Here are the final five things this horse insurance professional would prefer not to hear from clients, and the chance for you to learn from their mistakes.
6) I didn’t have a vet exam done before I bought the new horse. I got him for practically nothing, so it wasn’t necessary.
Well, it probably was. There is no truth to the old adage “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Please, have your vet look the horse over from head to tail. I cannot count the number of times I have seen clients end up with horses that are lame or ill, or even eventually have to be retired or put down due to something that would have been picked up in a basic pre-purchase exam.
Or in a slightly different scenario, the issue doesn’t come up until a year or two later when they decide to sell the horse, and the next potential buyer finds it in their pre-purchase exam. Either way, save yourself time, money, and heartache, by doing a thorough exam. This type of chance is really just not worth taking.
7) I already spent $500 on the pre-purchase exam. I wasn’t going to spend any more money for X-rays.
See #6. In addition, I’ve heard many variations of this, the most concerning is when during the initial pre-purchase exam, the vet notes areas of concern, and specifically states that further investigation with X-rays should be done to determine whether or not future soundness is a significant concern. One potential client, having been told that the horse’s front feet had some suspected issues of white line disease and/or past laminitis, and that X-rays should be done to see the extent of damage, said that she didn’t feel spending the money was worth it, especially since her trainer told her the horse would be fine.
No disrespect to trainers, but they are not veterinarians. And unless they are Superman with X-ray vision, or a very reliable psychic, they can’t guarantee what is going on in those areas and whether or not you’re likely to face a problem in the future. A few hundred dollars now versus the possible loss of many thousands in the future, in my opinion is a worthwhile investment.
8) The pre-purchase exam didn’t go well, so we passed on the horse at first. But after a few months he went “on clearance” so we bought him.
Don’t get me wrong—it is a rare horse, especially one with some years and work on him, that comes through a thorough pre-purchase exam without a few dings here and there, and every purchase is a bit of a throw of the dice. While you can expect that some previous injuries or ongoing issues can be managed without serious threat to the horse’s future usefulness, there are others, like bone chips in vulnerable areas, kissing spines, a past history of a severe soft tissue injury or chronic illnesses, that should be cause for real concern, no matter how much “on clearance” the horse is.
9) We probably should have moved that [insert-your-farm-implement-here] out of the pasture.
In just the daily 45-minute drive to my office, I go by several farms with horses turned out in pastures with various pieces of equipment and other horse-unfriendly things like canoes, rusty trailers, and farm implements with lots of pointy edges. I realize that I am paranoid, having read claim reports of horses severely injured or killed while turned out in pristine, perfectly maintained pastures, so you can imagine how I cringe at the thought of run-ins with these sorts of items. While it is impossible to protect our horses from everything, it's still not a good idea to put trouble right in their path.
10) I thought my homeowner’s policy covered liability for my horse.
I thought the boarding facility covered my horse if he hurt someone, or if he got hurt.
Unfortunately, many homeowners' and especially renters' insurance policies do not cover you for third party bodily injury or property damage caused by your horse – check with the agent that handles those policies to be sure. If you keep your horse(s) on your property and have a homeowners or farmowners policy, or an umbrella policy, there is a chance that those policies may offer some level of coverage, again check with your agent. And if the agent tells you coverage is in place, specifically ask them if that coverage extends to scenarios where the horse is not on your premises, such as at a horse show, out for training, or just for a day on the trail, because some policies may only apply to incidents that occur on your property.
Also, if you have horses other than those owned by you on your property, such as a boarders’ or friends’ horses, I would expect that this would not covered by the personal liability section of a regular homeowner’s or farmowner’s policy. In these situations you would want to see about General Commercial Liability and Care, Custody and Control policies specifically for equestrian exposures.
Regarding a boarding facility protecting you if your horse were to injure a third party or damage their property, or reimbursing you if your horse was was injured or killed while in their care, I would not expect for this to be the case. In most cases the boarding facility’s policy (if they have one) is there to protect them, not their clients, if an incident occurs where they are sued due to damage caused by a client’s horse, or if they were pursued by a client if that client’s horse was harmed while in their care.
To best protect yourself, and your horse, consider a Private Horseowner’s Liability policy to protect you if you are sued for negligence by a third party for bodily injury or property damage caused by your horse. And for your horse, consider a Mortality policy and Major Medical/Surgical endorsement so that if the worst happens, and you’re dealing with a serious injury or illness, or God forbid the horse’s death, you would have coverage to help reimburse you for your loss and expenses.
Worst Case Scenario
Even if you take every precaution, you may still find yourself dealing with a worst case scenario. This is where insurance, both mortality and major medical/surgical as well as personal liability, can be invaluable. Putting into perspective all the time, money, and effort that we put into our horses, and the fact that we often insure our other major investments—truck, trailer, house, barn—adding your horse to that list is definitely something to consider.
For more information, please visit the Broadstone FAQs page.
**These blogs are for basic information purposes only, and do not constitute advice from Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency. Contact our office directly at 888-687-8555 or info@BroadstoneEquine.com to speak with an agent for complete and current information regarding all coverages.