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Horse Insurance

We’re big proponents of pet insurance at CLH, and as we discuss in our Adding Pet Insurance podcast episode, pet insurance explicitly applies to domestic dogs and cats.  However, there is a contingent of Missourians who own animals that don’t fall into the classifications set forth in a standard pet insurance policy.  While plenty of animals comprise the group falling outside the aforementioned framework, the animal we want to focus on is the horse.  

Insurance coverage for horses can vary widely based on what it’s being used for, how valuable it is and whether or not the owner needs liability coverage in the event the horse causes an accident or injury.  If your horse stays on your property and you're the only one to ride it, your homeowners policy might cover it.  If the horse provides any sort of professional or financial gain, one would be wise to seek out additional avenues to protect the asset.

According to an article on Equo, a mobile app revolutionizing the way horses are transported, The Horse Industry by the Numbers tells us that of the 9.2 million horses in the United States, “3.91M are used for recreational purposes, 2.72M for showing, 1.75M for other activities including farm work, rodeo, polo, police work etc. and 840K are used for racing.  With an estimated 281,000 horses in Missouri, the Show Me State ranks 7th in horse population behind Texas, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Ohio.   The horse industry’s impact on the gross domestic product is estimated to be around $101 billion dollars and with that much money exchanging hands, there are bound to be insurance needs. 

While there may be fewer race horses on average, the attention they receive from events like the Kentucky Derby (along with the monetary benefits they can bring from winning) make this class of horse an attractive one.  The insurance market for this class of horse is an interesting one though, to say the least.  According to a Rough Notes article from 2006:

The insurance market for race horses is elite and restricted when considering the number of races and the high monetary values associated with them.

Owners of a top horse … might pay premiums amounting to 4.5% to 5.5% of the value of the horse, so a $10 million policy could cost around $500,000 a year.

Muirfield Insurance of Lexington, Kentucky, is one of the largest equine insurance brokers in the country. The agency’s president, Michael Levy, told Rough Notes that the primary coverage for race horses is all-risk mortality (ARM). “There is no coverage for loss of use for a race horse,” he said. “The coverage is for sickness or accident that results in a horse’s death. Writing loss of use coverage on a race horse just wouldn’t be good business, considering the potential for loss that exists. Medical insurance is available for race horses once they are retired from racing. But while the horse is still performing as a racer, there is no medical insurance available.”

For those willing and/or able to secure the all-risk mortality policy, an endorsement is usually added to insure the thoroughbred’s ability to breed since this is where the horse’s greatest value lies.  Consider American Pharoah, winner of the American Triple Crown in 2015 (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) and first to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing by also claiming victory in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic, whose stud fee in retirement is said to be $200,000 for every healthy foal, according to CNNMoney.  For a horse pulling in that fee and, “mating with two to three horses a day, seven days a week” one can quickly do the math to see just how much American Pharoah is worth to the horse racing community and insuring against the untimely death of such an asset seems paramount.  Joe Brown Nicholson, owner of Nicholson Insurance Agency, offers a guess of, “between $20 million and $30 million” when asked for American Pharoah’s estimated value by Paulick Report.

So whether you run a business dependent on horses, utilize them on your farm, own and ride one for your own pleasure, or are chasing the dream of owning the next American Pharoah, equine insurance, like most coverages, can be tailored to fit your specific needs and the specifics of the situation the horse will find itself in.

Feel free to impress your friends with this new knowledge while sipping mint juleps in your seersucker suit or derby hat at your next Kentucky Derby party.  And if you need event coverage for the party, we'd be happy to assist there too!

As always, if you have any questions about your policy or just want feedback regarding other coverages you’ve been considering, feel free to call us at 636.391.0700 where we have agents and customer service representatives ready to speak with you, or you can send an email to questions@clhins.com, or even chat with us on our website, clhins.com.  

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