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Choosing to Insure Your Horse

There are a number of reasons why individuals may choose not to insure their horses. It may be because insurance is too expensive, the owner may not know the true value of the horse or some owners may believe their horse isnít valuable enough to insure. By asking yourself if you could afford to lose your horse is the best way to determine if you need to get insurance on your horse.
The value of the horses shouldnít play a part in your decision; rather you should base your decision on whether or not you can pay out of pocket to replace your horse should something unforeseen occur. It is a rare exception to find someone who can easily pay over a hundred thousand dollars out of pocket should a horse be lost.

About half of the horses currently insured most have a value of under fifteen thousand. Even a thousand dollars can be difficult for owners if they have a mortgage, college tuition or child care to pay for as well.
This then brings the question to the owner of how much their horse is really worth. There are several factors that can help an owner to determine the value of their horse which includes the horseís sale price and record. The correct value of a horse can be established by an experienced equine insurance underwriter and make sure you horse isnít over insured or under insured.

A horse that is worth under fifteen thousand and is younger than fifteen can have an annual rate of three percent of its value. This means that it would cost you three hundred a year to provide full mortality insurance on a horse that is worth ten thousand dollars. The insurance covers against death from an accident or illness in addition to death from natural causes no matter where the horse is when it dies. This means for your insurance you are paying a premium of less than a dollar per day.

There are some finer points you may want to consider if you choose to have mortality insurance. You should always carefully look over the insurance contract. The owner may be allowed to humanely destroy the insured horse in some mortality policies only with the opinion of a veterinarian that destruction is necessary. A good thing to check on the policy is whether it requires the opinion of a veterinarian linked to the insurance company or if the veterinarian must be pre-approved by the insurance company. A good company will understand that some times emergencies require a decision on the horses well being immediately and that the vet and owner canít wait long period of time before making critical decisions.

You should also make sure what specific perils your horse is covered for and if you need to get a specified peril policy you should do so. Some of the specified perils in a policy can include fire, lightning and transportation accidents. All possible causes of death should be encompassed in your policy.

A loss-of-use policy can also be purchased by owners which can be a supplement to your mortality policy. However, what qualifies for loss-of-use in a policy will vary. Generally this type of policy compensates the owner for the decreased value of an insured horse in case the horse becomes ill or injured and can no longer perform at its declared use. There are generally very specific notice requirements for a loss-of-use policy that require the owner to notify the insurance company of any disease, injury or illness that a horse sustains.

A good example of this would be when the court upheld a denial by the insurance company for a forty thousand dollar claim after a show jumper horse was diagnosed with a serious and debilitating lung disease. Two years before the lung disease diagnosis the horse had a tendon injury and the owner never reported the injury. While tendon injuries donít affect the lung the insurance company was never notified of the tendon injury as specified in the requirements of the policy and as a result the claim was denied.

Another increase in popularity has been medical insurance for horses. Medical insurance for horses has two different types. The first covers surgery for colic, ligament damage and other such injuries as well as all post-operative care. The second is a major medical policy that not only covers surgery, but also all veterinary care if a horse can be saved through non-surgical methods. However, either of these policies typically has to be purchased along with a mortality policy. These policies will generally cost between $75 and $150 per year with insured expenses up to five thousand.

Read the next horse care article on Equine Management Software.
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