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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2008
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    NY
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    Default Pros and Cons of Equine Insurance?

    When I lost my UL event partner and heart horse last year it was sudden and devastating. He went quickly, but in his wake he left me horseless with a fair amount of money to paid off for the services associated with your best friend's death.

    I couldn't afford another horse of his talent or training (even if I wanted to anyway) and he would have been, if ever for sale, a modest sum within the 20k range. He had the scope to continue working up the rungs and we were polishing our dressage in Aiken. A horse of his caliber, with the same amount of training and time I had put into him, was well beyond my means. I was lucky my heart horse went very quickly and without suffering, but if he had of colicked or had catastrophic injury it would have put me further into a financial hole.

    I ended up picking up another OTTB three weeks ago, but I keep wondering if I should look into insurance for him. I keep feeling like I need a contingency plan for this horse in case everything goes wrong again - I worry if he colics or something terrible happens not only will I be out of an amazing horse but I will also be put back to square one, which I don't think I ever want to do again.

    Does anyone have any insight on what kind of policy or plan would work best? My main concerns would be colic and unexpected death. Leg injuries I could look into coverage for but I am not sure if that is too encompassing a plan. The horse is five, off the track. Can anyone tell me about their plan? Who covered them? And was it worth it?

    TIA
    Last edited by beowulf; Oct. 18, 2013 at 10:36 PM.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
    Posts
    3,326

    Default

    No real input to help you on "regular" insurance policies, but you might want to look into the Smart Pak deal, where you use one of their supplements and you get some colic surgery insurance, I think basically for free. Its not enough to cover a whole problem but better than nothing.

    I do know that you pretty much are required to have mortality to get major medical coverage; that obviously increases the costs. Mortality coverage is tricky in terms of ultimate payout so you MUST be clear on what the policy says, or you won't be happy if you need it.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Is, Wash.
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    9,807

    Default

    We have one of our horses insured for mortality, major medical, and...loss of use? Maybe?

    All I know is it is pretty spendy. This year we're paying ~$1900 on a 10 year-old-mare valued at $50k. She is worth more and could be sold for more, but DH went with the price he turned down as a price. Of course, the pricing of rodeo/western performance horses boogles my mind...

    I don't have insurance on any of mine currently because honestly we just can't afford it. I would say *that* is the only con. DH will probably start insuring his new mare around the same time that the currently insured mare is turned into a broodie.
    Last edited by TheJenners; Oct. 6, 2013 at 03:47 PM. Reason: typo
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,214

    Default

    Typically a horse under 5K would run about 600/yr for Medical, colic, mortality, and surgical. (Average, just ballpark).

    SOME insurance companies are not doing medical on a horse valued under 15k, I switched companies so I could keep all policies. Yes typically need mortality for sure before getting the others.

    Colicare is an option but you MUST do their program, so unless my horse was already on the supplement I'd rather pay the monthly cost towards the premium.

    As someone who has gotten 10-15K work of vet work done due to insurance and replaced my horse with the mortality check, I say do it. Just compare policies. For me knowing I can care for my horse if he is ill is peace of mind.

    Now I wish I had it for my DOG who just cost me 5K. LOL



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2013
    Posts
    310

    Default

    I have mortality and major medical on mine. He's insured for less than his value because I wanted to cut down on my premiums and I decided on a value that could still get me a good partner even without being a direct replacement. After an abscess ended up costing me over $1K this spring I am so glad I have the major medical, especially once my vet started talking about the possibility of an MRI (which we lucked ended up not having to do).

    I pay about $900 a year in premiums and I *hope* that is all wasted money. If in 5 years I haven't had to make a single new claim I will be out $4500 for "nothing" but I'll take that any day over having to make devastating choices due to an inability to afford treatment.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2008
    Location
    NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by inne View Post
    I have mortality and major medical on mine. He's insured for less than his value because I wanted to cut down on my premiums and I decided on a value that could still get me a good partner even without being a direct replacement. After an abscess ended up costing me over $1K this spring I am so glad I have the major medical, especially once my vet started talking about the possibility of an MRI (which we lucked ended up not having to do).

    I pay about $900 a year in premiums and I *hope* that is all wasted money. If in 5 years I haven't had to make a single new claim I will be out $4500 for "nothing" but I'll take that any day over having to make devastating choices due to an inability to afford treatment.
    This is what I am afraid of. I live in an area where if a colicky horse isn't better after banamine, it's put down. Having a horse in the family who incurred some severe medical bills for colic surgery, I know the cost is well out of my budget. I have enough to make things work and I can afford (and plan for) medical bills, but I would be heartbroken if I had to put my friend down simply because my finances could not withstand the hit.

    Thank you all for your replies. Anyone have any insurance companies they recommend? A question I would normally reserve for my vet or friends but no one i know in this area insures. I probably will not look to insure him until he is a solid N/T level campaigner. As of now he is just enjoying some well earned time off.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    4,638

    Default

    Insuring for colic is tricky anyway, not even getting into the issue of price of the policy and which underwriters will provide medical insurance for a horse <$15K.

    My "home" clinic (10 minutes away) does not do colic surgeries. If necessary, I would be about equi-distance between two clinics that do the surgery, but each is about an hour away. In talking with one of the vets from my clinic, her advice (should I ever need it) would be to immediately trailer my horse to one of the clinics that do the surgery at the first sign of colic, to maximize the chances that the surgery could be successful.

    So, that means potentially loading up and trailering for an hour only to arrive at the new clinic - even if it wasn't really colic, or was so mild that it resolved itself....because waiting to see what will happen and/or having the local vet out to assess could waste valuable time.

    Then, of course, the colic surgery itself, hoping for no complications, and then the after care required for healing.

    At this point I have lowered my coverage on my horses - one has no medical, the other has minimal medical, and have a plan to use my local vet in the event of a colic situation.

    My horses are not very valuable, and not necessarily *worth* putting through the expense and trauma of a colic surgery. However, I do my best to keep their risk for colic as low as possible with diet, ample turnout, etc. And keep my fingers crossed.

    FWIW, though, there are several underwriters that will provide medical coverage for horses valued under $15K. There was a few threads about this in the last year so maybe you can search for them to see which companies do provide coverage.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2011
    Posts
    316

    Default

    I have a 12 y/o horse insured with Equisure for Mortality $8,000 and Major Medical with a $300 deductible and $8,000 max for $550 per year.

    Well worth the piece of mind.

    I've never had to file a claim but went with Equisure on the high recommendation of the company from the breeder of the horse who has filed claims and said they paid fast and didn't give you a run around.

    http://www.equisure-inc.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2013
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beowulf View Post
    This is what I am afraid of. I live in an area where if a colicky horse isn't better after banamine, it's put down. Having a horse in the family who incurred some severe medical bills for colic surgery, I know the cost is well out of my budget. I have enough to make things work and I can afford (and plan for) medical bills, but I would be heartbroken if I had to put my friend down simply because my finances could not withstand the hit.

    Thank you all for your replies. Anyone have any insurance companies they recommend? A question I would normally reserve for my vet or friends but no one i know in this area insures. I probably will not look to insure him until he is a solid N/T level campaigner. As of now he is just enjoying some well earned time off.
    I'm in Canada so I don't know about insurance companies in the US. I did want to add that when I started looking into insurance colic was my #1 concern. However, since my horse's abscess and the threat of an MRI + seeing my friend run up $5000 in vet bills for founder, other friends spending thousands of dollars on various lameness issues, a fellow boarder's horse with a traumatic eye injury, ulcers, etc. I realized just how many ways horses have to screw themselves up and insurance is great for all of these.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2005
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    6,302

    Default

    I personally had a couple of things that put me off of horse insurance. First, back in the early 70s, a friend had to have her nice hunter put down owing to an inoperable tumor in a sinus. The stupid insurance company said nope, won't cover, not in obvious agony. By the time she and the vets and the insurance company went the rounds, the tumor had cut off the horse's breathing and the poor thing WAS in agony, gasping for air through his mouth. That should not have been allowed to happen.

    Second thing was, my sister gave me her dressage reject and she had him insured so yeah, I kept it up. He later broke a couple of vertebrae in his butt, just above his tail, leaving his tail paralyzed. And developed chronic neuritis so the poor guy was in agony rubbing his tail a lot, looking for relief. Conventional vets said- let's amputate. I said, well, okay, it's been done, but what if it doesn't fix the neuritis problem and I then have a tailless horse? They shrugged. An acupuncture vet fixed the neuritis and restored full function to the tail (my first try at acupuncture so yeah, works for me!). Insurance company a) wouldn't cover the acupuncture expenses, and b) said now, in the future, we won't cover anything related to that injury. Hello? That's why you have insurance- it wasn't a precondition prior to the insurance so yeah, you 'should' cover any potential complications even years down the road in my opinion!

    So- between the cost of the insurance and the deductible and the loopholes, I let that insurance lapse and, while one never says 'never,' I don't see myself acquiring a horse in the price range that I think would justify the annual cost of the insurance premiums.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by inne View Post
    I'm in Canada so I don't know about insurance companies in the US. I did want to add that when I started looking into insurance colic was my #1 concern. However, since my horse's abscess and the threat of an MRI + seeing my friend run up $5000 in vet bills for founder, other friends spending thousands of dollars on various lameness issues, a fellow boarder's horse with a traumatic eye injury, ulcers, etc. I realized just how many ways horses have to screw themselves up and insurance is great for all of these.
    I agree - eye injuries are one of the things that make me keep my insurance on my *slightly more* valuable horse. Those are the sort of things that would be very hard to justify NOT treating properly, and would add up quickly. Colic surgery - that is sort of an end of the line treatment in my book. But treating an eye injury so that a horse isn't in pain and doesn't lose an eye? I would definitely do that - and it would probably require a stay at the clinic. That is where my insurance will be appreciated.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,411

    Default

    Con~ you might carry a policy for years without using it.

    Pro~ you have it when you need it.

    I've carried insurance on my horses for 8 years, 6 of which I never used it. A few years ago, I nearly dropped the policy on my filly but decided to renew for one more year. A month later, she ran face first into the washrack and required reconstructive surgery. So glad I kept it!

    I use C.Jarvis and love that they have never questioned a claim, they just send a check.
    I have my 2 y/o HA filly insured for$10,000 mortality/theft, $7500 major medical, and $7500 colic. It runs me under $500/year.
    I just insured my HA colt for $5000 M/T & $7500 major medical, which costs $255/yr.

    As they age and compete, I will increase the amount of M/T.
    Last edited by kathy s.; Oct. 6, 2013 at 09:13 PM.
    "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" Julian Lennon



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2003
    Location
    Happily in Canada
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    Default

    I insured one of mine once because I felt the same way about not being able to replace him. However my experience was that major medical was quite expensive so I only did mortality. In the end his career was only affected by the usual - foreleg lameness - so I wasn't covered anyway. Luckily for me he came sound and became a valuable learning horse for another rider at a lower level.

    I have now witnessed 3 horses die from colic and one from complications of choke, as well as knowing two that died from freak leg fractures. So it is definitely a cost/benefit analysis and what you're comfortable with risk-wise.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
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    (throw dart at map) NC!
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    Default

    I agree, it's a cost-benefit. Many companies will exclude a limb or something that they've recently paid out on, but sometimes it's worth the cost to initially have the limb or whatever diagnosed. I think that mortality insurance is based on replacement fees...what can replace your horse and what you can afford to pay in monthly fees. Unfortunatley, many companies require a necropsy which effectively reduces the amount of payout. Of course, you should weigh the annual fees with how much money you'd have if you put those fees into a bank account and saved up... Major medical can help in the case of ulcers, major lameness or accidents, colic surgery, other surgery, a kick in the pasture that results in the difficult-to-diagnose fracture, etc. I think *these* are the situations in which insurance pays off. For horses that don't encounter these problems, insurance doesn't pay off. Unfortunately, we only know if insurance 'pays' in hindsight.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2013
    Posts
    135

    Default

    My 18yo is insured for 20k mortality, 15k Major Med. He's been on the same plan for 9 years (although, his mortality was more than double that, up until 2 years ago, at which point the premium sky rockets, so we dropped the mortality amount down), and we're currently on his 3rd claim.

    $250 annual deductible, the rest is covered 70% by them, 30% by us (up to a certain amount, which I can't think of off the top of my head).

    I can't complain, have been very easy to work with so far. Interested to see when the renewal comes in next year for a 19yo and what that will be....

    Would 20k replace the horse I bought 9 years ago? No way.
    But I'm more inclined to pay 2k/yr to have peace of mind, and not have to dip into my emergency fund in case of a major surgery, as well as get some 'return' should my boy pass away (which, seeing as he is my heart horse, I will not be ready for for another 30-40 years, give or take )



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2011
    Location
    East Longmeadow, MA
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    3,450

    Default

    My 9 year old is insured for $5K mortality and has major medical as well. (Obviously.) I think I pay around $500 a year. Can't recall off the top of my head the name of the company, the barn I bought him from arranged for the coverage. Have never had to use it, knock wood, and that's the way I like it.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
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    somewhere. out there.
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    I've had three now that I've had mortality/major medical on, and its been great. Thankfully, the mortality policy has never kicked in, but in two cases, I was able to do very expensive diagnostics on mystery lamenesses, as well as a few treatments, that would have been financially tough otherwise. Through the years I've insured with Equisure, GAIG (through EMO) and now Starnet. My claims have always been paid quickly and with no issues. Overall, on a horse that is actually worth money, I'll do insurance every time.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2013
    Posts
    226

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    I am Pro insurance, granted I just have mortality and major medical and she is under insured to keep the annual fees down, and with medical the moment something is hurt they won't cover it again.

    I am Pro insurance because it saved my horses life, the year I put it on her she coliced and had surgery. I wouldn't have been able to afford the surgery with out insurance. So I feel that it is a wise choice.



  19. #19
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    Check on the MM for that 18 year old, read the fine print. Despite what my agent told me, it was NOT true MM, only a 5k LIFETIME cap surgical only (NO diagnostics) and it expired on its 18th birthday, not the end of its 18th year...meaning March, not Dec. I did complain and they gave me a pro rated refund for 8 months but they HAD the horse's info, including birthdate. I should not have had to complain.

    Horse was originally insured at age 11 for 30 or 35k (cant remember) until it hit 17 and was no longer competitive in the 3' at the AA level...but they would only let me drop the value a percentage of the original declared amount...so I had the worlds most undershown, overpriced 2'6" local Hunter at 22k for a year and 18500 the next and last year it was insurable for mortality under a standard policy.

    There are only a few underwriters behind all the agencies selling it, be SURE you READ the actual policies, preferably before you sign and pay, and remember your agent may be a lovely person but is not your BFF and only gets their money after you sign...and even they don't read the underwriters actual policy as well as they should. Mine didn't despite wonderful reputation and years of claim free commissions.

    One other thing...do you all know what colic surgery actually costs? Whats covered by your policy and what is excluded? Diagnostics? Pre/Post surgical bloodtests? Anesthesia and other sedation? Specialist consult? Post operative in clinic care? Follow up vet visits after release? Continuing pain, anti inflammatory, antibiotic and probiotic meds?

    You might want to pay your premiums plus put some money in the bank or secure a credit card and keep it at zero balance. Between the uncovered expenses and your deductible you may need it. Don't get blindsided by not knowing how much your policy will actually cover over the declared value on your mortality. They wont pay 17k out on a 10k horse so READ and know. They probably are not going to accept a mortality value of 20k on said 10k horse just so you can get higher MM either.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  20. #20
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    Jan. 12, 2013
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    135

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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Check on the MM for that 18 year old, read the fine print. Despite what my agent told me, it was NOT true MM, only a 5k LIFETIME cap surgical only (NO diagnostics) and it expired on its 18th birthday, not the end of its 18th year...meaning March, not Dec. I did complain and they gave me a pro rated refund for 8 months but they HAD the horse's info, including birthdate. I should not have had to complain.
    Yes, I've read it a few times recently, due to a current claim. He's good through year 20 thankfully!



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