HORSE INSURANCE FAQ'S FOR HORSE OWNERS
If you own a horse, there are several types of horse insurance coverages to consider. These frequently asked questions will help you choose an equine insurance policy that fits your needs.
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- At what age can I insure my horses?
- Are there any uses/disciplines which do not qualify for coverage?
- Is my horse insured when we drive to another state?
- What if I am buying a horse that's in another country, or I'm traveling with him out of the U.S. for a competition? Will he have coverage while we are abroad and in transit?
- Can I get a Major Medical/Surgical type of coverage on horses insured at lower values, such as $7,500 or lower? Also, can I get Major Medical/Surgical, Veterinary Services, Medical Assistance, Surgical Expenses Only and/or Loss of Use coverages by themselves (without a Mortality policy)?
- Do I need to have my veterinarian examine my horse before I can start a policy?
- Can I start coverage today?
- What are my payment options?
- Will I need to provide a new veterinary exam when I renew my horse's policy?
- I just purchased a new horse, how much can I insure him for?
- I purchased my horse several years ago, and he's definitely increased in value due to training and competition. How much can I insure him for?
- My horse is a three-year-old homebred with no performance record yet. How do I determine his value?
- I'm most worried about being able to pay the vet bills if my horse becomes ill or has an injury. What types of coverages are available?
- What if my horse has a health problem during the policy? Will I be able to renew the policy?
- If I board my horse, isn't he covered by the people that own and manage the barn?
- Is there any type of infertility coverage for my breeding stallion?
Q: At what ages can I insure my horses?
A: Full Mortality Coverage: Horses over 24 hours old through 18-20 years, depending on the insurance company.
Major Medical, Veterinary Services or Medical Assistance: Horses over 30 days through 18-20 years old, depending on the insurance company.
Surgical Expenses Only: Horses over 30 days 20 years of age, depending on the insurance company.
Extended Named Perils/Limited Perils: Horses over 24 hours old
Q: Are there any uses/disciplines which do not qualify for coverage through our agency?
A: Race horses, horses in race training, or horses intended to race typically do not qualify for Major Medical, Veterinary Services, Medical Assistance, or Surgical Only, coverages. Your horse's use and level, and any intended uses during the policy period must be stated on the Mortality application. If the horse's use or level changes mid-policy, you must notify us so we can advise the insurance company for their review and determine if an additional premium (or refund) may be due.
Q: Is my horse insured when we drive to another state?
A: Yes, once coverage is bound, your horse should be covered while traveling by land throughout the continental U.S. and Canada.
Q: What if I'm buying a horse that's in another country, or I'm traveling with him out of the U.S. for a competition, will he have coverage while we are abroad and in transit?
A: The coverages on the policy only cover while the horse is within the continental U.S. and Canada, but can usually be extended while the horse is located in most other countries. The insurance company will require prior notice as well as an additional premium, as well as details on the flight (dates, locations, transport company, flight numbers, etc.), and underwriting approval must be obtained before any coverage is in place, which means that it is important that you contact us several business days prior to any travel taking place. Ask an agent for more details.
NOTE: If the insurance company is not notified of the horse's international travels in advance of the trip (and has the opportunity to review the extension), your insurance policy will be considered void. Also, a request for an international extension of coverage may not be approved, depending on the locations and specifics of your circumstances and coverages.
Q: Can I get a Medical/Surgical type of coverage on horses with lower values, such as $7,500 or lower? Also, can I get Medical and/or Surgical coverages by themselves?
A: We do work with companies that will offer Major Medical, Veterinary Services and Medical Assistance (insurance companies have different names for these similar types of endorsements) coverage policy limits ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 on horses with insured values as low as $1,000 (providing the horse otherwise meets the company's underwriting critera), which is unusual in today's market. That being said, these coverages are only available as endorsements added on to a Full Horse Mortality insurance policy. For those horses not eligible for these coverages, some insurance companies may offer more restrictive coverages. Contact an agent for more details.
Q: Do I need to have my veterinarian examine my horse before I can start a policy?
A: To insure for Full Mortality, with most companies a veterinary exam is not usually required as long as your horse is age 15 or under, sound and healthy, and you are insuring him for a value of $100,000 or less. If you are insuring for a value of more than $100,000, a basic exam is usually required.
If you are interested in Loss of Use coverage, regardless of the horse's value, you will be required to submit at least a basic veterinary certificate. Also, depending on the type of Loss of Use coverage you are interested in, you may need a very detailed veterinary exam (similar to a pre-purchase exam) with current radiographs of all four feet and fetlocks, hocks, and stifles. While Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency typically does not offer Loss of Use coverage, we can refer you to an agency that should be able to assist you.
Q: Can I start coverage today?
A: We can usually bind coverage upon receipt of the required paperwork and underwriting approval, which generally can be the same business day we receive all the required paperwork, if it is during business hours, Monday through Friday, and providing all paperwork is complete and in order and we receive underwriting approval. Paperwork can be submitted by fax, email or mail. Providing we receive underwriting approval, we would then email and mail you a horse insurance binder that would give you approximately two to four weeks to make at least a down payment.
Q: What are my payment options?
A: If making payment to our office, you can pay by personal check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover (debit or credit). Payment options directly to the insurance companies vary.
Q: Will I need to provide a new veterinary exam when I renew my horse's policy?
A: As long as your horse is sound and healthy with no claims during the policy year, under 16 years old, and his insured value is $100,000 or less, you should generally not need to provide a vet certificate at renewal. You will usually need (depending on the company you are insured with) a current vet certificate if the horse will be insured for more than $100,000. Also, the underwriters may ask for a veterinary certificate due to advanced age of the horse (16 or older), if the horse has experienced health issues during the policy period, and/or if the horse is covered by certain endorsements such as Stallion Accident, Sickness and Disease or Stallion Infertility.
Q: I just purchased a new horse. How much can I insure him for?
A: A recently purchased horse can be insured for its purchase price, but not more than that amount.
Q: I purchased my horse several years ago, and he's definitely increased in value due to training and competition. How much can I insure him for?
A: In this case, since you would be looking to insure for more than the amount you originally purchased him for, you would need to provide substantiation for consideration of a value increase. You can use the Justification of Value form (on the Forms and Applications page). This form will help you list the horse's competition record, professional training fees paid, breeding record, and other relevant information. This information is normally sufficient, providing the underwriter feels the value you are requesting is reasonable. Give us a call and we'll help you determine what you'll need and we will then submit it to underwriting for their review.
Justification of Value Application: value_just.pdf
Q: My horse is a three-year-old homebred with no performance record yet. How do I determine his value?
A: The basic formula used for young homebred horses is three times their sire's stud fee. If you believe your horse is worth more than that due to training, performance, etc., contact our office and we can discuss this with you in detail.
Q: I'm most worried about being able to pay the vet bills if my horse becomes ill or has an injury. What types of affordable health insurance coverages are available?
A: If your horse is from the age of 30 days and 18-20 years, you should seriously consider adding Major Medical, Veterinary Services or Medical Assistance coverage to your Full Mortality policy. These coverages help reimburse you for covered veterinary costs (both medical and surgical) in the event your horse has a covered injury, illness, accident or disease during the policy period.
Remember, while the Full or General Mortality horse insurance policies include coverage for humane destruction, the situation must meet the requirements of the policy. The policy does not cover for euthanasia due to non health related, economic or philosophical reasons. If your horse develops a serious condition that requires costly medical or surgical care, and the veterinarians recommend that treatment to save the horse's life, you are expected under the terms of the Horse Mortality insurance policy to provide for that care, regardless of whether or not those expenses are covered by your policy. If you don't have the funds to pay the expected veterinary fees, and the horse dies because you do not pursue treatment, or if you choose to put your horse down instead of pursuing treatment, regardless of your personal reasons for doing so, the Mortality policy would likely not respond.
Q: If my horse has a health problem during the policy, will I be able to renew the policy?
A: Most often the company will offer to renew your policy, but will likely apply an exclusion for that problem if they deem it necessary and/or may apply a debited rate for coveage, and/or restrict access to certain coverages. In rare cases, renewal may not be offered.
Q: If I board my horse, isn't he covered by the people that own or manage the barn?
A: Probably not. It is likely that the only coverage that might apply would be if the people/business operating the boarding business have Care, Custody & Control (CCC) coverage. CCC is a type of liability coverage typically meant to protect the policy holder in the event a client's horse in their boarding care is damaged, and the client feels it was due to their negligence and pursues them legally for compensation (depending on the terms of their policy). Their CCC policy does not protect you as the horse's owner, therefore, a Full Horse Mortality insurance policy with a Medical/Surgical type of coverage is definitely a good idea.return to list.
Q: Is there any type of infertility coverage for my proven breeding stallion?
A: Yes. Stallion Accident, Sickness and Disease or Stallion Infertility coverage can be added to your proven stallion's Equine Mortality insurance policy. It will reimburse you for a percentage of his insured value in the event he permanently can no longer get mares in foal as the result of a covered accident, sickness, or disease that occurs during the policy period.
FAQ'S FOR EQUESTRIAN BUSINESSES
Equestrian Commercial General Liability including Care, Custody & Control, Applications:
Horse Show Coverage Application:
Riding Clubs and Associations Application:
- I board horses at my farm, but I don't teach lessons. Several independent riding instructors and horse trainers do come onto the premises to work with their clients, who board here. Do I need liability coverage for this, and if so, what type?
- I teach riding lessons and train horses, but don't have my own facility--I travel to my clients. What kind of coverage should I have?
- I have my clients sign a release of liability. Shouldn't this prevent them from suing me?
- We have an equine limited liability law in our state. I made sure the wording was in my release, and I posted the proper signs. Doesn't this protect me from being sued, in which case I don't need an insurance policy, right?
- I board and train horses and someone mentioned I should look into Care, Custody and Control coverage. How is this different from the Commercial Equine Liability policy?
- All of the horses at my barn are insured by their owners, so I don't need CCC coverage, right?
Q: I board horses at my farm, but I don't teach lessons. Several independent riding instructors and horse trainers do come onto the premises to work with their clients, who board here. Do I need liability coverage for this, and if so, what type?
A: Even though you are not actually performing the teaching or training, you should consider determining with your agent if your general equestrian liability policy includes coverage for these exposures, since they are taking place on your property. If you don't have any general liability coverage in place at all, you should definitely consider it for the equine activities that take place on your property.
You must insist that any independent riding instructors and horse trainers or other professional horse people who utilize your facility have their own general liability coverage with limits equal to or greater than your policy's limits. In addition, you must require that you/your business be named as Additional Insureds on their policy. You should make sure to request a copy of a current certificate of insurance that shows that this is the case, and submit it to your agent.
Q: I teach riding lessons and train horses, but don't have my own facility--I travel to my clients. What kind of coverage should I have?
A: You can purchase a Commercial Equine General Liability policy and also consider adding Care, Custody and Control coverage, and these can follow you wherever you teach or train within the continental U.S.
Q: I have my clients sign a release of liability. Shouldn't this prevent them from suing me?
A: You must have clients read and sign a release of liability/wavier/hold harmless agreement (one that you've hopefully had reviewed by an attorney), as the insurance company requires it and it is in your best interests from a business standpoint. Unfortunately, even if the release has been signed, that does not prevent you from being pursued legally by the person who signed it (or their family), but it could be instrumental in your defense. Also, if your state has an equine liability statute that requires wording in your liability release/waiver/hold harmless agreement, you must make sure that wording is included. If you operate in multiple states, you should make sure you have a release that includes each state's equine liability statue wording. Consult an attorney for specific advice regarding releases, and equine liability state statutes. Also, make sure to keep the signed releases on file.
Q: We have an equine limited liability law in our state. I made sure the wording was in my release, and I posted the proper signs. Doesn't this protect me from being sued, in which case I don't need an insurance policy, right?
A: You've done everything right so far by including the wording in your releases and posting signs on your property. Unfortunately, equine limited liability laws do not protect you from being sued (though they may help your case if you are). A frivolous lawsuit still requires a defense, and a general liability policy should help cover your defense fees in the event your are pursued legally by a third party for bodily injury or property damage that they believe you were negligent in causing while performing your covered equestrian operations.
Also, keep in mind that while most state equine liability laws refer to the inherent risk of riding and working around horses, they are not necessarily intended to protect you if you are considered negligent or at fault for the accident.
Q: I board and train horses, and sometimes trailer horses for clients, and someone mentioned I should look into Care, Custody and Control coverage. How is this different from the Commercial Equine Liability policy?
A: Care, Custody & Control (CCC) is what helps cover you in the event a horse that is in your care that you do not own (some possible examples would be a non-owned boarded horse, non-owned horse in training, a non-owned horse you are handling for breeding purposes, or a non-owned horse you are trailering for a regular client) is injured, and the owners pursue you legally because they believe you were at fault. The standard Commercial Equine General Liability policy does not cover these situations, but you can add CCC coverage to your policy to help protect you, providing the cause of loss meets the policy terms and conditions.
A: Actually you should still consider this coverage. If one of those horses dies or is injured and the owner's insurance policy pays the claim, if the insurance company believes you were negligent in causing the loss, you could potentially be sued by the insurance company. That action is called subrogation. If this happens, the CCC policy should help protect you, providing you have otherwise met the policy terms and conditions.
All information on this website is for basic informational purposes only, and does not constitute advice or any guarantee of coverage from Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, a division of Marshall & Sterling Insurance. Contact our office directly at 888-687-8555 or info@BroadstoneEquine.com to speak with an agent for complete and current information regarding all horse insurance and related coverages.