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Beginner’s Guide to Equine Insurance (and Peace of Mind)

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Written by Marie A.

Finding the best equine insurance can feel overwhelming (until now.)

Just because your horse isn’t the star of the show ring doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an insurance policy on him. Whether you go with a basic liability coverage policy in case he kicks a passerby or a catastrophic policy that covers everything under the sun, an equine insurance policy offers something truly priceless–peace of mind.

At the end of the day, the cost of policy premiums pale compared to the financial losses if your horse is injured, killed, or harms other people or property. Though additional options are available, major medical and mortality (full or limited) policies are the best place to start. 

Types of Equine Insurance

There are many different types of policies available, which vary in price and coverage. Below is a brief overview of the most common policies offered by horse insurance agencies.

(There are more specific policies available, like for stallion and broodmare fertility insurance. But, for this article, we’ll stick to the basics.)

Major Medical

  • Major Medical insurance covers veterinary costs, like diagnostic procedures, surgery, medication, and visits from the veterinarian when treating an illness or injury.
  • Think of this policy like your own medical insurance. If your horse has an expensive medical procedure, you don’t want to have to choose between your mortgage and his health.
  • These policies have a deductible and have a limit on the amount covered per year per horse.
  • Watch out for using it one year and renewing it the next, as sometimes the horse insurance policy won’t cover conditions claimed the previous year. Read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.

 Surgical

  • These policies only apply if your horse needs an operation.
  • Major medical is more of an all-encompassing policy, while this type of policy only covers the surgery.
  • Keep in mind that electing to do surgery on a horse often brings much higher risks than small animal, or even human, operations. Think about whether you would want your horse to undergo surgery before deciding whether this policy is for you. Vet bills aren’t the only consideration — the wellbeing of your horse must come first.

Full Mortality

  • A full mortality policy applies if your horse dies and your major medical policy has already been utilized.
  • The reasoning behind this is that your horse has died after all efforts have been made to save it.
  • This policy also typically applies if your horse is stolen.

Chief Rookie Story

Of course, I never want anything to happen to my horse. Ideally, he will live forever in perfect health and happiness! That said, I understand that bad things can happen. 

It felt strange to purchase a mortality policy for my horse, especially since I just ride for fun. He’s not a fancy stud or money-winning show horse. But, at the end of the day, I want to be able to buy another horse of the same caliber if he were to pass away.

Knowing that I could file a claim and afford a new horse right away is comforting. Riding my primary hobby, how I maintain my physical and mental health, and what I do with friends. It’s important for me to be able to keep doing it.

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Limited Mortality

  • Limited Mortality Coverage doesn’t have to be purchased with major medical policy, but is recommended for horses that are traveling or being placed in higher risk situations.
  • This policy will reimburse you for a predetermined value of your horse, which is determined when the policy is taken out.

Loss of Use

  • When your horse loses the ability to do what it has been purchased for, you may be able to be reimbursed for a value predetermined and agreed upon by you and the insurance company.
  • This policy may sound like a good idea, but it’s historically hard to prove loss of use.
  • Loss of use policies may only apply to breeding horses, race horses, etc. — not horses used for pleasure riding.
  • Note: Some companies require you to euthanize the horse before you can collect, so read the fine print.

Colic Surgery

  • If you want to be able to afford emergency colic surgery, you may want to take out a policy specifically for this scenario.
  • Colic surgeries can incur upwards of $7,500 in veterinary fees, and this is a common health conditions for horses.
  • Horse owners are largely divided about whether horses should undergo this procedure. Consult your vet for advice.

Personal Liability

  • Liability coverage exists to cover expenses if your horse injures someone or damages property.
  • Many horse owners go without this coverage, but think about how many people and places your horse interacts with before making a decision.
  • If you’re sued by someone who is bitten by your horse or someone who’s vehicle was kicked as they passed you on the road, you may wish you had this extra layer of protection.

Chief Rookie Story

While my horse has (knock on wood) never injured anyone, I have been injured by someone else’s horse. I was working with a friend’s mare on water crossings from the ground. She leapt over the stream and directly into me. In a matter of seconds, my collarbone broke in half. Ouch. 

Over the next few weeks, I racked up more than $7,000 in medical bills AFTER insurance. (My coverage is through Blue Cross Blue Shield, a major provider.) From the Urgent Care visit to x-rays to surgery to put in a metal plate, it was an eye-opening experience to say the least. 

I did not blame my friend or attempt to sue her for my expenses. However, the incident was a stark reminder that many other people might if they were in a similar position — especially if they couldn’t afford their medical bills. If my horse were to injure someone in the future, I would definitely want the peace of mind knowing I had a dedicated insurance policy that would cover the injured party’s claim. 

If a broken collarbone was $7,000 (after my own insurance), I can’t imagine what a more serious injury that required a hospital stay or expensive medications or treatments would cost. To me, it’s worth the monthly premium equine insurance payments. If I never need to use the policies, that’s the best case scenario!

Want to read more about my accident? Check out my blog about it.

Best Equine Insurance Companies

While some companies only cover certain states, these top choices will give you a great starting point. We’ve included links to each provider’s website, where you can gather additional information and request a quote.

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Best Value Equine Insurance

Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency
  • Known for educating potential clients well.
  • Speedy claims process.
  • Multiple policy types offered.

Click Here to Visit the Website

Click Here to Request a Quote

Best Equine Colic Insurance

Blue Bridal Equine Insurance
  • More than 30 years of experience.
  • Multiple policies offered, including colic only.
  • Licensed in 42 states.

Click Here to Visit the Website

Click Here to Request a Quote

Best Equine Mortality Insurance

Great American Insurance Group
  • Insurance policies can be stacked, which makes it customizable for you and your needs.
  • One of the worldwide leaders in equine mortality insurance.
  • Staffed by people who are experts in a variety of breeds and disciplines.

Click Here to Visit the Website

Click Here to Request a Quote

Best Equine Medical Insurance

Kay Cassel Equine Insurance
  • Established in 1981.
  • Staffed with horse owners and experts in their fields.
  • Also offers equine transportation insurance.

Click Here to Visit the Website

Click Here to Request a Quote

Best Equine Loss of Use Insurance

Hallmark Equine Insurance Agency
  • Horse must be competing and have a signed veterinarian form.
  • Includes an external loss of use policy, with similar guidelines.
  • Operating since 1983.

Click Here to Visit the Website

Click Here to Request a Quote

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Best Veteran Equine Insurance

Markel Insurance
  • Over 50 years of experience.
  • Coverage offered ranges from private horse owners to instructors to farriers.
  • Most comprehensive insurance coverage offered that can be customized to your needs.

Click Here to Visit the Website

Click Here to Request a Quote

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need horse insurance?

It depends on what kind of riding you do and your comfort level with risk.

If your horse isn’t used for competitions, your horse is simply a pet that doesn’t get ridden, and/or you have a sizable emergency fund, you may be comfortable without insurance. But, an accident can happen to anyone at anytime — even at home when you aren’t doing anything particularly “risky.”

On the other hand, if you compete, have invested heavily in your horse, and/or are worried about incurring large and unexpected expenses, you should at least request a few quotes.

Once you have numbers to consider, you can weigh the costs vs. benefits of insurance.

Q: Do I need horse trailer insurance?

You can usually get horse trailer insurance through your auto policy, just like you would for a boat trailer. Be aware that most policies are third-party liability only.

This means that if you’re in an accident, you’d be covered for any injury or damage to another person or property.

You would not be able to collect if your own trailer was damaged in an accident that was deemed to be your fault.

Horse Trailer Weights

Q: Do I need horse rider insurance?

If someone besides yourself is riding your horse, then it’s highly recommended to take out a personal liability policy to cover if something happens to the rider and/or your horse.

Most trainers (and farms) who offer lessons have some kind of policy on their horses that accounts for any damages or bodily injury.

Before you get on someone else’s horse (or let someone ride yours), make sure you know who will be liable for any injuries that may arise.

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Q: What about roadside assistance?

Calling AAA is great when you’re driving your personal vehicle, but don’t expect the same type of assistance if you’re hauling horses.

Rather, look into an equine roadside assistance policy through a leader like US Rider. In addition to vehicle assistance, they provide equestrian-specific benefits like:

  • Emergency Trip Interruption Veterinary Services
  • Emergency Lodging and Stabling Arrangements
  • Veterinarian Referral Services
  • Farrier Referral Services

Q: What is the best horse insurance carrier for me?

There is no one-size-fits all company that will suit everyone’s needs. You may even find that you need multiple companies for different types of insurance. For example, I have equine liability insurance and equine mortality insurance from one insurer, and a separate emergency colic surgery coverage from another horse insurance company.

Do a Google search for carriers in your area, as insurance it most often offered regionally. Contact a local insurance agent to confirm what is available.

Q: What information do I need to get a policy?

You’ll typically need to provide the carrier with a range of information like: 

  • Your horse’s age, sex, breed, and gender
  • Your horse’s use (e.g. pleasure horse, breeding stallion, race horse)
  • Your horse’s value
  • Health background (e.g. veterinary certificate, x-rays)

Be sure to ask for all your new policy details in return — including the policy period, claim process, insured value, and what’s included/excluded.

Q: Does regular pet insurance cover horses?

You’ll need to get livestock / equine insurance for your horses, not a regular pet insurance policy. Those typically only cover dogs, cats, and other domestic pets.

Know What to Ask

A few final words to the wise: Make sure the company and underwriters you consider are livestock specialists.

Check how long the company has been around. Read customer reviews and research available policies. Ask about the claims process, and check with your state’s insurance commissioner to make sure you’re going with the best in the business.

Once you’ve found the right company and policies for you (and your horse), you’ll be amazed how much easier you sleep at night. Horse ownership comes with enough risks without having to worry about how you’d afford a personal accident, property damage, and serious injury or illness. Paying for peace of mind is often worth it.

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About the author

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Marie A.

Though I love all horses, Arabians are my all-time favorite breed! I'm raising an Arabian filly and riding and showing my gelding on the Class A Arabian Circuit. I also enjoy going to horse racing and following the latest industry news.