The first thing you need is mortality. That is the basic policy. It is priced as x% of the horses value. The percent is determined by the discipline and level of the horse (think 2.5-5%).
Then, you can add optional riders on to that policy for things like loss of use and major medical. Loss of use is rarely worth it- search for threads here on the subject. A typical major medical policy is definitely a good idea- and will run $250-$600 (or more) per year depending on maximum coverage, deductible, co-pay, etc.
read the fine print...I thought I had 50% coverage for all medical situations and after an $800 lamenes episode was given $45 after every exclusion. The insurance company even used an order of transactions to make my reimbursement as small as possible. I had been insuring my horse for 7 years without ever making a claim...RIP OFF... but I did not read the fine print.
Mortality is a definite - unless you can pull 10k out of you butt to replace your horse Major medical is always a question - and a gamble. As said, r ead the fine print. I have heard various recounts on recouping monies sent, etc. Lossof use is not usual worth it. very expensive, the payff is usuallny ls than half of what the horse insured for and number of fi,ms needed to get the policy makes the cost pretty exorbitant.
I don't insure any of my horses. It isn't worth it to me, because over the long run, paying for major life catastrophes is cheaper for me than paying insurance. I have averaged it out. 20 years of insurance on as many as 8 horses at a time would be much more than the 1 colic surgery and 1 other major health crisis my horses have suffered.
BUT -- I have a significant rainy day fund. If they get sick, I can pay for whatever it takes.
AND -- none of them were particularly expensive to purchase. (Though at their peak a few have been worth six figures -- I didn't pay that and don't feel the need to insure for it. If one dies, I'll get another the same way I got that one, buying young and training it up.)
It all depends on your situation financially. I like to carry mortality on my horses but only at around half of their value, it gets really expensive as their value goes up. But at 10k it's really affordable for full value. If you have a pretty good emergency savings fund then you don't really need major medical or loss of use.
DEFINITELY worth it!!!! Just like with anything else - human injury, fire, flood, car accident, theft - you don't want to be caught without it. You could go paying on it forever and never use it, but you'll want it when you need it, unless of course money isn't really an object to you. I suggest Mortality & Major Medical with surgical. Always, always, always get surgical if you can - you don't want to have your horse colic, send it to the clinic and then have to decide if you should do surgery based on how much money you have. Colic surgery can be anywhere from 3k-15k and it's almost never on the lower end of that. Major medical is less important, but can still be useful. If your horse has a lot of exclusions though it may not be worth it. If they have had a torn suspensory in the right front, they'll exclude the whole right front limb. However if you don't have an exclusions and your horse gets injured they'll pay for quite a bit - injections, shockwave, tildren, stem cell injections, etc.. All of which can be thousands of dollars each. But like someone else said - read the fine print - know what your deductible is, know what they will and will not cover. They'll tell you that you should inform them of ANYTHING that happens with the horse. I wouldn't go telling them that they had their hocks done, or they had a cold, but talk with your vet about what they think you should do. If you don't inform them of something going on and it becomes a big deal but they catch wind of the fact that it's an old problem they won't cover it. Also we had a horse go in for tie back surgery (not a covered procedure for this horse) and die from complications upon waking up. The owner had not informed the insurance company that he was going into surgery (because it wasn't covered) so they wouldn't pay out on the mortality. Loss of Use is generally not recommended by anyone. Basic loss of use is very hard to prove, and the insurance company may say that if the horse is useful at all there is no loss of use, or they may even require that they take the horse from you. The full Loss of Use coverage is very expensive and requires a full, extensive and expensive veterinary exam. Hope that helps.
I have always carried mortality and major medical... it gives me peace of mind to know I won't ever be standing in the vet's office having to make a decision about whether I can afford to offer my horse the recommended treatment due to economic concerns. If he got sick or hurt and the vet said, "well, I'd give this (expensive procedure) about a 30-40% chance of returning him to complete soundness," I want to be able to say, "Absolutely, let's try."
With respect to Loss of Use - do your homework before purchasing so that you know what the terms are. MANY LOU policies specify that if you take the payout, the insurance company then takes possession of the horse and can do what they like with it, including selling it for meat price to recoup their loss. (Most such policies also specify that you can keep the horse in return for accepting a 50% payout or something along those lines.) Also keep in mind that LOU is very tricky to determine. For example, if you have a horse doing the meter thirties that gets hurt, and after rehab, can still jump cross rails - that might not qualify for a payout, as the horse "can still jump."
I have used EMO in the past and now use Markel. Have been very satisfied with both.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
"If my horse died, would I have the financial means to buy another horse of the kind I'd want to have?"
"If my horse required expensive diagnostic procedures for a mystery lameness, would I be willing to pay that out of pocket or take a loan? At what point would I prefer to go the Mother Nature route and put the horse out to pasture (temporarily or permanently) rather than shell out for diagnostics?"
"If my horse were in a mortal danger situation, like needing colic surgery, would I feel comfortable paying that out of pocket/taking a loan/putting the horse down?"
Once you answer those questions, your insurance preference or non-preference should become very clear. There is no right or wrong way, just the way that meets your financial and psychological needs.
At minimum get major medical. You don't want to have to make that "I can't afford it" decision when your horse needs to go in for colic surgery or slices his leg horribly on the fence and needs to go in for surgery (heaven forbid). Or if he comes up mysteriously lame and needs and MRI. Or. Or....
Worth it!! This coming from someone who is currently using hers to the max for a DDFT tear. Without insurance I would never have been able to afford the MRI to diagnose or the PRP/Stem Cells to treat. Yes I had to pay a percentage for the diagnostics, but they covered the anesthesia and stem cell and PRP 100% they even covered 100% of Tildren for him. I use Markel and they have been very helpful and very very speedy at getting my checks to me once I filed the bill. If I sent them a copy of an invoice on Friday, I had a check in hand by the next Thursday. Very great to deal with and what they have paid out on this claim alone has more than covered what I have paid in premiums for the last 3 years.
Now this leg will be excluded next year but it was nice to not have to worry as much about the cost of treatment and diagnostics. It has really given me piece of mind.
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