When I first acquired Simon, I made a deal with my husband that I would only have a horse if I carried insurance on it. We’re both hard core animal lovers and bleeding hearts, and we knew that if it came down to the choice of saving my horse or going into large amounts of debt… we’d probably go into large amounts of debt. That scared him, so I assured him that insurance was the answer.
Now over a year later I am a bit late to the punch… but I can finally say that Simon is insured.
When I first started the process, it was most important for me to keep yearly premiums low while still covering my butt. I knew I wanted mortality and major medical, but not loss of use – so I set out to email companies and get quotes. A representative from Equine Insurance Center mailed me back personally in reference to my online quote, and I began a lengthy email chain with her to figure out what the best insurance was for my boy.
Since I am an honest person who does not want to get caught for insurance fraud, I was up front about Simon’s lameness history and arthritic changes in his Right Hind hock. This immediately made the insurance company see my horse as so –
Essentially a 3 legged horse. Anything that could ever happen in that right hind leg, even unrelated to the hock injury, won’t be covered.
With this in mind, I started comparing Major Medical with simply Surgical insurance. Most companies MM included Shockwave, MRI’s, and Bone Scans (and some Stem Cell)… all three very good tools for treating lameness but what good would they be if I couldn’t use them in the leg that was already compromised? Major medical was also pretty damn expensive, so I looked into surgical.
Surgical insurance covered anything that happens to my horse (except in his RH) while under general anesthesia. That includes colic surgery, broken bones, major cuts, or even if he decides to poke himself in the eye and requires extensive eye surgery (yes, this has happened to one of my past horses). Surgical was also cheaper than MM.
Neither MM nor surgical covered joint injections, which I know I have in my future.
From my perspective, I was worried about the “oh shit” disasters that can happen with a horse. Broken leg that’s repairable but expensive, colic surgery… basically anything that is life threatening and expensive. For me, it made sense to go with surgical.
After I decided on that, it was time to evaluate his worth. I’ll be honest here and say that I asked to insure Simon for $5,000 mortality. Even though he has some issues that would show up on a pre-purchase and his show miles aren’t extensive yet, I didn’t think I could replace him for less than that.
Since my bill of sale for him is for $1.00, the insurance company had me fill out a form to justify his value. I had to put in all his show records and the duration and monetary amount of pro-training rides that he’s had. I was pretty skeptical that they would accept the $5,000, but the company I chose was fine with it.
There are a ton of insurance companies out there, and Equine Insurance Center mapped them all out for me very well. I ended up with Great American due to the excellent reputation I have heard from others. I know many of you have stated that they recently changed their Major Medical policy to exclude horses worth less than $25,000, but since we went with surgical that didn’t affect me.
At the end of the day, I went with $5,000 mortality and $10,000 surgical insurance for a total of $350 a year. I will re-evaluate next year, but for now I’m really pleased. I feel covered in case something happens, and not having to choose between my horse’s life or insane debt if he colics.
What about you – do you keep your horses insured?