It’s quite easy to make a list of horses that should definitely be insured: Olympic sport horses, million-dollar racehorses, elite breeding stallions, etc. For these horses’ owners, monthly or annual insurance premiums are nothing compared to the financial loss of the horse being injured.
There is also logic for buying insurance for seasoned hunters and jumpers, broodmares with strong bloodlines, or young, promising rodeo stars. While they may not be high-income earners, these horses represent years of time, effort, and investment. Losing them would be an incredible loss.
But where do you draw the line when it comes to horse insurance? While you can’t place a value on what a horse means to you personally, financial considerations should still play a role in your decision. Does your child’s 4-H horse require insurance? What about the Shetland pony that your kids learned to ride on or the horse that you trail ride on weekends? Does equine insurance make sense for horses that aren’t worth large sums of money?
There is no clear-cut yes or no answer to this question, but the answer is no in most cases. Many equine professionals use a dollar value to base this decision on; for example, you don’t insure horses worth less than $10,000. However, if you can afford insurance, there aren’t rules about whether you should or shouldn’t get it.
Fundamentally, most horse owners will agree on one thing: Every horse or pony should receive the health care that they need when they need it. This means ensuring that they have a reasonable quality of life and can remain pain free, even if their only job is to be a pasture pet.
Unfortunately, horse owners are sometimes faced with less-than-desirable decisions. These situations cause people to look at horse insurance for peace of mind. Here are a few examples:
Most of us love our horses enough that we would spend our last dollar trying to save them, even if it wasn’t financially responsible. The worst part is that sometimes, we spend the money and still can’t save them. This is what horse insurance is for.
If you want to be able to make healthcare decisions for your horse based on their needs rather than your finances, horse insurance can help you do that.
Do Your Homework
Many companies sell horse insurance, and it’s important to do your homework. In the case of a low-value horse (sale value, not emotional value), it is best to look carefully at your options and not over-insure the horse.
Some companies offer mortality policies and medical/surgical policies with low premiums but higher deductibles. You may pay a $1,000–$2,500 deductible if you make a claim but only pay $25 a month to hold the policy. This is a better option for most owners than more expensive, full-coverage policies. These types of policies are often called “emergency medical policies.” They won’t cover day-to-day vet care, but they will offer you peace of mind in an emergency.
Whether horse insurance is worth it is a question that only you can answer. An emergency policy can give you peace of mind in the event that you should need it. If you know that you would be unable to make a smart financial decision in this situation and would go broke trying to save your horse, it is probably worth looking into one of these policies. However, you should do your homework and make sure you don’t overinsure the horse.
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