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The decision to insure your new horse or not depends upon three key factors:  (1) the amount of financial risk you are willing to assume,  (2) your financial well-being,  and  (3) the value of your new horse.

Before you can decide, it is important to understand the various types of insurance that are available.

A.  Named Perils ... pays for death or destruction, directly resulting from or made necessary by fire, lightening, windstorm, tornado, explosion, earthquake, flood, falling aircraft or their parts, collapse of bridges, accidental shooting, collision or overturn, theft, collapse of buildings, electrocution, attack by dogs or wild animals, collision by motor vehicle.  Rate is $1.00/$100 of value.

B.  Accidental death ... death caused by any external, accidental cause.  This would exclude all the above, as well as accidents such as a horse running in a field, breaks its leg in a hole, or horse breaks leg while loading into a horse trailer.  Rate is $2.25/$100 of value.

C.  Mortality ... pays for death due to sickness, or accident, or theft for almost any reason, so long as sickness was not present at time coverage was effected.  Rate $3.00-$4.50/$100 of value depending on use/breed.

Mortality comes with a variety of possible endorsements which include, major medical, surgical, loss of income, loss of fertility and either agreed values or actual cash value.

At Hilltop we have all of our horses covered via named perils, and have mortality on our horses that are not stabled at Hilltop. Since our show horses are covered for travel within the USA on our named perils, the only additional insurance we feel necessary is for International Travel.

Most likely this is your first horse and your first experience in the 'horse world', so you don't know what to do about this confusing insurance question that, in a way, involves gambling with money.  If you purchase a $3500.00 horse and have full mortality with major medical, your annual premium will be approximately $264.  Suppose your new horse gets colic and requires colic surgery.  If you have insurance, you pay a $300 deductible and the insurance company pays the vet bill.  This can save you $3000 in vet fees.   Unless you are in a very affluent financial position, the annual rate of 3.2% is only a small part of what it costs to keep a horse and may be a positive protective measure.

It is very important to be careful in selecting an insurance company and the type of insurance that best suits your needs.  One of my most valued professionals is our insurance agent.  How do you begin?  When you find the horse you decide to purchase, ask the owner if he/she is currently insured.  If the horse is insured, ask the owner if they are happy with the agent/company.  If the answer is yes, continue the insurance.

If the horse is not insured or the owner is not satisfied, the next professional to ask is your trainer/instructor.  Who do they use?

If you are still without a valued contact, go to a well-respected stable and ask them for leads or recommendations.  They will be happy to give you advice.

Now that you have found an agency/agent to contact, it is time for you to be an educated consumer.

Following are some suggested questions to ask?

1.  How long have they been in business?
2.  Ask them for names of those they insure, so you can call and check out what they are telling you.
3.  When you ask questions, are the answers short, clear, and understandable?
4.  What are the costs for the insurance you want?
5.  What is NOT covered in the policy?
6.  What are the restrictions in the policy?
7.  Do you feel the agent is helpful and friendly, or just a good salesman/saleswoman?
8.  Is the agent confident and forthright in the answers?

Once you decide on the agent and policy, ask for the application.   Ask the vet to fill it out when he/she does the pre-purchase exam for you (if horse passes).  This will save you time and money as  well as guarantee that your new horse will be insured for his trip to his new home.  Keep your policy papers where you can easily find them, and move on, enjoying your new companion!

If you board, be sure to advise stable of your insurance company name, and 24 hour telephone.  Most policies require prior notice to insurance company of surgery or euthanasia.



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