Posted 24-Feb-2020 20:13:02
Category: Broadstone Equine

Horse Mortality Insurance

Humane Destruction - A Common Source of Confusion

Horse people are by nature a pretty optimistic bunch--somewhat of a prerequisite considering the nature of our sports. So, it’s understandable that most of us spend as little time as possible pondering the possibility of our horses being injured or dying.  Not a bad idea considering that a pasture accident, a bad step while training, a trailer accident, or a serious colic are just a few of the worrisome scenarios that could keep us up at night if we let them.

Optimism is a wonderful thing, but so is realism, and dealing with these types of issues is part of horse ownership. Very few of us will spend years with our horses and not have to face a significant health scare. One way to alleviate a bit of the worry (and risk) is to purchase insurance. While no amount of money will make up for the loss of a beloved partner, or the stress of dealing with a serious illness or injury, knowing that your finances are secure can make the situation more bearable.

With that in mind, as an insurance agent one area of confusion I often come upon when talking to potential clients is the process under which a Full Mortality policy operates in the event of euthanasia, and specifically, the concept of humane destruction. 

While it is true that the average Full Mortality policy will respond in the event a horse has to be put down for covered humane reasons, it is important to understand that first, each company words their coverage slightly differently.  Second, and most important, is that no insurance company, to my knowledge, will cover in the event the owner decides to horse put the horse down for financial, philosophical or any other reasons other than humane necessity. 

When you take out an insurance policy, you are entering into a legal contract with the insurance company.  Each party promises to fulfill certain obligations. As a horse owner, one of your responsibilities is that you (or anyone you entrust with the care of your horse) will provide the horse with proper veterinary care and attention. In practice, this means that if your horse suffers from an injury, illness, disease, accident or other health issue, you will provide him with proper care from a licensed vet. 

For Example: You walk into the barn tomorrow morning and find your horse in the middle of a painful colic. Upon examination, the veterinarian’s recommendation is surgery – the horse is a good candidate and the vet believes that it is likely the horse will die without surgical intervention.  If you decide to euthanize the horse instead of pursuing this option, or you allow the horse to die without care, do not expect the insurance company to pay on the loss. 

Colic is just one example of countless scenarios--from a serious injury, illness, accident, or other health issue—where you could find yourself unexpectedly at odds with the insurance company if due to financial or other reasons you decide not to pursue the recommended veterinary treatment.

In these instances, it can be invaluable to have Major Medical/Surgical or Veterinary Services coverage on your horse, as these coverages will often step in and help with your more significant veterinary expenses.  With an annual coverage limit of $5,000 costing as little as $200 per year (not including the Full Mortality premium), and higher limits available possibly up to $15,000, this coverage can be a very worthwhile investment.

Despite all our best efforts when it comes to the care and training of our horses, they are still one of God’s most frustratingly delicate creatures.  Putting into perspective all of our time, money, and effort, and the fact that we typically insure all of our other major investments--truck, trailer, house, barn--adding your horse to that list, and making sure you have the appropriate coverages in place and understand how they work, is definitely something to consider.

More Information

For more information on coverages, please check our prior Blog entries, and visit the Broadstone Protect Your Horse and FAQ pages. To see about a quote for coverage, go to the Quote page. And please contact our office at 888-687-8555 with any questions.

**These blogs are for basic information purposes only, and do not constitute advice from Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency. Contact our office directly at 888-687-8555 or to speak with an agent for complete and current information regarding all coverages.