Over 5.1 million horses died from colic in 2008, which was roughly 1 horse every 10 seconds. Equine colic is defined in a clinical setting as abdominal pain - but the source of that pain could be anything from a small blockage to a twisted gut. Depending on the severity of the colic, it can cost over $8,000 to surgically correct a gastrointestinal block, and some horses take over a year to recover from this procedure, if at all. In the blink of an eye, belly pain escalate to a huge vet bill and a questionable outcome.
While horses are very beautiful and strong, they are also surprisingly fragile and unpredictable. Your horse could accidentally cause property damage or injure a rider. Your horse can also get injured or sick, in in a worst-case scenario, need to be euthanized. If this ever happens, it's a very good idea to protect your finances with equine insurance. Equine insurance specialists can help you get policies to protect yourself from the unexpected.
- 24 horses, on average, die each week at racetracks in the United States
- 6,600 horses have broken down or showed signs of injury at tracks since 2009
- 3,600 horses died training or racing at state regulated tracks in the last 3 years
What Is Equine Liability Insurance?
Horse ownership can be a complicated business. It's very important to manage your risks on your horse farm, as well as for your business operations. When it comes to any business, the first thing you want to do is protect yourself fromthe potentially high cost of liability claims. Particularly when you are working with animals like horses that are interacting with people and property, it's important to mitigate risk.
Keep in mind that most general farm and homeowners insurance policies do not include commercial equine liability insurance. Some horse insurance companies may offer it as an option to add to your farm policy. Other companies might not have that option, and you'll have to explore purchasing a separate commercial equine liability policy, instead.
Commercial equine liability insurance is designed for those who work with horses on premises they rent or own. It is an ideal coverage choice for those that provide riding lessons or board horses, as well as those who race, breed or train horses. This coverage also protects commercial enterprises that stage clinics, horse shows or equestrian events, sell horses, rent horses for recreational activities, or provide team roping or penning practices. Here is an overview of protections offered by commercial horse liability:
- Bodily injury and property damage: Protects you if a third party is injured or if any public or third-party property is damaged
- Fire legal liability: Covers you if you damage other property as a result of a fire that you caused
- Medical payments: Covers non-employees injured on your premises
- Professional liability for trainers, riding instructors and clinicians: Offers protection for unintentional errors committed by horse-related professions
- Personal/advertising injury: Covers your business or advertising if you injure the reputation of another and face a lawsuit; includes slander, libel, and false advertising claims by competitors
- Products/completed operations: Covers any work you do if it causes damage or injury later on and also any products you distribute
- Legal defense: Offers you legal defense in the event of liability lawsuits
- Athletic participation: Covers limited athletic participation
Are There Other Types of Horse-Related Liability Insurance?
Many equine businesses will be able to utilize commercial equine liability, but others will also need additional protections. Here are some specialized liability coverages that may be right for you:
- Farrier liability: This coverage protects you if you are a specialist in equine hoof care. The policy includes general liability, completed trims/shoe setting, and property damage liability. It also provides some extra protections:
- Care, custody and control liability: This covers you if a horse you do not own is injured while in your care, control or custody.
- Equipment, tools and supplies floater: This add on covers your equipment, tools, supplies and inventory that is transported from location to location. Includes damage or loss, but some insurers will protect for theft as well.
- Show animal club or horse club liability: This is a property and bodily injury liability policy that enhances your general liability coverages. Obedience and confirmation classes are usually considered covered events.
- Spectator liability: Protects you if a spectator is injured or a spectator's property is damaged during a show or event.
- Volunteer as insured: Extends liability coverage to your volunteer workers during events and shows.
- Liability for equine recreational businesses: Businesses that use horse-drawn carriages or wagons, offer trail rides, or provide pony rides are protected with this policy.
- Private horse owner liability: Individuals who own horses but do not use them for business purposes still need to protect themselves from the costs of liability claims. There's always a chance that the horse could escape the fencing and harm someone or damage property that is not yours.
- Private horse owner liability coverage normally requires individual horses to be listed on policy.
- It is a good option for owners who have 10 horses or less.
- This insurance excludes all commercial activities, including giving riding lessons, trail rides, and commercial breeding.
What Is Equine Mortality Insurance?
You have invested a lot of time, money and resources into your horse. No matter if your horse is a show horse, a race horse, a work horse, or a horse you use as a breeder, you need a qualified equine insurance specialist to help you protect your investment. Adequate equine health insurance protection for any of the accidents, injuries, sicknesses, or diseases your horse may face is an important purchase for anyone working in the equine world.
Equine mortality insurance can cover a range of insurance options, including the following:
- Equine or horse mortality insurance: This insurance covers a broad range of perils that could lead to the death of your horse. Accidents, injury, sickness, disease and even theft are typically included. There is also a limited coverage that lists specific incidents, such as weather events, fire, drowning, or death during transport that can also be underwritten.
- Major medical expense: This covers the horse if it requires veterinary medical care or surgery as a result of accidents, injury, sickness or disease.
- Surgical expense: Equine surgeries are expensive, and this insurance provides for money towards surgery up to a certain limit after a specified injury, accident, sickness or disease befalls your horse.
- Loss of use: A horse that is not fit for its first use as defined in the policy because of accident, injury, sickness or death can be covered so that you don't sustain major financial losses.
- Stallion infertility: A stallion that cannot provide stud service as a result of impotence, infertility, sickness, disease, accident or injury can be a big disappointment to any breeding program, as well as an expensive loss. This insurance option helps cover you if a stallion in your breeding program does not produce as planned.
Optional coverages can be added to these main coverages as needed, including:
- Colic surgery expense: This specifically covers colic surgery expenses.
- Newly purchased horse: You can purchase coverage to extend protection to a new horse you buy.
- Increased mare valuation: This raises coverage limits for a mare that is pregnant to include cost of stud fee/embryo.
How Can I Cover My Horse Farm?
Horse insurance companies often offer horse farm insurance as a package of coverages with a liablity component that covers you and your horse enterprise on and off premises. Equine insurance specialists recommend policies like these to breeding farms, horse shows, racetracks, training farms, and riding lesson facilities. It also insures property, including houses and contents, barns, sheds, tack, equipment, owned machinery and livestock.
If you care for someone else's horse, you can add an optional coverage that covers you while the horse is in your care, custody or control. Other add-ons are available as needed, including:
- Disruption of farming: If barn or stable is inoperable due to an insured loss, disruption of farming insurance can provide some income to help you continue to pay bills and keep your farm going. You can also extend coverage to insure system breakdowns for computers, equipment or mechnical devices.
- Livestock coverage: This provides mortality coverage for the livestock you own.
How Much Does Horse Insurance Cost?
There are many variables when it comes to insuring your horse or horse operation. Your horse insurance cost will vary depending on the type and extent of your coverage. When you insure a horse, it is important that you work with an equine insurance specialist who understands and has access to all the different kinds of coverages from horse boarding insurance to racehorse insurance. A horse insurance company that can provide specialty coverage, like pony insurance and horse riding insurance is often the best choice for equine owners and managers.