Equine Insurance: Valuation

You want mortality insurance on your equine partner, but determining value can be tricky. Gretchen Ditto offers ideas to consider (and document!) when assessing value for a mortality policy. From EQUUS magazine.
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You want mortality insurance on your equine partner, but determining value can be tricky. Gretchen Ditto offers ideas to consider (and document!) when assessing value for a mortality policy. From EQUUS magazine.

Every horse has value. In choosing an equine mortality insurance policy you must consider the amount of coverage you actually need. You can insure up to 100 percent of the value of your horse, but obviously, the more expensive the horse, the higher the premiums will be. Rates for equine mortality insurance depend on several factors, including the horse's current value, age, sex, breed and discipline.

For most owners, value is the one variable that is the most difficult to determine. Basically the question you want to answer is "How much would it cost to buy another horse similar to mine?"

Insurers suggest that you factor in several considerations to arrive at a figure:

  • Purchase price. The price you paid is a good starting point for gauging value. However, your horse's worth is likely to change over time, so there are other factors to consider as well.
  • Training. The more training you've put into your horse, from ground manners to skills in your discipline, the more his value will have increased above his purchase price.
  • Competition records. Your horse's showring successes are a good way to substantiate his current training levels.
  • Breeding record. Successful offspring demonstrate the worth of mares and stallions. Higher values can be justified by the selling prices and performances of progeny as well as other measures of success, such as a stallion's fertility or a mare's ability to carry foals to term.
  • Appraisals. Another way to determine value is an evaluation by an equine appraiser. Many are breed-specific. To ensure an accurate appraisal, find a professional with a thorough working knowledge of your breed and/or discipline. Some insurers also accept evaluations conducted by veterinarians.
  • Market comparison. Even clippings from classified ads can help substantiate your horse's current value. Some insurers recommend keeping a file that shows the asking prices of horses similar to yours, especially if you don't have other documents to support an increase in value.If you decide to insure your horse for more than his purchase price, your insurer is likely to ask you to complete a value-substantiation form to justify your figure. Sometimes no additional documentation is required; however, if you file a claim you may find that the burden of proof is on you. Most agents recommend that you keep an ongoing file of relevant information, such as your horse's show record, training fees and breeding record. That little bit of planning can alleviate the frustration of having to scramble for the information later, during a time that's already emotionally difficult.Gretchen Ditto specializes in freelance writing and corporate communications. She lives in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where she does a little eventing in her spare time.

Planning on selling your horse? Go to Equine.com, the premier classifieds site of the Equine Network, to place your ad!