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Horse Insurance Conundrum, Please Weigh In!!!

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  • Horse Insurance Conundrum, Please Weigh In!!!


    So I got *really* lucky with my new horse. Like, so lucky that I still cannot believe it.
    I purchased my new horse for a scant $1900. She was listed as a Wb cross, unregistered. All I got was her dad's first name (actually a mishmosh of his name, but enough).

    I traced her dad and found my horse on the breeder's website.
    Turns out the $1900 mutt is actually a branded, triple registered Oldenburg daughter of Werbellin. Who had 2 champion babies.

    I'm trying to insure this girl for obviously more than $1900. She is in her prime, but no show record. She's only been shown in hand during inspections.

    I have ads of her siblings, offspring of Werbellin, and their prices range from $8600 to 30k. The half sibling closest to her in age, training, size etc is a gelding who just sold for 15k.

    Equisure told me there was nothing I could do but insure her for $1900 and up the value after 6 months of training. She does not need any training, she just needs to be shown.

    I know people have insured their horses for more than purchase price. Any rec's on which company? I would hate to have to email all the big companies and get turned down. Rather have a recommendation of someone who has done this in the past. I'd have a pro check her out and put a number on her...but I do not know if that work either?


  • #2
    You can claim a value in a policy for any amount you want. You'll pay a premium based upon that claimed value. In the event of a loss you'll get market value, up to the limit stated on the declaration page of the policy.*

    Thus if you overvalue you can end up with the Worst of All Possible Worlds: you overpaid on premium and got nothing for it.

    So realistically calculate the market value of the horse at the time you insure it. A short answer would be the market value is $1900 'cause that's what you paid for it. If you got real bargain (and can substantiate such a thing) then declare your value. Of course if you overpaid (in the company's eyes) you might not get the $1900 (although that would be a low probability result).

    If you add value with training then you can claim it. If you add value by obtaining papers you can claim it. But remember just 'cause you spend $1000 on training or papers does not mean the horse is now worth $1000 more. Market value remains market value.

    You could pay an equine appraiser, but at the value levels we're dealing with that would not be a real "economic" expense. If you want to go beyond, say, $10,000, then maybe it would be. Most companies don't require appraisals until the value gets to $25,000.

    Since the key is market value you have to make the call on that.

    Good luck in your research.


    *This presumes a standard policy that will pay market value, up to the declared limit on the policy. If you buy a "fixed value" policy (where you will be paid a sum certain in the event of loss) the result is different. These policies, however, are significantly more expensive and you still might have to demonstrate value if the company suspects any sort of fraud.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    • Original Poster

      Thanks G. It's not the mortality, per se, but the major medical I'm worried about. God forbid something happens, and I NEED insurance, they will only cover something like 60% of the horse's value. Which, at 1900, is crap. Why bother with the premium?
      I have copies of her papers. In the process of getting new originals in my name.

      Lady luck had to run out sometime...


      • #4
        Hmm...my insurance company only allowed me to insure at purchase price for the first year of my policy. Then in the second year, I provided a show history and a list of all training and clinics I had done. Then they allowed me to increase it. I am not sure I know any other way around it, outside of a private appraisal. Maybe if you got a private appraisal they would reconsider?


        • #5
          There is at least one insurer that will cover major medical up to $7500 regardless of value. I can't remember who it is...I would call around.


          • #6
            I got my insurance from Travelers, through a local agency called the Ark Agency. My pony is only worth about $5,000, but I had major medical for $10,000, and a colic rider for another $2,000.....and it was the best money I ever spent, because not long after I started the policy she had to go to Tufts and we used up every penny of that policy...and a bunch of my own money too. I'm in CT, if you want the phone number & email of my agency, send me a PM


            • #7
              I have used this company: http://www.horse-insurance.com/ They also insure with Traveler's, and will let you put a minimum amount of mortality to get major medical. No show record required; you determine the value you want to put on the horse to get the level of coverage you want. They are helpful and nice to deal with.
              Mystic Owl Sporthorses


              • #8
                I got 10k coverage on a horse that was given to me by EMO...call around
                "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                • #9
                  try Hallmark.

                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                  • #10
                    I have $15K major medical, plus a $3K sublimit for colic surgery. MM limit was not dependant on my horse's value. Carrier is Praetorian. Fairly decent coverage, only issue is that once she turns 15 (which isn't that far away) I will no longer be able to get coverage through them.

                    Try and find an independant agent who specializes in equine insurance and has appointments with multiple carriers. That way you can shop around for the best quote.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by mroades View Post
                      I got 10k coverage on a horse that was given to me by EMO...call around
                      How? Who did you use? Every company I have talked to needs a performance record.


                      • #12
                        I have $10K in major medical on my horses, none of which are insured for a value anywhere near that ($5K at most). They have paid well in excess of the horse's value -- I nearly exhausted the then-$7,500 limit on my horse when he had surgery and such two years ago. This is Great American, which also has changed the way they pay on medical policies so you have to do a co-pay thing, and people really gripe about it (you can search and find old threads) so you'll want to shop around, but just posting to prove that major medical tied to horse value is not always the norm.

                        I don't bother insuring for high mortality even if the horse is truly worth a lot more -- I don't see it being worth the additional cost. I maintain the insurance purely for the medical coverage. The chances that the mortality will come into play are pretty small and it is a risk that I am willing to take -- my horses mostly like to have near-death episodes that require expensive veterinary care and cause me great anxiety, not keel over completely and be done with it...


                        • #13
                          I think you need to do some shopping around. I paid peanuts for my Arab in a distress sale. I insured him for $3K (a price waay higher than purchase price) and that included colic surgery and major medical, neither of which were tied to his value. My horse's performance record at the time consisted of one schooling show! Rates were super reasonable and the terms of the policy were the best I could find in comparison shopping. I used Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency and they were great to work with. Everything done via email and fax. Very pleasant folks.

                          They are the USEA's official insurer, so not a fly by night organization. (www.broadstoneequine.com)


                          • #14
                            To address the question about insuring for more than purchase price, I have done that with both Great American and my previous carrier, Markel. But in all those instances, I'm pretty sure I did have some show records as any of those would have shown on the line as youngsters. I have also known my trainer to write a letter for horses indicating a potential value for insurance purposes, but not sure what company that was for (another client).


                            • #15
                              I discussed this type of situation with my agent when an inexpensive horse at my trainer's barn died in a pasture accident (uninsured) and I was trying to get information together for our kids' 4H group about insurance. I guess there are some agencies that don't easily insure "low priced" horses, but if I recall, Great American is one that will.

                              I think they will insure for major medical of $10K even for a horse that wasn't very expensive to buy. My understanding, however, is that they won't insure for *less* than that...e.g. you can't easily get $2500 in MM for an inexpensive horse, it's easier to get MORE.

                              Anyway....my agent is Blue Bridle... www.bluebridle.com. Give them a call and ask what you can get.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Haf N Haf View Post
                                Hmm...my insurance company only allowed me to insure at purchase price for the first year of my policy. Then in the second year, I provided a show history and a list of all training and clinics I had done. Then they allowed me to increase it.
                                I had this exact experience with Great American.
                                Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson


                                • #17
                                  You are getting good advice.

                                  What we want is pictures of this princess who slipped through the expensive dressaaahhge cracks. ;-)
                                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Haf N Haf View Post
                                    Hmm...my insurance company only allowed me to insure at purchase price for the first year of my policy. Then in the second year, I provided a show history and a list of all training and clinics I had done. Then they allowed me to increase it. I am not sure I know any other way around it, outside of a private appraisal. Maybe if you got a private appraisal they would reconsider?
                                    Originally posted by TarheelJD View Post
                                    I had this exact experience with Great American.
                                    I do agree that makes sense for mortality, but not for major medical. The show record and/or breeding has little (if anything) to do with the premium you pay for major medical. Even if you can't get mortality to cover replacement w/o a show record, you should still be able to find a company to provide enough major medical to cover your needs while you build a show record -- don't give up!


                                    • #19
                                      Call EMO. I only paid $1.00 for my horse and I was still able to insure her for a decent amount and $7500 major medical.

                                      They have a minimum mortality you have to insure for ($2,500 I think) and then you can add your medical to that policy. There are lots of options and I never had to produce anything detailing what I paid for the horse or what she's worth.


                                      • #20
                                        I use Great American. Each horse was insured for price paid for the first year, then upped for the mortality part. Like you, I don't consider the mortality the important part. My mare's colt could only be insured for 3 times the stud fee for the first year BUT he has $10K of medical insurance. I have had great experience with Great American. Had a bad year with one horse and they paid over $7K in medical bills and even called me to see if I had more bills! If you PM me, I can give you contact info for the broker I use.