Any ideas? I am located in Ohio and am looking for a good insurance company to insure my boy through. Has anyone come across a really good insurance company? Or a really bad one I should veer away from?
I highly recommend http://dietrich-insurance.com/ ; Shawna and her staff are wonderful. I know lots of people who use them and have met Shawna in person at Championships and she is a super nice lady. They use several different underwriters and can discuss policy options with you, but usually their first choice for most clients is Great American.
find an independent agent who can give you a variety of quotes. I currently get my insurance through QBE/Praetorian. Haven't had to make a claim, but it is one of the companies that offers a sublimit for colic surgery which is nice.
Markel has very competitive rates but my claim took more than 6 months and a lot of duplication on the part of the folks at New Bolton and my vet until they paid and then it was for only 35% of the bill. After a few more weeks of phone calls and a nasty letters working my way up the food chain, they finally paid the full claim. I may be the exception to the rule but my experience was not good.
When it came to renewal, I chose a local independent agent who gave me options. I've now been with Great American for a few years and can happily say I haven't had the need to file a claim although I do know a few folks who did and were very pleased with the turn around time.
"Every little girl wants a pony so why should big girls be any different???"
Things I bear in mind are
1) once the agent sells you the plan - they are basically out of it. I don't care who sells me the plan - as all they do is get me the paperwork and collect the premiums. If you make a claim - they are totally not involved - you talk to the claims department at the underwritor - not the agent who sold you the plan
2) almost all plans have the same premium or pretty close to it. What you need to check is who is underwriting it, what is the reputation of their claims processors and claims processing time
3) what is covered! Check into colic sublimits, deductibles, copays on diagnostics (20% now with Markel and GA!!). Check also for ulcer coverage, stem cell, shockwave and IRAP coverage policies as well.
I shopped around and got a plan underwritten by BritAmerican. Has normal premium, plan for colic, separate plan for medical, NO COPAY on diagnostics. Diagnostics include MRI/Xrays/Ultrasound/Nuc Scan etc. That can add up MAJORLY fast if you have a 20% copay.
Broadstone with The Hartford. They have been fantastic! My mare had colic surgery and they covered everything but the farm call from my vet. Faxed the paper work and had my check 4 days later! Of course she has maxed out her major/medical for the rest of the policy period so I'm now shopping for large quantities of bubble wrap! Lol!
Be careful on the type of policy you purchase. An insurance company could be justified in paying you less than your insurance policy's face value. This can happen if you bought an "actual cash value" mortality insurance policy. Policies of this type are designed to pay you the fair market value of your horse around the time of its death. By comparison, "agreed value" policies provide coverage for a specifically agreed-upon amount.
So, if you insure a horse for $10,000 and your policy is for actual cash value, you could be paying those premiums for several years, and if your horse dies and your insurance company determines that the horse isn't worth $10,000 at the time of it's death....you get whatever they decide the horse is actually worth.
Ask me how I know? I'm an Equine Appraiser and regularly work for private clients and/or insurance companies on Death Claim Reimbursements and see this problem all the time. (Not so much as a problem, but horse owners are devastated when they find out they won't be getting their 10K after all those years of premiums)
No matter what insurance company you go with, make sure you understand your policy inside and out.
I have a friend who insured her horse for years (10-12); at age 17 he broke a leg and she filed her claim; after MONTHS of haggling w/ no resolution at all, she had her lawyer father get involved. Insurance company finally coughed up $$ and because of the delays and so on, she actually got more than if they had just paid mortality up front. Unfortunately I don't know what company it was, but my general sense of insurance companies is they do whatever they can to NOT pay. I have current horse insured for much less than purchase price, just for the medical coverage. If something awful happened, it would be nice to get some $$ back, but in another couple years I will stop insuring anyway as I just hate the concept, and dont need the aggravation.
I think any of the insurers will be quite cooperative when selling the policy; the true test comes when you have a claim...