverage you are seeking and the value of the horse. For less expensive animals, it is often just a questionnaire you fill out. As the value goes up, the insurance companies need to protect themselves and the requirements increase.

You may have to have your veterinarian do an exam and fill out a report to submit to the insurance company. Certain preexisting conditions may also be excluded. For example, if your horse had colic surgery recently, colic will likely be excluded.

If you are like me, you may feel “insurance-poor” from giving insurance companies money for things you never use, but when the time comes to decide if you can afford to do emergency surgery in order to save your horse’s life or send your horse for advanced lameness diagnostics and treatment, having paid a few hundred dollars a year and be able to say yes can take a very stressful situation and ease that stress somewhat


One comment has been made on “Insurance and horses today”

  1. Dawn Livesau Says:

    Mortality insurance makes me wonder if this is the driving force behind so many race horses dying an untimely death on the track or during practice?
    Could it be its time for renewal and their value has dropped since their previous underwriting?
    It would be interesting to see statistics on these, now quite common deaths vs insurance value at tracks like Del Mar, Ca that seem to have deaths on a near daily basis during there season.

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