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A little note on horse insurance

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    A little note on horse insurance

    I have a horse that turns 16 this year. My (Hartford) insurance is just coming up for renewal and the jump in premium was at least as sizeable as I expected, for major medical and mortality.

    As they didn't pay a bean towards a very expensive treatment in this last year's coverage, and as he's 16, I got a quote for just mortality. When the quote turned up, it had an "extra bonus" of 2.5K towards colic surgery.

    Something made me ask... What happens if this horse colics and I decide against surgery, because, after all, he is 16 and it's a lot to put a horse through at that age with a limited guarantee of success... to say nothing of the significant cost attached to the surgery and recovery.

    Well, if you decide not to do surgery, they aren't paying out on the mortality.

    Can I get the mortality without the colic "cover?"

    No.

    I told the agent I didn't think this sounded like a good deal for the horse and that I wouldn't be re-upping under the circumstances, and her comment was "I don't blame you, I wouldn't either."

    Just something to bear in mind when you are looking at insurance.

    #2
    I've always had the EMO Agency. They require colic surgery to try to save the horse before paying out.

    Comment


      #3
      Basically any mortality policy will not allow the owner to decide to destroy the horse, unless the emergency is so dire that to do anything other than euthanize would have zero possibility of survival. That is true even if you don't have the colic bonus - if surgery is an option and you choose to euthanize, you won't get the mortality payout because there were lifesaving options available.

      It is why I only insure for mortality to the level of the major medical limit. There's little point in doing more because I am really only insuring against a) finding my horse dead in the stall/paddock one morning or b) she is so severely injured that to do anything other then destroy her would be inhumane. These situations seem remote enough to me that I only carry the mortality to get access to the major medical.
      Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
      you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
        Basically any mortality policy will not allow the owner to decide to destroy the horse, unless the emergency is so dire that to do anything other than euthanize would have zero possibility of survival. That is true even if you don't have the colic bonus - if surgery is an option and you choose to euthanize, you won't get the mortality payout because there were lifesaving options available.

        It is why I only insure for mortality to the level of the major medical limit. There's little point in doing more because I am really only insuring against a) finding my horse dead in the stall/paddock one morning or b) she is so severely injured that to do anything other then destroy her would be inhumane. These situations seem remote enough to me that I only carry the mortality to get access to the major medical.
        This is a good approach.

        This type of insurance is property-casualty insurance to protect an economic asset, not "health insurance" the sense of human coverage. Some might find this description troubling but that's what it is. In that sense it's no different than collision/comprehensive on your car.

        If you overvalue your horse you are making a gift to the insurance company. Read the policy and you will find that the company is liable to pay the fair market value of the horse up to the limit on the declarations page in the event of a loss.* If you insure a horse with a $5000 fair market value for $100,000 you will pay a premium based on the company's $100,000 liability exposure but will never get more than $5000. Does that sound like a good deal? It doesn't to me.

        Be realistic when insuring property and horses are property.

        G.

        *There is a type of property insurance called "declared value" where you do insure for a specific sum. It is very expensive and usually will require at least a professional appraisal. This type of insurance constitutes a very high "moral risk" to the company as it's not unknown for people to over-insure horses and then kill them for money.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

        Comment


          #5

          I did the math on our history (over 10 years) of medical expenses and losses (including the unexpected death of a 7K horse). I was able to identify those expenses that would potentially be covered in a claim vs cost of premiums over the same period. I decided not to insure.

          Please do the math, and consider your personal position, potential payout of policy, and true monetary value of your horse. Every time you purchase a horse, review your position relative to the value of the horse, and consider what treatment you might consider providing. Think with your head, not your heart, and remember that surviving, and returning to meaningful level of work is not the same thing. If your choice would be to euthanize rather than provide surgery, or expose horse to a long, painful, and difficult recovery, that choice needs to be factored into your decision. There is no payout if you opt to euthanize not treat. I know everyone loves Dobbin, but we need to act in the best interest of the horse, not our heart or our wallet.

          Yes, there are horses I would insure. I currently do not own any.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Yes, I agree. When I did the math on this particular horse, who's insured value is pretty low, I realized that in the not unlikely event that he didn't survive the surgery and the recovery, I wasn't going to see a bean anyway, so why bother to insure in the first place?

            Comment


              #7
              I was thinking about whether or not to renew my policy because it ends in about a month. I originally got it because I was shipping my brand new horse a significant distance and wanted to have *something* in case of the worst. I also thought maybe if anything came up and I had to do some serious diagnostics once he arrived it would be a little helpful. But now reading all this, sounds like it just doesn't really make sense to renew... I've never really even been able to place a claim with all the copays and minimums and whatnots...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Guilherme View Post


                *There is a type of property insurance called "declared value" where you do insure for a specific sum. It is very expensive and usually will require at least a professional appraisal. This type of insurance constitutes a very high "moral risk" to the company as it's not unknown for people to over-insure horses and then kill them for money.
                Not entirely correct. I am in the equine insurance industry (equine claims). The two companies I have worked for both offered Agreed Value at no extra cost (one was built in, one is added to every policy by endorsement) with nothing but normal insurance paperwork. (MTA: no appraisal required)

                That said, if you have lied on your application about purchase price, you may have an issue with a mortality claim.

                Regarding the requirement for colic surgery- both companies I've worked for have required that everything possible be done to save the life of the horse, including colic surgery if recommended by a veterinarian. Now, if your vet does a belly tap and the horse has already ruptured or is a poor candidate for general anesthesia, then the company will probably waive the surgery requirement. But if there is no medical reason not to proceed with surgery, then unfortunately you will likely not get paid a mortality claim. However, the companies I've worked for have given people the option to have a necropsy done and if that reveals something that would not have been able to be surgically corrected, then you still can get paid the mortality value - but it is a risk you take.

                I'm happy to talk to anyone about insurance. I can't answer questions regarding every company but I can give a general overview. PM me if anyone wants to chat

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Samantha37 View Post

                  Not entirely correct. I am in the equine insurance industry (equine claims). The two companies I have worked for both offered Agreed Value at no extra cost (one was built in, one is added to every policy by endorsement) with nothing but normal insurance paperwork. (MTA: no appraisal required)

                  That said, if you have lied on your application about purchase price, you may have an issue with a mortality claim.

                  Regarding the requirement for colic surgery- both companies I've worked for have required that everything possible be done to save the life of the horse, including colic surgery if recommended by a veterinarian. Now, if your vet does a belly tap and the horse has already ruptured or is a poor candidate for general anesthesia, then the company will probably waive the surgery requirement. But if there is no medical reason not to proceed with surgery, then unfortunately you will likely not get paid a mortality claim. However, the companies I've worked for have given people the option to have a necropsy done and if that reveals something that would not have been able to be surgically corrected, then you still can get paid the mortality value - but it is a risk you take.

                  I'm happy to talk to anyone about insurance. I can't answer questions regarding every company but I can give a general overview. PM me if anyone wants to chat
                  Thank you for the correction. Last time I did this the process was different.

                  Is there any valuation difference? I can understand this system if you're talking low dollar horses but when you start talking six figures and up I can see a problem in "low documentation" underwriting.

                  G.
                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I got so much crap from the insurance company when I made a claim on the major medical that I didn't renew it this year. Just the mortality with colic coverage. If I jad the premiums that I paid for the coverage for 11 years, I'd have a nice little nest egg!
                    Trump lies, people die.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      In my experience, most companies don't care too much under a certain value and will bind on an agreed value. Over whatever their cap is, or unless they have other reasons to question value (like injury history), they don't require documentation to bind coverage.

                      I couldn't get mortality or MM for my horse this year, but I did get an accidental death and restricted perils policy. We have certain wildlife (e.g., rattlesnakes) and force majeure events (wildfire), and given that I had to do a fire evacuation the previous year, the premium for that coverage was worth it. It also covers transport accidents that result in death, which I believe includes if he's on a plane and has to be put down (fat chance scenario for him--I have no intention of flying him anywhere anytime in the foreseeable future, but might be useful to others). But, if he's just found dead one day or has to be put down, it only covers visual injury, like he ran through a fence and impaled an artery. So, it's pretty limited, but given the odds of things like fire around here, the math for me was a little different than if I maybe lived somewhere else.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        My guy will turn 16 during this policy year which means he will have to switch insurance providers if I want to keep MM on him. We had a horrific 2017. Maxed out his MM coverage, but he was renewed (with an expected list of exclusions, but not much of a rate increase). So for this policy year, it was worth it for me to renew. In November, he'll be 16 with an impressive list of injuries going to a new company. MM may be out of the question then and may go to Mortality only (and any "saved" $$ into an emergency fund).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by atr View Post
                          Something made me ask... What happens if this horse colics and I decide against surgery, because, after all, he is 16 and it's a lot to put a horse through at that age with a limited guarantee of success... to say nothing of the significant cost attached to the surgery and recovery.

                          Well, if you decide not to do surgery, they aren't paying out on the mortality.

                          I think it entirely depends on the insurance company...and why it is also a good idea to always ask questions. We had an insured yearling filly that we had to rush into the surgical clinic several years ago. She was diagnosed with a small intestinal twist. It was the middle of summer, out on pasture 24/7...basically no explainable reason for a colic. Although surgery was an "option", myself and the veterinarians agreed that the long term outcome for a yearling with an intestinal twist was not great, i.e. possibility of future colics. The insurance company agree to allow us to have her put down rather than trying to proceed with surgery. An autopsy was required. Because the policy was for Actual Cash Value, I did have to prove her insured value before the insurance company would pay out...but they did pay out.


                          www.DaventryEquestrian.com
                          Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                          Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness
                          www.EquineAppraisers.com

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by painthunter View Post
                            My guy will turn 16 during this policy year which means he will have to switch insurance providers if I want to keep MM on him. We had a horrific 2017. Maxed out his MM coverage, but he was renewed (with an expected list of exclusions, but not much of a rate increase). So for this policy year, it was worth it for me to renew. In November, he'll be 16 with an impressive list of injuries going to a new company. MM may be out of the question then and may go to Mortality only (and any "saved" $$ into an emergency fund).
                            I had a similar situation with my horse - some health issues which were excluded. I have Hallmark and initially had M/M along with mortality, the following year after getting my policy in the mail I talked with them and having surgical only along with mortality was an option. So for some folks that might be an option to consider.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                              Thank you for the correction. Last time I did this the process was different.

                              Is there any valuation difference? I can understand this system if you're talking low dollar horses but when you start talking six figures and up I can see a problem in "low documentation" underwriting.

                              G.
                              There is a difference for sure but to my knowledge, they typically pull show records/racing records/breeding records along with getting a justification of value type form. They also require a vet cert over a certain value.

                              Comment

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