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Insuring the Older Show Horse

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  • Insuring the Older Show Horse

    Background: My A/O Hunter turns 18 in January. He is not campaigned hard, and is still perfectly happy and capable doing his job. We place consistently at A and AA shows (as long as I don't ride to a miss). I am currently considering insurance options (mortality and surgical) for the next few years. He is currently insured, but the rate increases drastically for next year.

    For those of you who have been through this, which companies have the best rates? At what age do companies no longer offer insurance? Is this standard throughout the industry or does it vary by company? At what point does it become more effective to invest/save the amount of the insurance premiums rather than paying for insurance?

    I will be calling several agents over the next few weeks, but wanted to get ideas here as a jumping off point.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • #2
    I bought my old mare when she was 17 and could not get her insured, because of her age. Mind you, this was in Canada and the choice of insurance companies was pretty limited, but keeping that in mind, deciding to move insurance companies might be impossible at his age.

    Depending on how much coverage you're actually getting, I'd probably just suck it up and pay the premiums. You never know what stupid thing a horse is going to do to get themselves in a very expensive mess .

    Even if you cancel your insurance and save up all the extra money you would have spent on it, it might not be enough, in the end.
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    • #3
      Could you maybe lower his 'price' (get him re-appraised) so the mortality premiums will be lower?
      And for surgical: Most vets I've talked to won't do a colic surgery on a horse over 15, so maybe just switch to major medical?

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      • #4
        I believe EMO, Wellfargo and the other companies who are underwritten by Great American stop insuring horses for major medical/ surgical when they are older than 16.

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        • #5
          EMO insured an 18-year-old for me. I think Markel might also.

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          • #6
            yeah, my 17 yr old is insured (surgical/mortality) by Hartford, but then again, he's been covered y them for 6 years w/o a single claim, so I suppose that might be a factor. We shall see what happens next year when the policy renews...
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by heartinrye View Post
              And for surgical: Most vets I've talked to won't do a colic surgery on a horse over 15, so maybe just switch to major medical?
              This is not true everywhere. I personally have a horse that had surgery at 18. There was no mention of his age in the discussion to go to surgery at all.
              I also know of two others that had surgery at 16 and 17 respectively.

              As for insurance Great American will only do major medical up to 15 I believe. Then you just get surgical, and make sure you read the small print on that one, it doesn't cover everything you think it will.
              "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by heartinrye View Post
                And for surgical: Most vets I've talked to won't do a colic surgery on a horse over 15, so maybe just switch to major medical?
                Not true. Sent a 17 almost 18 year old to colic surgery in Feb. I was the one who was going to put him down due to his age. Personal vet and equine hospital said no lets go for it and see what we have. Ten months later he is back to his old self. Yes it is much harder on the older guys.

                I had surgical and major medical on him. Markel paid out the 5000 surgical no problems. He is in his final year of coverage. They will not insure him once he hits 19. And of course he is not covered anymore for colic surgery (you get a one shot deal), not that I would send him again. I debated whether to renew the policy however surgical covers some may things so I did renew the policy.

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                • #9
                  I think your plan to shop around is very well-considered. I have a sixteen-year old (this coming year) who just got dropped for MM by Broadstone/Hartford. I could (and did) keep the mortality and surgical on him although I feel pretty sure if I ever tried to claim anything on that, they'd fine-print their way out of it. I have not been pleased with them but my impression is, past 15 it's hard to switch to a new insurer, and something at least may be better than nothing in case real disaster strikes. The surgical gives me some peace of mind, at least. But, the main thought that crossed my mind was that if my super-picky co. let me keep my mort & surg, I believe you should be able to find some that will help you out. The one I keep hearing the most good things about seems to be Markel.
                  Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

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                  • #10
                    My mare was dropped from major medical at 16, surgical at 18 or 19 (don't remember). I called around then and no one else would consider insuring her for surgical or medical.

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                    • #11
                      I would seriously consider whether it makes more sense to insure him or to simply bank the premiums into a special "vet account". Even if you can get covered this year, you're soon to the point where they won't do another year. I'm frankly surprised that they're offering you coverage at 18 - you can talk to your agent about what will happen at 19, whether they'll renew and whether it matters if he has no claims or not. And, unless he's extremely valuable, the mortality probably doesn't make a lot of sense.
                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                      • #12
                        I have my retired TB insured through Great American... he's 20, about to be 21. I can't get Major Medical on him anymore, but still have mortality and surgical.

                        The only big claims I ever made on him were 1. when he was 13 and had a suspensory injury on his RH, and 2. when he was 18 and bashed his front hoof (the surgical part of his treatment was covered).

                        Interestingly, when his insurance was renewed this past October, I received a letter spelling out in detail what part of him was still covered and what was excluded. For some bizarre reason, his entire right hind leg has been excluded from coverage, even though insurance claims made only related to the suspensory. My agent spoke with Great American but couldn't get them to change it.

                        Overall, though, I've been very pleased with Great American.

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                        • #13
                          I use broadstone. I have used them with 2 horses, one had many many claims. They paid quickly, were easy to get in touch with and seemed to care about what was best for the horse (never questioned some "alternative" treatments).
                          My 16yo is still insured through them grundens (just renewed!). I have full coverage on him, I am not sure at what point that will change though. Unless minor, I would not put him through anything surgical (such as colic).
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