What Types of Horse Insurance Coverage Are Available?

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Horses are a significant investment, and horse owners are often held liable for injuries or damage caused by their animals. Obtaining a liability policy that recognizes the special exposure surrounding horses is critical.

This policy reimburses you for your horse’s value if it dies due to a covered accident or disease. It is also referred to as full mortality insurance.

Basic Medical Coverage

Medical and surgical treatment can be costly. This type of coverage reimburses a portion of reasonable veterinary expenses for surgery, diagnostic testing, and medications if your horse is injured or sick. It can be a good idea for horses competing in specific disciplines, as some policies will cover injuries and illnesses that may prevent them from participating.

This type of insurance is an endorsement for your equine mortality policy; it is not offered on a stand-alone basis. 

Most major medical/surgical policies exclude preexisting conditions, and most will not reimburse for elective surgeries. Some alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and magnetic therapy, should be covered.

Transient Coverage

Most horse insurance policies offer this optional element that provides protection should your horse be killed or humanely destroyed while in transit or when being lent out to someone else. It also covers any damage your horse might cause to the property while in transit.

Vet Fee Coverage

Most insurers offer vet fee cover options that vary in terms of the excess payment and the limit of cover provided. Typically the Vet Fee section makes up the majority of the premium, so it’s essential to consider carefully how much coverage you want. It can afford if you have to make a claim.

The significant medical and surgical cover is usually offered as an add-on to mortality coverage and helps pay for nonsurgical severe injuries and illnesses. It can also exclude elective surgery. It usually doesn’t cover routine veterinary costs. Some policies also have a yearly aggregate limit or a per-illness/incident deductible.

Horse Insurance

Loss-of-Use Coverage

As stated in the mortality policy, this policy reimburses you for a predetermined percentage of your horse’s value if it becomes totally and permanently incapable of performing its intended uses. It covers all permanent disabilities, including diseases such as EPM and navicular. To be approved for full loss of use, your horse must have a full vet exam that includes x-rays and a drug test.

Many companies offer “external injury only” loss of use coverage that doesn’t require the full exam. The full version requires a complete vet exam, flexion tests, narratives of the required x-rays, and a drug screen.

It is essential to review the terms and conditions carefully. For example, some policies limit how long a horse can be under treatment before it will not pay for it. They also may exclude specific injuries or illnesses, such as tendon injuries and laminitis. This is why it’s so important to comparison shop.

Mortality Coverage

Mortality, sometimes called life insurance or equine life insurance, covers the cost of your horse’s death from any cause. Most notably, it protects against colic deaths, injuries, and illnesses that lead to death. Most full mortality policies also provide limited coverage for the theft of your horse.

A named perils policy (some companies use different terminology) is a more limited form of mortality coverage, covering your horse’s death from specified causes outlined in the insurance document. This type of equine life insurance is often used when the insured value of your horse makes a full mortality policy prohibitively expensive.

These types of policies are available with limits of up to 75% of the insured value of your horse, though some restrictions may apply based on the age of your horse and its use.