Recently I traveled back to Texas to purchase a reined cow horse prospect to eventually show at the Snaffle Bit Futurity. Growing up I had nice show horses. However, I had never insured one of my own although I have worked on many insured performance horses over the years. Over my veterinary career, both as a technician and a doctor, I have come to see the great value of horse insurance.
Where to start?
There are many insurance representatives available by phone or email willing to give you a quote on the many types of insurance.
Types of Insurance:
Mortality: This is paid for if the horse dies.
Major Medical: This type of coverage covers veterinary care costs like chronic lameness, respiratory infections, eye injuries, etc.
Surgical: This type covers major surgery like colic surgery, severe trauma, etc.
Breeding Infertility: This covers both mares and stallions that are not able to reproduce.
Specified Perils: This type of coverage covers the horses affected by lightening strikes, transportation accidents, etc.
Cost of Insurance:
The most common insurance purchased is mortality insurance. Typically mortality insurance is calculated by 3-5% of the value of the horse based on breed and use. There is a minimum starting premium of $150-250 depending on the insurance company. Several insurance companies automatically include $2500-3000 of emergency colic insurance at no additional charge with the standard mortality plan. The other types of insurances are typically added in addition to mortality.
What else do I need to know?
Read the fine print. Make sure you know what the insurance company covers. Many companies have specific protocols they want to be followed in order for the claims to be valid. The person taking out the insurance policy is responsible to know what these protocols are and not your veterinarian. Make sure you know how much of a deductible you are expected to pay with each claim and what is covered. For example does your major medical policy cover performance horse treatments like shockwave therapy, stem cell, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) or IRAP (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist) injections?
Owning a horse can be large investment both emotionally and financially. Horse insurance can be pricey but is well worth the expense when it comes to making the decision between a lifesaving treatment and euthanasia.