Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Assurance of Insurance: Should you Carry Insurance on your Horse?

By Darlene M. Cox

Recreational riding and horse ownership has seen exponential growth over the past few years. Young and old alike enjoy horseback riding and are always looking forward to the next opportunity to throw a leg over the saddle and enjoy the special connection that exists between rider and horse.

Your horse, although a cohort and compatriot to countless hours of enjoyment, is a major monetary investment, regardless of his purchase price. Any seasoned horse person will tell you that the price for which you purchase your horse is just the tip of the iceberg when it is compared to upkeep and preventive care costs. Just as we protect other major investments that we have in our lives (vehicles, homes, businesses) with insurance polices, we can also protect the investment of our beloved equine friends.

There are several insurance policies available to horse owners, but the two most important are: Major medical/surgical and mortality (death).

The health and well-being of your horse is tantamount to your riding pleasure. Responsible horse ownership dictates that we conscientiously take the best possible care of our trusted equine partner. Those of us who own horses understand how expensive such care can be. Even preventive care (annual vaccinations, timely de-worming programs, teeth floating, shoeing, etc.) can be costly; however, when unexpected major health concerns arise, some will find themselves facing the difficult decision of spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars towards medical treatment for their horse. Major medical/surgical insurance, which covers veterinary costs for accident, injury, illness or disease, will eliminate the heart-wrenching decision an owner makes when evaluating a major monetary loss (medical bills) to his horse's life (euthanasia). Before the availability of major medical/surgical policies, the necessity of colic surgery (with costs exceeding $4,000) all but clenched the horse owner's decision to euthanize their horse or face a major financial burden. The cost of insurance is minimal when compared to the expense of a major surgery or illness.

Many have had the emotion- laden heartbreak of losing a horse to death. Our losses are huge, both emotionally and financially. Gone from us is that special four-legged friend with whom we spent countless hours, and we grieve in our hearts for that loss. The financial impact of our loss is great as well when you factor in the purchase price of your horse, the care and upkeep, training, etc. that you invested into him. Investing in mortality insurance policy will protect you against the financial loss is your horse dies and will provide you with a way to recoup the money you had invested in your horse. Receipt of the benefits from a mortality policy may well be the financial resources you would need to find a suitable replacement for the horse you just loss.

We do not hesitate to protect ourselves from major financial loss related to the life and health of a loved one; therefore, we carry medical and life insurance on ourselves, spouse, or children. Protecting our financial investments that happen to be grazing in the field makes prudent sense as responsible horse owners. There are many insurance companies that carry horse-related insurances and can provide cost-free quotes. Investigate for yourself and determine if adding insurance coverage on your horse may be an option for you. It would be good to know your financial investment was well protected at trails end.

Happy trails!

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