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Insurance and horses today Ask The Vet

A monthly column by Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Got a question for Dr. Grove? Send your inquiries to, and it could be answered by Dr. Grove in a future column. Dr. Grove is based at West Coast Equine Medicine, headquartered in Fallbrook, Calif., where he lives with his wife Kristen.

I by daniel h. grove, dvm

nsurance. It has become commonplace in today’s society. It has even been leg- islated into our lives with automobile

insurance and health insurance. The idea behind insurance is that many people make small payments into a large pot so that those who need the money for the insured occur- rence get a payout for said occurrence. Well, like almost anything you would like

to insure, our pets have insurance available. This includes horses. As medicine advances, it also becomes more expensive. Our pets have newer surgical techniques, advanced

imaging modalities, even cut ing-edge treat- ments. All of these things cost more and more money. Society’s view of how we feel and to what lengths we will go for our pets has changed greatly. The length to which we will go to save an animal’s life means we will most likely be spending more money on our animals. Let’s take a peek at what is avail- able to us to help mitigate the higher costs of equine ownership and also protecting the investment we make in these animals. Each insurance company will vary some-

what, but most have these common catego- ries.

Society’s view of how we feel and to what lengths we will go for our pets has changed greatly. The length to which we will go to save an animal’s life means we will most likely be spending more money on our animals.

1) Mortality—This

type of insurance protects your invest- ment. Should your horse need to be euthanized or dies unexpectedly, then this type of policy will pay out what the established value of your horse is at the time of underwrit- ing.

2) Major Medical—

This covers your more common issues that arise that are not part of the routine care of your horse, like that emergency colic sur- gery or the MRI to determine the cause

of the new lameness that has arisen. 3) Surgical only—This will only cover

specifi ed surgeries. 4) Loss of Use—This is for when your horse can no longer be used for the intend- ed purpose for which it was purchased. A career limiting injury or some other acci- dent that does not necessitate the euthana- sia of the horse. Aſt er you have an idea of what insurance

you want or need, you will need to apply to the insurance company of your choice. They will have diff erent requirements in order to fulfi ll the needs of the underwriters. It varies as to which types of coverage you are seeking and the value of the horse. For less expensive animals, it is oſt en just a ques- tionnaire you fi ll out. As the value goes up, the insurance companies need to protect themselves and the requirements increase. You may have to have your veterinarian do an exam and fi ll out a report to submit to the insurance company. Certain preexisting conditions may also be excluded. For exam- ple, if your horse had colic surgery recently, colic will likely be excluded. If you are like me, you may feel “insur- ance-poor” from giving insurance compa- nies money for things you never use, but when the time comes to decide if you can aff ord to do emergency surgery in order to save your horse’s life or send your horse for advanced lameness diagnostics and treatment, having paid a few hundred dol- lars a year and be able to say yes can take a very stressful situation and ease that stress somewhat.



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