All About Horse Insurance

Jennifer Rice, DVM
By Jennifer Rice, DVM on Aug. 29, 2023
Horse jumping cross country

Horse insurance should be a consideration for every horse owner. While it’s difficult to think about our horses becoming sick or injured, it’s important to keep insurance in mind as health-related events can be costly. Often, having insurance can help allow you to provide the care your horse needs without the burden of financial considerations.

What Is Covered Under Horse Insurance?

Horse insurance comes with several different plan options to consider with full mortality and major medical/surgical options being the most common. Unlike human insurance where all medical bills go through your insurance plan including wellness care, horse insurance comes in a variety of plan options.

Types of Horse Insurance Plans

There are several types of horse insurance plans that cover a wide variety of selections. Depending on your horse's lifestyle and needs, you can pick the plan or plans that fits the best.

Horse Mortality/Use and Theft

The cost to buy a horse can be quite high and the ability to replace him/her if something were to happen can be difficult. One of the most basic types of horse insurance are mortality/loss of use and theft.

Mortality insurance covers the cost of the horse, if the horse were to die or had to be humanely put to sleep due to an accident, injury, illness, or disease. This type of coverage can also cover in the event of loss of use–if the horse is no longer able to be used in the way she was intended. It may also cover theft.

Typically, the cost for this type of insurance is a percent range (average 2.9–3.6%) of the horse’s insured value. The insured value is usually based on the amount you paid for the horse, but this could change based on the horse's value which can increase based on their show record and earnings. Full mortality insurance is generally available for horses 24 hours of age up to 20 years of age but will be dependent on the specific insurance company and their policy.

Major Medical and Surgical Coverage

The most popular coverage that most horse owners will add to their mortality insurance is called major medical/surgical coverage. This insurance pays for covered medical or surgical expenses in the event that your horse suffers an accident, illness, injury or significant disease.

Colic Surgery Coverage

Colic is one of the most common emergencies seen today. Colic surgery coverage is a fairly popular coverage and is offered by insurance companies as well as some equine supplement companies such as Smartpak, Arenus, and Platinum Performance. Some supplement companies, like these ones, offer a complementary colic reimbursement as long as you feed your horse their gut supplement product, and provide annual wellness exams for your horse. You can have complementary colic reimbursement coverage from $10,000–$15,000. Colic surgery coverage through insurance companies can range from $2,500–$10,000 depending on the company and type of coverage.

Prospective Foal

This type of policy covers a foal (from utero) that is born alive until the end of the policy which is generally a period of time after birth. This coverage does require veterinary examination and ultrasound.  

Stallion Infertility

Stallion coverage typically covers reasons your stallion may become infertile or incapable of serving mares due to illness or injury. Broodmare infertility can also be a concern and a small amount of insurance plans may have this as an option, however it is not as common as stallion infertility insurance. 

Private Horse Owner Liability

Private horse owner liability is an option to consider for all horse owners to cover any third-party liability costs in the event of an accident. This type of insurance covers you should your horse damage property or harm someone. Incidents that may be covered with this type of insurance may include:

Bodily Harm

  • Kicked

  • Bitten

  • Stepped on

  • Bucked/fallen off

Property Damage

  • Vehicle

  • Trailer

  • Barn/structure

  • Fence

  • Stall

What Is the Average Cost of Horse Insurance?

The cost of equine insurance depends on the type of insurance and value of the horse. For example, mortality coverage for a horse insured at $10,000 on average is $290–$360 a year. While major medical insurance coverage could start at $200 annually and be over $600 depending on the specific plan.

How Much Will Horse Insurance Cover?

Similar to human insurance, some policies have deductibles or a certain percent of medical costs they cover. Generally, the major medical coverage will have a deductible and copay dependent on the plan. The deductible for major medical coverage may be as low as $200 but averages about $500 and copays can be variable based on the plan. It is very important to talk to the insurance agent to make sure you understand each policy coverage.  

It is also important to note that after a claim has been filed, you generally have a specific amount of time (could be a year or less depending on policy) for the coverage of this specific event/medical issue to be treated and medical bills sent into your insurance. After this allotted amount of time or at the time of the renewal for the next year, this medical claim could be written in as pre-existing and new claims may not be covered by your insurance for this specific medical condition.

Considerations for Finding Horse Insurance

While the type of insurance policy you choose is important, it is also critical to find the right company and agent for you and your horse. Some considerations when choosing the company and policy include:

  • Annual cost

  • Coverage, deductibles, and copays

  • Agent that is easy to reach and can answer any questions you have

  • Horse knowledge

  • Contact in case of emergency (24/7 availability)

Featured Image:

Jennifer Rice, DVM


Jennifer Rice, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Rice is a 2017 graduate from Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine where she specialized in Equine medicine. Since graduating...

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