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Types Of Insurance for Race Horses

What types of cover are available?


Bloodstock mortality insurance is the most common type of insurance purchased by horse owners. Mortality coverage is similar to human life insurance and is for the value of the horse, should it die. The policy will insure the horse for 100% of its insured value. Premiums range dependent on the discipline in which the horse participates and are based on a percentage of the horse’s value, which is determined by its original purchase price, training, and performance records. Bloodstock mortality insurance policies also cover humane destruction of the animal in cases of mortal injury or disease.

Lifesaving surgery  & Critical Care insurance is another type of insurance to consider. Any surgery required to save the life of the horse is covered to the maximum value of R80 000 per event plus a 7 day stay in hospital. Very important to note that the amount of cover provided differs significantly between different providers. “Per event” means that this could happen more than once during a 12 month period and your horse would be covered each and every time. As a horse lover, one never wants the decision of whether surgery should be performed to be a financial one i.e. Can I afford the operation? The life saving surgery option allows you to make your decision based on whether or not your horse actually needs the surgery or not.

If your horse kicks or bites someone and you want to avoid paying high litigation costs, you may consider obtaining Public liability insurance. This type of insurance protects you should your horse cause damage or injury to a member of the public. This option provides R1 000 000.00 cover per event. “Per event” means that this could happen more than once during a 12 month period and your horse would be covered each and every time. The cost of this is a mere R20 per month or R220 per year.


How do you decide between all these different insurances?

Find a reputable insurance company and a good bloodstock insurance agent. This person will know the value of your horse and assess what types of insurance are needed. Make sure you have your agent explain the costs and benefits of each insurance policy, and get your price quotes and coverage information in writing. Also, talk with fellow horse owners, get agent and company references. Choose a company that understands your needs and can talk to you about your horse with insight and understanding.


How much insurance does your horse need?

A rather sophisticated actuarial formula is used to calculate value and risks for bloodstock insurance. In principle, it operates much like human life insurance underwriting. Basically, an bloodstock insurance premium is based on the value of a horse. Other factors include the horse’s age and intended uses. Jumpers and eventers may be more costly to insure than dressage horses. Racehorses and reining horses can demand higher-ticket policies than trail horses. Speak to your insurance company about bespoke insurance for your particular situation specially if you are insuring a fair number of horses or horses of high value.Life saving surgery & Critical Care insurance protects the owner from massive surgical and hospitalisation expenses. If your horse should suddenly require colic or life-saving surgery or treatement, you would be relieved to have medical insurance available for these costly procedures.


How much will it cost to insure your horse?

The only way to get an accurate answer to this question is to fill out the appropriate form from an insurance company and request a quote. Premiums vary depending on the breed and age of the horse, its value, its use, etc. Extended coverages may be available for surgery & medical coverage, as well as loss of use, infertility, or named perils. Shorter term insurance is also available in special cases i.e. when a horse is being taken on trial, leased for a shorter term than a year, is in transit from one centre to another, etc.


Here are some questions you will need to ask the prospective insurance company before you decide to take out insurance from that company:


What is the oldest age at which I can insure my horse?

(If you have a senior horse, you may have trouble finding major medical insurance. Many underwriters refuse to write policies on older horses. In fact, they may deny policy renewals for existing client horses, once those equines reach a certain age.)

Kuda: We will insure your horse up to the age of 18 years. However if the horse has been insured with us since an early age, we will not cease insurance upon reaching 18 years.


At what age can my horse be insured? Can foals be covered?

(Some companies have a minimum age at which young horses can be insured. Insurance premiums also vary at certain ages.)

Kuda: We are able to offer insurance from birth, in fact we will even insure the fetus prior to birth.


If my horse has been treated for colic, can it be insured?

Kuda: Yes, we may be able to cover a horse that has been treated for colic based on a favourable vet report from the vet who treated the horse for the colic initially.


If my horse has required colic surgery, can it be insured?

Kuda: Yes, we may be able to cover a horse that has had colic surgery based on a favourable vet report from the vet who performed the surgery.


Is my horse covered during transport?

Kuda: Yes, all local transit is included in the standard policy. We also offer cover for international transit and quarantine for both exit from and entry into South Africa where required.


Can I get Life Saving Surgery or Public Liability coverages by themselves?

Kuda: No, in order to qualify for these benefits, your horse must be insured for Mortality insurance as well. However, we are able to insure a horse for as low a value as R20 000 which could then be linked to the above two options.


Are there any uses/disciplines which do not qualify for coverage?

Kuda: We have not yet come across a discipline that we are not prepared to insure.


What do I need to do to get immediate insurance coverage for my horse?

Kuda: There is no waiting period for your horse’s insurance. Once we have sent you a quote and you have accepted it and sent it back to us, your horse is covered. You then have a further 5 days to get all other paperwork and payment in place.


I purchased my horse a couple of years ago. Now that I have put some training into him, how do I determine my horse’s value today?

Kuda: The easiest way to determine this is to ask yourself what you would have to pay for another horse at the same level if you wished to replace your horse. We are able to assist you in estimating your horse’s value if necessary.


Is there a specific time limit for reporting a claim under my policy?

Kuda: You need to notify us as soon as possible when a situation arises which will result in a claim. Thereafter you have 7 days to submit your claim to us.


How am I paid for major medical claims?

Kuda: We will either pay you and you can settle with the service provider or we will pay the service provider direct, it’s your choice.


How do I make a claim?

Kuda: You fill in the claim form, send us a copy of the vet report relating to the claim, send us a copy of the bills related to the claim.


What if I need to report a claim after hours?

Kuda: That’s no problem at all, we are available 24/7 via cellphone to assist you!


What kinds of questions should I be expected to answer when I am applying for an insurance policy?

Kuda: Your horse’s name, age, disciplines for which it is used, value of your horse, history of any prior illness or injury.


What will the insurance company require from you?

  • Bloodstock insurers, as a rule, require recent veterinary certificates and may also require confirmation of vaccinations before initiating coverage. They may ask for a vet to examine the horse and give it a pass of health and identification certificate.
  • The company will also want to know the horse’s purchase price and date, age, gender, colour, breed if known, registration, the discipline/s of work he is doing, where the horse is kept, who is responsible for the horse, and all your personal identification, residence, contact and banking details if you are paying by monthly debit order.


In conclusion, a savvy horse owner will consider all possibilities before signing an insurance contract. If you have any questions, ask your insurance carrier upfront. By buying health insurance for your horse, you will have the reassurance that, should something happen, your horse will be taken care of and you will be protected from high medical fees.