Readers Respond: Preparing for the Worst

More than 1,300 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you buy insurance for your horse(s)?"

Equine Center

Results were as follows:

  • No: 614
  • Yes, major medical/loss-of-use: 248
  • Yes, mortality only: 163
  • I plan to in the future: 151
  • Yes, liability and/or specialty: 134

Many readers commented about restrictions encountered when attempting to insure their horses. Others told success stories of recoveries made possible by funds provided by policies. Some reflected on policies required by their living or boarding situations.

All comments submitted by poll respondents are listed below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Click here  to subscribe to this service, or e-mail Newsletter Editor Megan Arszman at marszman@TheHorse.com.  

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  • major medical and mortality
  • Trainers Insurance, Mortality, Major Medical, Loss-of-use & excess liability
  • my horse is very healthy and sound
  • i DID UNTIL HAD TO USE IT AND THEN ONCE TIME FOR RENEWAL DID NOT COVER ANIMAL AGAIN SO NEVER AGAIN
  • it paid for my horse's rehab
  • Required for where we live, close to main highway.
  • In event of the need for colic surgery.
  • rearing
  • mortality/surgery and liability my horse is worth it
  • I have mortality and surgical coverage on my TWH, can't afford it on all.
  • horses insured for mortality in order to get major medical coverage
  • unsure where to start
  • stallions are fine-human factors, acts of nature endanger.
  • I only have my 3 year old and weanling insured.
  • I insure with Blue Bridle. Very nice people and thank goodness I've never had to use the insurance!
  • I have in the past but not currently
  • We have 5, 1 w/ medical & mortality, the rest are just liability
  • just on the expensive one
  • But I've reduced his "value" as he's aged
  • just liability
  • Horrible they company refused to pay for a recent hospitalization for a hock problem.
  • nice site
  • too expensive
  • I spent $5,500 on bilateral eye ulcers, cause-unknown, horse ok now, months of doctoring
  • it's far too costly for as many as I have
  • when i can find one they don't advertise to find them
  • Dead is dead. If we lost a horse it probably wouldn't be covered anyway, so why spend the money?
  • It's a chunk of money, but a small price for peace of mind!
  • cant afford it for myself, but would buy it for the horses first
  • I've always had mortality/major medical. Never Loss of Use=too restrictive!
  • I have mortality, surgical, medical, theft.
  • I need advice on good plans.
  • It covers if someone else gets hurt on my horses
  • Mostly older, uninsurable horses
  • horse is too old
  • WE bought our horses for 900 and they are worth 100,000,000dollars to me
  • Major medical, mortality and loss-of-use
  • It seems I can't get mortality anymore as my horse is over 17 years old.
  • just ones that have too much in them to lose
  • Planning on SOON getting US Rider and Mortality (possibly loss of use on 1 out of the 4)
  • just for one of them, or would for a new one in order to cover me till i can get some value from the
  • Membership of the British Horse Society covers you for £5million public liability.
  • Only for 1 od my 2 horses - he is a well-trained reining horse and well worth the money spent!
  • The insurance is well worth the money. It gives you peace of mind that you know that you have some asr
  • I have major medical just as I would for a family member and also mortality.
  • At 20 years old, my horse is not eligible for insurance, but I would buy it if she was younger
  • I have 3rd party liability through my provincial horse council, plan on getting mortality
  • Great American - my experience with them has been superb!
  • I did but cancelled it this year.
  • Horses are too expensive to not insure & liability insurance is a must.
  • I am considering insurance for my show horse
  • I insure mine if/when they go away from home for training with mortality and major medical/surgical
  • I have my horse insured through Blue Bridle Insurance . Peace of mind :) great customer service
  • I take out Morality for the race horses and major medical is added to the mares, adding foal ins.
  • our stable requires we carry a 100,000 indemnity/liability policy for all boarders
  • Love to have it but the conditions and restrictions either make it unavailable or too costly 4 me!!!
  • Liability through USEF membership. Otherwise, too restrictive and costly
  • They tell me that my $500 BLM mustang is "uninsurable"...he's priceless at any rate!
  • not yet, but i should.
  • I have always carried mortality/major-medical insurance
  • liability coverage comes with membership to our provincial equestrian assoc. - cheap peace of mind!
  • I would if she were still young enough to be covered for more than just mortality
  • NO. OWN ONE SADDLEBRED AND TWO REGISTERED QUARTER HORSES. NO MILLION DOLLAR HORSES.
  • Only insure 1 of my 3 horses. He is a barrel horse and I couldn't afford to replace him without it.
  • Not worth the $ for reg. horse owner, doesn't cover what it should anyway
  • all of mine are fully insured. it has saved me big in the past
  • through Horsemen's Council of IL, membership open to all
  • Had Ins they canceled w/Laminitis & IR diagnosed
  • Can't afford it
  • Low cost compared to treatment or loss of a dearly loved partner no matter it's market value.
  • I have added mine most valuable horses onto my home-owners policy. Only covers accidental death.
  • My horses are used in riding lessons, and are covered in case they get loose.
  • My valuable show horse is insured, my pleasure horse and retired broodmare are not
  • I would, but cannot afford to at this time.
  • Major medical was too expensive - or my horse too cheap and too old when I took out an insurance
  • Ins. isn't for everyone; depends on horse use; value, budget, liability very important.
  • My horse's are to valuable to not insure them. They are family too.
  • Mortality and Surgical
  • mort and major med
  • I carry PreventiCare's colic reimbursement program, but that's all.
  • I insured my mare this February, had to make one claim. Insurance has paid for itself many times over
  • We carry mortality on our commercial mares and their foals. We purchase liability coverage for all.
  • It's free if you're a member of the Kentucky Horse Council
  • I only have insurance that will cover accidents on our farm from the horses
  • I did until the horse's age made the premiums outrageous. (18yrs. = $1150.
  • Mortality and Major Medical!!
  • It is a matter of economics as to what insurance I can afford.
  • I figure if I have the Mortality Ins, murphy's law will dictate that I won't need it! Hopefully!!
  • Third party & personal accident. i was refused full cover cos she is 15
  • After having a 4 yr old need bone scans, I'll always have full coverage!
  • Liability is the most important. You don't want to lose everything you own if someone sues!
  • bad survey set-up. I have mortality and major medical.
  • Value not enough to warrant it yet
  • I have looked into it but never purchased.
  • used to have it, maybe will again in the future.
  • I GIVE RIDING LESSONS AND HAVE TO KEPP LIABILAILITY
  • we all do now after a boarder in our barn had to cover colic surgery herself
  • Your survey doesn't allow for multiple answers.
  • Mortality and major medical.
  • For showing and home protection.
  • Not currently though, it has gotten expensive. I do have plans to buy insurance in the future.
  • PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY, CCC
  • for my show horse only
  • Not for the older ones, just the 2 we paid a lot for
  • I'm new to horses, did realize you could have ins for companion horses, never thought about it.
  • Not a common practise in South Africa, only for the rich
  • Have you ever tried to get an insurer to pay up?????
  • Past the age limit for major medical; mortality is unimportant
  • Mortality and major medical. Saved my horse!
  • The entire idea of "insurance" is a kind of pyramid scheme.
  • It's too expensive for backyard typical pet horse. Wish it were cheaper!
  • I buy mortality/colic/surgical. If you like your horse, loss use a waste. Markel paid on death.
  • It is incredibly reassuring to know I can afford any required medical or surgical care for my horses
  • can't afford it
  • As the quality of our horses increase we realize the need for insurance
  • We insured for mortality and loss of use until he exceeded the age limit :( Still would if allowed!
  • Mortality, major medical & liability
  • my horse needed emergency surgery.100% recovered and back to work. recovered ,now
  • have in the past, too many horses now to insure!
  • I finally found a stallion that when bred to my mare has produced a foal that surpasses both parents
  • Would if a) was cost effective for multiple horses like a "family" rate b) mthly $ fm payck
  • We now insure 4 of the 7 horses. The insurance has been great for a horses that had lyme's.
  • Too expensive.....
  • I have mortality and colic surgery insurance, but only on my herd sire.
  • I did, but horses are too old for insurance now. Otherwise, breeding animals--YES!
  • I have insurance on my young horse that I bred, but not on my 3 other horses.
  • It is very expensive when you have a lot of horses, I have 10 with 3 more on the way
  • Yes...Mortality and major medical. Do not get loss-of-use unless you want to see your horse die
  • Medical & mortality
  • My horses (so far) aren't high dollar, but may chose to in the future.
  • Mortality, Major Medical, Colic Surgery. In order to reduce the annual premiums, I have reduce the
  • can't afford it
  • Owe $8,000 to UCD for unpreventable surgery, It's hard to make a good call when you worry about $.
  • No, you need permission to treat or put down, I decide
  • Put mort. & major med. on warmblood. Thank God...he got EPM! Recommend to my clients. Safety net.
  • I insure them against accidental death
  • Mortality & Major Medical
  • Hard to obtain
  • I was told my horse wasn't worth enough to insure!
  • I bought extra liability, have $1M home owner's coverage, mortality, and colic surgery
  • The piece of mind it gives me is worth the price.
  • too morbid, jinxes good luck, a $700 horse is rarely insured. she's worth more to me than just money
  • She's too old.
  • I have six horses, but only the expensive show horse has insurance.
  • insure only herd breeding stallion, not financially feasible on the 18 others (on breeding farm)
  • I just lost a horse to colic and I plan on buying colic and major medical insurance asap.
  • had the misfortune to need medical this year thank goodness we had the coverage
  • I have major medical/surgical in addition to mortality
  • I have funds set aside in an investment that I can access if necessary.
  • I insure my expensive ones for mortality, medical, & Liability
  • Used to have insurance but increased premiums made it too expensive (Western Australia)
  • It's expensive but will be helpful in the event of emergency medical care.
  • I belong to OEF in Ont. Canada. it comes with membership.
  • major medical and mortality
  • Too old >15 years
  • Mortality & major medical on my show horse
  • yes, my horse is part of the family
  • No... but I should
  • Too many horses, some are just rescues, or retired. Insurance would cost more than any losses.
  • major medical & mortality
  • plus surgical, an option not listed
  • Horses are too old to insure.
  • I have mortality and major medical... No loss of use
  • can't afford it!!
  • When I graduate from college I plan to buy insurance for my horse.
  • mortality + major medical + liability
  • He is valuable only to me and could not be replaced monetarily.
  • full mortality on the stallion, "Named Perils" on the mares which is much cheaper
  • I used to - but I can't afford it anymore.
  • only for our grand prix horse
  • But I lost a $6,000 horse to EPM and wish I had.
  • I pay $200/yr mortality insurance based on $6000 value of the horse.
  • as rescues mine where too old when I got them to get med/surgical coverage
  • I think it's wrong for insurance companies to require Mortality in order to get Major Medical.
  • until the ins co's cut you off at the knees at age 16-what a crock!
  • I need to do research on different companies to feel comfortable about my choices
  • My horse is "retired" and any emergency needs will be visited.
  • mortality and major medical. no loss of use
  • My horses aren't hi $, I can afford major vet bills, I don't believe in colic SX
  • Yes, Mortality, Liability and Major Medical (but NOT Loss of Use.
  • Only Liability....just in case!
  • expense factor
  • I have Liability, Mortality, medical/loss of use, colic.
  • My Horses are too old to be insured.
  • Had planned to, but illness came before I acted.
  • Mortality, Major Medical and Liability
  • I used to when I was showing and traveling alot.
  • only bought for the most valuable horses. Thank God haven't needed to use it.
  • I used to, but the premiums increased so I dropped it.
  • Major medical/colic insurance saved my horse's life! Couldn't have afforded otherwise.
  • We buy major medical and mortality, did not see that as an option in the list.
  • Didnt provide a choice for major medical and mortality.
  • The companies try not to pay claims
  • ALL THE HORSES ARE OVER AGE 15
  • use to have insurance, then when something happened they would not pay unless it was a freak accident
  • who can afford it????
  • when our eventing horses go prelim we insure them
  • I do but the one claim I had to make was a nightmare
  • Just have a couple of backyard boys right now; younger additions may make me rethink this...
  • Had it - way too many hassles to make it worth the outrageous $$$ charged.
  • my mare is more fully insured than my house, my car and me!
  • 2 out of 3 horses are insured.
  • Insurance companies don't want to insure pleasure horses. Liability would be good to have.
  • Why new one's made everyday!!
  • I buy mortality and major medical - not loss of use.
  • I used to until they started excluding everything under the sun
  • It just makes cents.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care. She owns a portly gray gelding named Duncan and dabbles in several equestrian disciplines, with an emphasis on dressage.

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