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*gulp* I think I'm dropping all of my horse insurance policies.

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  • #21
    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
    This sort of surprises me in the "horse insurance" world. You have half a dozen largely unproven, non-standardized remedies that are used fairly inconsistently and with no consensus, and many are covered.
    Hmm, I know it varies by company and case, but I have seen clients get injections covered. I do agree that the arbitrary selection of modalities is odd (and annoying).

    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
    They also made up a fantasy diagnosis of "pedal osteitis" that the horse has never had and this kind of irritated me and was sort of a last straw.
    This makes no sense to me, how can the insurance company make a diagnosis? At least they removed it. So frustrating. All of these responses are making me want to just self-insure. 5 more months!
    Balanced Care Equine


    • #22
      I think it would be wiser to just put the monthly premium away yourself in case of emergency and just let it build up and use that. I guess that is easy for me to say because I wouldn't do any expensive $ procedures ( like surgeries and such) on my guys.


      • #23
        I've done the math and made the decision to keep my insurance up - this year alone, one horse had a freak cellulitis that was really difficult to treat and required an extended amount of very detailed care; another had a cut near his stifle that blew up. Cost of both was just about 15K - made me very glad for the insurance coverage I did have on them.

        I don't tend to insure for actual value; just enough to get max major medical coverage. I pretty consistently have felt fairly treated by both my underwriters and the claims folks - and my horses have done some remarkably stupid things over the years. I think if you're comfortable with the possibility that horses could easily incur a 5-10K injury fairly quickly, then self-insuring makes sense, particularly if you bank the premiums you might have paid. All has to do with your risk tolerance... me, I like the fact that insurance largely takes the question of money out of the emotions that can accompany a major injury or colic. YMMV.


        • #24
          Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
          All has to do with your risk tolerance... me, I like the fact that insurance largely takes the question of money out of the emotions that can accompany a major injury or colic. YMMV.
          Yep. I do think that the math is a bit different for everyone (folks with multiple horses, folks with limited savings, etc.), and I think people's sense of risk and risk tolerance is highly variable.

          Like Spots, I find comfort in knowing that a bill I paid as a routine part of owning my horse takes the financial edge off during a crisis. Having been in several serious crises, I know this works for me and is "worth" the cost of the coverage I have.

          I have also had a mortality claim and while nothing about getting that check made the process of suddenly losing my horse any easier (and in fact handing the check to the teller at the bank felt almost obscene), it DID mean that I could afford to replace him with a nice young horse who helped me move on emotionally.

          But it's pretty clear that the both financial and emotional, if you will, factors create very different "right choice" outcomes for different people.
          The big man -- my lost prince

          The little brother, now my main man


          • #25
            I also have been going back and forth on this issue. Liz's semi-retired ** horse is still covered as an eventer, since a retired horse has much HIGHER premiums than a horse in work (their explanation was people don't take good care of their retired horses...). The fact that a claim automatically means an exclusion makes it even more frustrating. I do feel like I'm tempting fate, but have had few claims. Great American no longer insures horses valued at under a (documented) $15K, so we would have to go with another carrier that requires payment in full at renewal. Cancelled my insurance last week and hoping I'm not going to be sorry...


            • #26
              Deltawave, I self-insure and have posted about it often in the past. As long as you have a rainy day fund large enough to cover emergencies, I think it is the way to go from a purely numbers perspective. I have been self-insuring for 20 years, between 4-10 horses a year. During that time I have had 4 major horse events: 1 weeklong stay at the hospital for neuro EHV-1 (total cost: around $10k, horse lived); one colic surgery (total cost: $6k, horse died on the table); one mystery lameness (total cost: $2,500 for bone scan/etc., treated for SI injury); and one end-of-life spiral (total cost: $2,500 over months to get a terminal diagnosis plus $500 euth/burial). I track the numbers just for curiosity's sake and to make sure I'm being sensible, and my premium costs would have been about 4 times that over the years.

              And that assumes they would be covered -- highly doubtful for the colic surgery or the end of life spiral, as the latter horse was ancient and "valueless" and the former was the EHV-1 horse, whose colic was believed to be a result of decreased motility from the EHV-1 and thus likely would have been excluded from coverage.

              That said, I am not a believer in spending thousands on treatments like shockwave, stem cells, etc. because I don't yet see the proof in the pudding, so to speak. I prefer slow rehab and a year of Dr. Green with periodic ultrasound checks, because I have seen better long-term results among my horsey acquaintances than with horses treated aggressively and put back in work. Often too soon. They might heal "faster" according to ultrasound with the fancy stuff (still questionable, though) but I don't see evidence they heal better. If you are the kind to go in for every therapy under the sun, probably makes sense to have insurance until they won't take you any more!


              • #27
                I've never insured either...just never was able to justify the payments. We've had a few big bills over the last few years but 2012 was thankfully not bad.

                One thing that is nice for our small animals, and if we could get the horse vets to go along with it (but my clinic will not) is a Care Credit card. Three months are same as cash and then you pay interest and pay back the charge. It's nice for emergencies if you don't have the money on hand.


                • #28
                  Care Credit is your friend here. Also works well at some small animal clinics, and in our case, at the human dentist as well! It's worth checking into for both human and equine medical issues.

                  I know on COTH it does not go over well when folks talk about purchasing a product that also comes with a reimbursement program for colic surgery, but having claimed twice on this option and having the company pay out well in both cases, I can say it can allow for a surgery for a horse that has either aged out of insurance coverage, or is not monetarily valuable enough for a company to cover. Smartpak has a digestive product that now offers this type of program with up to $7,500 reimbursement for colic surgery/aftercare expenses. When initially running the numbers it might make more financial sense to buy insurance instead, but if you're not doing that, or can't, and you are open to using the product, then at least you have an option for some financial help if the unexpected comes to pass, allowing you to make a decision for surgery or burial, and not just have to automatically default to burial. Mine have both aged out of insurance coverage, and I am looking at changing over from the Uckele digestive product to using the Smartpak product and plan. If I'm already spending the money, it might be worth getting the additional piece of mind. I am still undecided.
                  "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                  • Original Poster

                    Care Credit is nothing more than another credit card, with all the potential downsides. I already have plenty of room on my existing credit cards, with the perks that come with those (frequent flyer miles and money put into my son's 529 fund) so I don't see the point in jeopardizing my credit score with another line of credit, even if it has a fancy name and is formally "earmarked" for animal health costs. I kind of think this is a big scam and that people don't look at it the way it should be looked at--another potential source of debt and a way to ruin one's credit.
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by RedRogue View Post
                      At this point in my life my horse is insured. I am a student and a server (and a horse owner- lol), so I don't have the savings to fund a major medical expense.
                      Once I have a 'real' job and am able to save approximately 10K for emergencies I plan to self insure, but it's not realistic right now.

                      I hear ya! DH and I are right in the middle in financial terms. Not struggling, but not saving a lot either, and we are taking steps to change that. But as everyone knows, money takes time to accumulate.

                      I insured my gelding for $5000 last year before shipping him from IL to CA, just in case. I've never insured a horse before, and, *hard knock on wood*, I've not had major issues. My first horse had a minor colic, but it was so long ago that my parents were paying the bills, so I have no idea how much it was.

                      My main reason for re-upping Bailey's insurance this year is that we are eventing, he's 11, and he's also being half-leased. Another knock on wood he's sound and super healthy, but juuuust in case. I also don't have a horse emergency fund. Thankfully I have a great vet who will take payments if sh!t does hit the fan, but still...a major vet bill would not be in my best interest.

                      My new horse I haven't looked at insuring simply because I've been busy. If I do end up purchasing insurance for him as well I will most likely undervalue him and Bailey as well to make it more affordable. My premium on Bailey isn't bad at all, but I do want to be able to buy a horse trailer in the next year, so saving pennies has become my new favorite thing.
                      runnjump86 Instagram

                      Horse Junkies United guest blogger


                      • #31
                        The one big peeve of mine is that if two horses arrive at the vet hospital at the same time, they will always take the insured one into surgery first, not necessarily taking any consideration of which is more dire, etc...

                        I have had six horses at a time, never insured, only two minor surgeries needed at about $3000 each... I just tell mine if they get real sick, I have a DNR order on them. So far, they take it seriously .


                        • #32
                          I only carry mortality on my mare. I have had to pay for two surgeries out of pocket in her life time. As a result she cannot be covered for anything related to those two legs that were involved in the surgeries. Needless to say, I don't really see the point in renewing her policy this year.


                          • #33
                            I just wanted to say that I am in the process of insuring a horse with great American for less than $15,000 mortality. I read earlier in the year, I believe it was here on COTH, that Grt American would no longer insure horses valued at less than $15000...not true


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by trafalgar View Post
                              I just wanted to say that I am in the process of insuring a horse with great American for less than $15,000 mortality. I read earlier in the year, I believe it was here on COTH, that Grt American would no longer insure horses valued at less than $15000...not true
                              The issue that people have posted about is that GAIC was dropping medical coverage for horses valued at less than $15k. I don't believe anyone was saying mortality wasn't available for those horses. I'm not sure I'd bother with mortality if I couldn't get medical or surgical coverage. My horses tend to injure themselves just enough to require vet care, ongoing support, and lengthy retirements...they don't die!

                              ETA knock on wood...!
                              Last edited by horsepoor; Jan. 13, 2013, 05:13 AM. Reason: Tempting fate?


                              • #35
                                And if you were to check the reviews on CareCredit there does not seem to be any good ones. I read many of them and could not find anyone too happy with them.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by WaningMoon View Post
                                  And if you were to check the reviews on CareCredit there does not seem to be any good ones. I read many of them and could not find anyone too happy with them.
                                  Because it is just a high-interest line of credit labeled and repackaged to make it sound like something else. Caveat emptor!
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #37
                                    I do not have insurance on any of mine. Paid for an MRI, IRAP, joint injections, radiographs. Last fall paid for bone fragment removal surgery 3k. Can't afford anymore but if needed I have my credit card or line of credit. I love my pets!


                                    • #38
                                      And, with respect to Great American's new policy of requiring a $15,000 mortality value to obtain medical coverage, what are people doing to meet this new threshold? Do we need a professional equine appraisal (hello Daventry?), what constitutes an adequate show record, etc? I'm facing this issue this year and am pretty sure I will be moving into the self-insurance category.


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by paint hunter View Post
                                        And, with respect to Great American's new policy of requiring a $15,000 mortality value to obtain medical coverage, what are people doing to meet this new threshold? Do we need a professional equine appraisal (hello Daventry?), what constitutes an adequate show record, etc? I'm facing this issue this year and am pretty sure I will be moving into the self-insurance category.
                                        I have not done so recently, but in the past, I have been able to provide show records and other information (letter from trainer, for instance) to establish a value within the $15-25k range. I think over $25k might have been the threshold for needing an actual appraisal (can't remember). I just asked the agent what I needed to provide and they were helpful. If you actually paid something close to the value you are seeking, it is probably easier than when you, say, are dealing with a homebred.


                                        • #40
                                          Starnet will insure MM on horses under 15k mortality value. I just had an estimate for 5k mortality and 5k MM (+ additional 3k colic surgical).
                                          Semi Feral