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How does horse insurance at the upper levels work?

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  • How does horse insurance at the upper levels work?

    What does it cost to insure an upper level horse? Based on the stats with say 1/50 of the top horses dying a year in the US (just a ball park) is the insurance 1/50 of the value? More? It would have to be more for the companies to break even what with overhead and stuff.

    What if a pro- is riding the horse and it dies due to a crash - does that fall under the pro's liability insurance, or the horse's medical/ life insurance?

    I'm just curious as I would think the premiums must be staggering.

    Do you have to tell the insurance company that it's a 4* horse? Do they charge more as the horses move up the levels to compensate for the extra danger?

    I'm just a numbers geek and am just curious how this all works.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    As far as I know...they don't ask the level that your horse is competing...just what discipline you compete in. If you are eventing, you pay a higher premium...but it isn't staggering. Reality is....there are a lot of horses eventing that do not die or have major injuries.

    The level your horse is competing would really only be relevant in coming up with the value of the horse if you are insuring....and say have brought the horse up the levels your self (i.e. don't have a recent purchase price)
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 4Martini View Post
      Based on the stats with say 1/50 of the top horses dying a year in the US (just a ball park)
      If that were anywhere near the ballpark, then yes the premiums would be staggering, or more likely uninsurable.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Yeah- I was trying to figure the number - but among 4* horses what do you think it is? I'm not just talking competition deaths, but colic deaths, random uncontrollable accidents (like Teddy) etc? Are there really more than 50-100 4* horses in the US at any given time? I don't really know so I was just guestimating... I also don't know how many get colic etc and don't make it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 4Martini View Post
          Yeah- I was trying to figure the number - but among 4* horses what do you think it is? I'm not just talking competition deaths, but colic deaths, random uncontrollable accidents (like Teddy) etc? Are there really more than 50-100 4* horses in the US at any given time? I don't really know so I was just guestimating... I also don't know how many get colic etc and don't make it.

          I don't think it is much different than insuring a * horse.....other than perhaps the value if you are trying to insure them for their full value.

          And even with a **** horse ..... they are STILL probably more likely to hurt themselves at home in the paddock.
          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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          • #6
            Insurance rates for eventers tend to rise once they are competing at preliminary, but they are still not ridiculous. I want to say something like 2.6-3.5% of declared value for mortality, perhaps? Can't remember off the top of my head, but it wasn't unreasonable. Moreover, many people don't insure for full replacement value, but for a value sufficient to buy a nice youngster or a less experienced horse.

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            • #7
              Actually, some insurers (including my own) do require you to disclose the level at which an event horse is competing and to update the policy as the horse moves up the levels. This allows them to account for the increased risk of injury and higher probability of total loss, which are used to calculate the premiums.
              Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Speedy View Post
                Actually, some insurers (including my own) do require you to disclose the level at which an event horse is competing and to update the policy as the horse moves up the levels. This allows them to account for the increased risk of injury and higher probability of total loss, which are used to calculate the premiums.
                The ones that I've been looking at just ask if they jump and if so what is the highest height. And still...while the premiums do go up...they are not ridiculous or unreasonable.

                And like GotSpots....most people that I know (myself included ) do not insure for the full value of the horse.
                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                • #9
                  I've also found the premiums to be reasonable - but I am not insuring an Advanced horse, so I don't really know how high the premiums would get, if I had to make THAT kind of disclosure
                  Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Speedy View Post
                    I've also found the premiums to be reasonable - but I am not insuring an Advanced horse, so I don't really know how high the premiums would get, if I had to make THAT kind of disclosure
                    Our insurer required not only what level the horse competes at, but a copy of his competition record. And like Bornfree and GotSpots we did not insure for full replacement value.

                    BTW the one of every 50 is highly inflated.
                    www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

                    www.pegasusridge.com

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                    • #11
                      I insured a Prelim horse that moved up to Intermediate/2* for a total of 3 (or maybe 4?) years. I had to provide a basic vet/health check, purchase price, competition record & a letter from my coach stating his value (the last 2 were to prove his value because my family purchased him as a green 7 y.o. but I didn't insure him until he was going Prelim).
                      I didn't insure for full replacement value, but rather what I figured the price of a nice "going" Pre-Training horse with scope and ability to move up right away and eventually go Intermediate. The total came to about 3% of the insured value.

                      After those 3 years I realized it was money down the drain, I was way better off spending it on the various ultrasounds I did every year to make sure he was OK. Much more likely he'd get retired lame, than I would actually have a mortality claim. Major medical was quite expensive - it required a full mortality policy first, and the deductible was $200 per incident (if I remember correctly), roughly the same cost as an ultrasound, which seemed to be what I was spending my money on. But if I claimed, my premiums went up, and there was a lifetime maximum of $5000 or something like that. So it would probably only be a benefit for a major surgery.

                      In the end, putting all that money into a "self-insurance" scheme made more sense for me.
                      Blugal

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

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by pegasusmom View Post

                        BTW the one of every 50 is highly inflated.
                        I think it's probably pretty close. That's only 2%. I found this government study that shows for the general equine population of competition age the death rate is 1.2-1.4% in the two study years. It's not much to bump that by .8-.6% based on the additional stress on a high level competition horse...

                        http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov/equine/e..._mortality.pdf

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                        • #13
                          Forgot to mention that I know several ULR who insure their horses, primarily for the medical coverage... but also know wealthy owners who self-insure.
                          Blugal

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

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                          • #14
                            Some insurance companies have higher rates for upper-level horses, and some do not. Mortality premiums these days run from 3.6% to 4.5% of the horse's insured value, depending on the insurance company--so the more the horse is insured for, the more expensive the insurance cost. Vet exams are generally not required for sound, healthy horses until their insured value exceeds $50K or if they're age 16 or older. Major medical coverage is a flat fee that does not vary with breed or use of horse.

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