We welcome any questions you might have and will update this section to include responses to your questions and other frequently asked questions.
Insurance for my horse
- I am purchasing a horse and the current owner tells me they will keep the horse insured until their insurance policy is up for renewal?
You cannot insure something you do not own. So if you purchased the horse and paid cash, then the prior owner does not have any financial interest in the horse. Ownership/Registration of the horse should be transferred to your name. At the same time, the insurance should be placed in your name. If the horse is kept insured under the seller’s policy, it could mean denial of an insurance claim as they no longer have ownership and you are not named on their policy as the horse owner. Note: Would you keep a car insured under your auto policy that you sold to someone else? Equine insurance works the same way.
- At what age can my horse be insured?
A foal can be insured at 24 hours after birth with a satisfactory veterinary report confirming that the foal is in good health. In addition, the results of an IGG Test is required on a foal to be insured under 30 days of age.
- My foal has not yet been named. Can it still be insured?
Of course, the insurance policy will simply show the foal as the Unnamed Filly/Colt by Stallion’s name out of Mare’s name. Once you have named the foal, you can notify us and the registered name will be added to your insurance policy.
- How do I establish the amount of insurance on a horse I have bred?
With a homebred, the amount is usually based on the 2-3 times the stud fee of the Sire. However, there are many other factors to consider associated with the pedigree of your homebred, such as the show record of the Dam, other foals produced by both the Sire and Dam who have been shown and garnered championships, and actual sales of similar offspring.
- How do I determine the amount of insurance I should place on my horse?
Initially, you will start with your actual purchase price. Obviously, the value of your horse can increase over time and should be reviewed at least annually. If you purchased a open mare and have now bred her, an increase should be considered. More importantly, if your broodmare has produced offspring that have been shown successfully, certainly the value of your mare has increased. If you have sold progeny from your mare, this could also increase the value of your mare. If you have a performance horse, the amount of insurance should be reviewed often to include training costs and more importantly the show results as the value of your show horse will increase based on how it performs. As your performance horse continues its show career, you have more invested. Insurance should protect your financial investment in the horse, not only initial purchase price, but your costs to make your horse a champion.
- Will my horse ever be too old to insure?
Most breeds are insurable at the normal rates through age 14. Older horses in good health can be insurable, but the annual cost of the insurance will increase as they get older. Senior horses can usually be insured with Mortality & Theft coverage through age 19 or 20. The insurance rate does increase as they age, but there is an alternative policy available on senior horses providing limited insurance for death from an accidental injury and named perils, such as fire, lightning, windstorm offered at a more affordable rate.
- What do you recommend I do about insurance on my senior horses?
We suggest you think ahead. If you have a senior broodmare who has been one of your top producers, perhaps you should retain one of her fillies to replace her in your broodmare band. Obviously this is not a full replacement of the older mare, but neither is the insurance proceeds. Your younger mare will be less costly to insure.
- I am looking for only Medical Insurance for my horse.
The Major Medical/Surgical insurance available on horses is an endorsement to the Mortality & Theft Insurance Policy. Stand alone major medical/surgical insurance is not offered by any equine insurance market.
- I have a limited budget to spend on insuring my horse, but really want the Medical/Surgical Insurance. What options do I have?
We offer various major medical/surgical annual limits for your consideration. However, in most insurance programs, the major medical/surgical annual limit cannot exceed the mortality sum insured. As mentioned earlier, certain information is required to establish the amount of insurance on your horse. If a market value of your horse can be justified at $7,500 Mortality & Theft, then you can also purchase a Major Medical/Surgical annual limit at $7,500. The annual policy which will also include coverage for emergency colic surgery at a $4,000 annual limit, will generally offer the most protection at the least cost.
- Why should I purchase surgical or major medical coverage on my horse?
Since the mortality insurance policy requires that you do whatever possible to maintain the health of your horse, you could possibly be faced with unexpected expenses if your horse requires expensive medical treatment or even surgery as a result of an injury or illness. The surgical and major medical endorsements help cover these costs.
- I have been comparing insurance costs with various agents and the quotes have been about the same. Should I just go with the “cheapest” price?
CHEAPEST IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER! There are many differences, especially with regard to the Major Medical/Surgical coverage. You need to be prepared to ask certain questions and except sufficient answers. What deductible will apply to any major medical claim? Are there any Co-Pay provisions? (Company pays 80%/You pay 20%) Are there any Sub-Limit provisions? (Limit on amount to be reimbursed for diagnostics, shock wave therapy) What happens if my horse requires continued Veterinary Treatment at the expiration of my current policy? How long will the insurance pay? Many equine insurance companies only have a 30-90 extension period at the expiration of your policy for continued reimbursement of a major medical/surgical claim. The insurance offered through Smith-Embry will continue to reimburse you for veterinary expenses related to an injury, illness or disease under the 12-Month Extension Clause of your policy or until your horse has fully recovered or you reach the annual major medical/surgical limit of your policy. The extension period for non-surgical lameness is 6-months from the date of the occurrence causing the lameness. The Extension Clause is subject to reporting the claim during the policy period during which the incident occurred and renewing your insurance with us.
- Will the Major Medical insurance pay for annual check ups by my Veterinarian?
The Major Medical/Surgical insurance provides reimbursement for veterinary medical treatment or surgery required for your horse as a result of an injury, illness, disease sustained during the policy term and reported to us during the policy term. This insurance is not a wellness policy and under the terms of the insurance, the horse owner must take steps necessary to maintain a healthy horse.
- If my insurance policy includes the Emergency Colic Surgery coverage and my horse only requires medical treatment for colic, will I have coverage?
The emergency colic surgery endorsement provides coverage only if surgery is required for the colic incident. If your horse requires medical treatment even at a veterinary clinic or hospital, but surgery is not necessary, then you would need to also have the major medical endorsement as it provides coverage for veterinary medical expenses with or without surgery being required.
- My horse requires colic surgery, but the annual limit on my policy is only $4,000, but the costs exceed this amount. Will the add'l expenses be covered?
Yes, if a colic surgery is required, the veterinary charges related to the surgery are first paid out of the Emergency Colic Surgery annual limit. The additional expenses would then be reimbursed out of the Major Medical/Surgical Endorsement limit of your policy.
- What do I need to do to get immediate insurance coverage on my horse?
It’s simple! Complete the Livestock Mortality Application/Health Statement included in the forms section of our website (horses over 30 days and with a sum insured at $50,000 or less) and submit to us with premium payment. The insurance will be placed upon our receipt of the fully completed documents.. For foals under 30 days old and horses to be insured at greater than $50,000 a Vet Exam is required and those documents are also available in the forms section of our website.
- What should I do if my horse is sick or sustains an injury?
Notify us immediately. You can contact Smith-Embry Insurance Associates or call our Claims Adjuster direct. The Claims Office is available 24/7 and we include their direct phone number with your insurance policy.
- What information should I have available when reporting a claim involving my horse?
Of course, the name of the horse requiring medical attention is needed. Also, if you can provide the symptoms or injury your horse has sustained. We will also need the name of the Veterinarian who is attending to your horse with his phone number. If your horse needs to be transported to an equine clinic or hospital, the name of the facility and their phone number should be provided as this will give us with the information needed to make contact with the attending veterinarian as quickly as necessary.
- My horse required multiple treatments at 2 different facilities. How do I account for expenses under the major medical/surgical insurance?
You will just need to submit all of the veterinary expenses to us as soon as you have them. We will also request a report from all veterinarians who have attended to your horse. This report will provide us with the vet’s diagnosis and recommended treatment. Once we have the vet invoices from you and the report, we will reimburse you for the covered charges less the applicable major medical/surgical deductible. You are responsible for paying your vet. We will reimburse you.
- How long does it take for me to receive a check for my claim?
Once we receive the vet invoices and the vet report, usually a check will be issued to you within a couple of weeks. Our claims are paid quickly once all of the information is received.
Equine Liability Insurance
- As a horse owner, why do I need a special liability policy?
If you do not own a farm, your homeowner’s insurance policy will usually only provide personal liability protection. The additional risk from your ownership of a horse may not be covered under your homeowners policy. The horse owners liability policy provides liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by your horse not only at the farm where it is boarded, but off premises during a trail ride or at horse shows.
- If I am providing riding instructions on my farm, what additional insurance coverage should I consider?
If you have a Farm Owners policy, make sure that Commercial Equine Liability coverage is included. If you only have a homeowner’s policy, it usually will not provide liability protection for your horse business. Should one of your students sustain an injury, you could be held legally liable.
- I provide board for a few non-owned horses but I only charge them a minimal cost to keep them. What insurance should I consider?
Even though you only have one or two non-owned horses on your property, there is still a liability risk involved and in essence, no matter what you are charging, this operation would still be considered a business. You need to consider the Commercial Equine Liability insurance to be properly insured. In addition, whenever you have non-owned horses in your care, the Care, Custody & Control Liability insurance is essential as it offers legal protection should action be taken against you by the horse owner for death or injury to their horse while under your care.
- Please provide some incidents as to why I should consider an Equine Liability Policy?
A gentle horse could spook during a riding lesson and the rider could fall off. Someone visiting your farm gets kicked by a horse during a clinic. You are leading your horse at a horse show and it breaks away from the lead and runs through a crowd or perhaps even a parking area causing damage to several vehicles. Even though this does not appear to be negligence on your part, a lawsuit could still develop for the injuries and property damage sustained. The Equine Liability policy would pay the defense costs as well as any judgment for damages against you.
- I have my horse with a trainer or at a boarding facility and they have an Equine Liability Policy. Would I be insured under their policy?
No, their policy only provides liability protection for them. If it is your horse that causes the bodily injury or property damage, you would more than likely also be named in any legal action for damages. It would then be up to the legal system to determine who was at fault. If you are the horse owner, it would seem that some of the legal responsibility would be on you. Remember the equine liability insurance also pays the cost to defend and would probably be less costly than hiring your own attorney.
- I am an Independent Riding Instructor and give instructions to students at several different farms. What type of insurance do I need?
You will need the Commercial Equine Liability insurance which can include all of the instructions you provide at several different locations. You would need to name each location where you will be holding lessons and can then provide the property owner with confirmation of your insurance.
- I plan to have a small Clinic on my farm, with a professional horse person conducting the clinic. What insurance will I need for this weekend clinic?
If you already have a Commercial Equine Liability Policy, then the clinic dates will need to be added to your policy. If you don’t have a Commercial Equine Liability Policy, then we can provide insurance for just the Event Dates you have planned.
- I plan to have some Day Camps during the summer for my students. What insurance will I require?
Again, you will need to have the Commercial Equine Liability insurance and if you have a policy, the Day Camps can be added. However, over night camps are prohibited so just have the students for the day and relax and plan the next days events in the evening.
- My boarders will trail ride on our property and I want to offer the same to non-boarders. Can I purchase insurance for trail riding for the general public?
Any time you open your facility up to the general public, you are getting into a risky exposure from a liability standpoint. You have no idea if the person wanting to ride has any experience with horses. The cost of the insurance for public trail riding is costly so you would want to see about the cost of the insurance, before pursuing.
- My Horse Club sponsors a show or two each year and we also have some members only functions. What insurance do you suggest for our Club?
We can provide an annual Horse Club or Association Liability Policy which will provide insurance for all club functions. If you have your show at an arena, the owner of the arena or property will more than likely require you to have insurance and name them as an additional insured.
- I am putting together a Horse Show for horse owner’s in my area. What do I need to do?
We can provide a one-day horse show event policy for you providing liability insurance during your show.
- What type of Liability Waivers should I be using for my boarding, training, lesson operation?
All boarders and all students should sign a liability waiver, releasing you from liability should an incident occur. You can have your attorney draw up a liability waiver or there are equine websites where you can find a waiver and design it for your horse operation. All equine liability insurance policies will require you submit a sample of the liability waiver you are using so you will need to have it for the insurance.
- Why do I need liability insurance when my State has adapted Equine Laws which I have posted on my property?
The State Liability Laws were adapted to protect the horse owner, but these laws and even the liability waivers you have signed, do not prevent someone from taking legal action against you for bodily injury or property damage. However, should an incident occur, presenting the waiver and proof that you have posted the Equine Laws of your State, could possibly help to determine the outcome and settlement of the lawsuit.
Farm Property Insurance
- Why should I consider a Farm Owners Policy instead of a Homeowners Policy?
The farm policy was specifically designed to provide the insurance coverage you need. It will cover your home (just like a homeowners), but will also provide adequate insurance on your barns and other outbuildings on the property including any tenant homes. You can insure your precious jewelry and art work under this policy as well as your farm tractors and equipment. It provides coverage for your personal and premises liability as well as liability associated with your horse business.
- My Homeowners Policy has a limit for Appurtenant Structures. Doesn’t this provide insurance on my farm buildings?
The limit for Appurtenant Structures on your Homeowners Policy will only provide insurance for structures that are solely related to your Main Dwelling, such as a detached garage. Many times the limit under Appurtenant Structures is not adequate to provide full replacement cost coverage on your barn, equipment storage or hay storage buildings. The Farm Owner’s Policy will provide full replacement cost on each farm structure. Further a Homeowner’s policy is Personal Insurance. Once you operate a business out of your barn or put equipment owned by your business in a storage building, those structures then become Business Property and need to be insured as Business Insurance, which the Farm Owner’s Policy will provide.
- I have my farm property insured with Farm Bureau in my state. Doesn’t that policy provide adequate insurance protection?
It depends on how the policy is written. You will want to make certain that each farm building is listed separately and the amount on each building represents the cost to rebuild or replace. More importantly, usually these type of policies are not providing liability insurance for your horse business or for your owned horses taken off the premises. Call us and we will be happy to review your policy or advise you what questions you need to ask your current agent.
- In addition to my Homeowners Policy, I also have an Umbrella Policy. Doesn’t this give me adequate liability insurance?
The Personal Umbrella Policy will only provide liability insurance over what is Personal, such as your personal liability and your personally owned autos. If you operate your horse ownership as a business, you need a business policy which is the Commercial Equine Liability Policy.