Tips On Buying Equine Insurance
When you open the typical equestrian magazine, you will notice ads from various insurance agents from around the country, each touting a corny catch phrase like “we know horses!”. So, how do you wade through the ads, and know which agency is right for you? Here are a few simple tips to help you make a well informed buying decision.
- It is a little known fact that the insurance agent (individual) and the agency (business entity) both must be licensed in the state where you reside. If contemplating an out-of-state agency, check the Department of Insurance web-site to verify that both hold active licenses in your state. (https://www.insurance.ca.gov/0200-industry/0070-check-license-status/index.cfm)
- Deal with an independent agency that represents numerous mortality companies. In mortality insurance, “one size does not fit all”, and one company can not respond to all the different circumstances. Especially as your horse ages, rates will change and the availability of coverages may vary. Let an experienced, independent agent “shop” for you to find the best value from among several carriers.
- Select a financially sound insurance carrier (ie: an “A” rating or better), and an agency that has been around for awhile. Experience does matter, as well as our ability to steer you away from less reputable carriers. Stick with the experts. When buying equine insurance, deal with a specialty agency, not a main street agent trying to be a “jack-of-all-trades”
- Never, never, never shop for the cheapest mortality rate! The rate by itself is meaningless. Unlike many other lines of insurance, mortality policies are not standardized. Each carrier will have unique nuisances that should be reviewed and considered. Determine what your needs are, then evaluate the bottom-line cost to you, and the coverages that are included.
- Have a realistic, predetermined value of your horse in mind when contacting an agent. Companies do have guidelines to assist in valuations, but we work backwards. Knowing your desire allows us to help you to find documentation to back up your request. But remember, insurance companies do not insure speculation, emotional value, or create a situation whereby you could profit by your horse’s demise. Insurance companies want to help protect your actual investment.
- Never hesitate to ask questions of an agent, especially when it comes to insurance terms and conditions. These days, I see all kinds of bad advice on social media from non-licensed, self proclaimed experts. Go to the source if you need information or clarification.
- Know the difference between an “agreed value” policy, and a “fair market value” policy. The potential claim settlement amount could be substantially different. The more you know about what you purchase, the greater chance you have of being a satisfied customer.
- Finally, once you receive your policy, take a few moments to read it. Most policies are rather brief, and written in easy to understand language. Know the policy conditions, and how to respond in the event of a claim. Don’t jeopardize your coverage by failing to adhere to the contract you have made with the insurance carrier.
West Coast Equine Insurance Services
PO Box 71365
Springfield, OR 97475
Fax: (541) 787-4862