Telling your agent you have just brought home the horse of your dreams will send them into panic mode. Why is that?
It could be that your agent knows they will not be able to cover you adequately when you tell them you have a horse in the yard now. Some popular insurance companies will not tolerate any equine risk at all. Your new equine pal is breaking up a happy relationship and your agent is sorry to see you go.
What makes a horse so much more risky than say your average speed boat? Many homeowners have rather dangerous toys that are readily insurable. The answer lies in what’s called a “risk pool”. If a lot of people with homes, boats and such throw their risk of an accident together, the chances of one of them having a claim goes down in relation to all of them. Most of them will sail through a year with no problems, but the occasional person in the pool will have a wreck. So everyone pays a very small premium, compared to the amount of money that will be paid out to them if they needed it. With enough people in the same risk pool, the insurance company can afford to offer insurance and keep some of the premium for a profit to the company. When you throw someone with horses into the pool, then the risk changes. No one else has that risk, and no one wants that risk in the same pool.
Where do you find the right risk pool? There are a handful of equine insurance companies in the United States that insure the equine owner. These companies usually take on various kinds of equine risk, such as horse mortality insurance, commercial instructor and trainer liability and horse boarding and breeding. A couple of them will deal directly with you, the client. But most are set up to work through insurance agents. It’s the agent’s job to interview you and determine what your risk “exposure” is and apply to the company for you. It can be a time-consuming task. This long explanation is what is behind the anxious sighs and thoughtful pauses when your agent hears you joyously announce the arrival of your new pet.
This brings us to your new situation of hunting for insurance. The barn grapevine is a good place to start. Ask your fellow horse enthusiasts who they would recommend. If you don’t know anyone, go to a publication written especially for riders and horse owners. The companies advertising there are investing some money to try and find you too. The third place to check is on-line. Be prepared for the fact that an agent might not be anywhere near you. But if she lists herself as having a license in your state, then she can insure you.
Finding insurance for your horse operation can be difficult, but not impossible. Many times it’s more affordable than you would think. If you get with the right company that has your kind of risk pool, your premiums will be reasonable. Don’t let the rumor that you won’t be able to insure your dream, keep you from pursuing it. Insurance is available for everything from horse vaulting clubs to trail rides to equine assisted growth and development programs. Enjoy your horse, insure yourself against liability and ride safe!