How much is your horse worth
Before you write down a number, think for a minute. One of the most important steps you can take to make your insurance experience run smoothly is to insure to value
Start with the purchase price and add on value only if you’re able to substanitiate it. Insurance is not an instrument to make money, but a safeguard to put you back where you were before the loss of your horse.
Good insurance companies will work with you. But ultimately the legwork is up to you. Horse owners need to keep in touch with what the market is. Reassess your horse’s market value every time you renew the policy. Talk to a trainer, look around at local shows, keep an eye on advertisements, or hire an equine appraiser.
Mortality insurance is easy to buy these days. Some companies require a documented valuation before the policy is written, and require further documentation if you seek to increase the amount for which your horse is insured.
If you then have to file a claim, the value is already established.
But other companies are more likely to do the stringent valuation check at claim time. Whilst most underwriting companies will ask detailed information on your horse and seek justification for the amount you’re insuring for, you may not have to produce a bill of sale or other hard evidence at application time.
But come claim filing time, you’ll need to produce some evidence that your horse is worth what you thought. Because no matter what the premium you’ve been paying, the insurance company will pay the horse’s actual value. Trouble might arise if you buy a horse for say $15,000 and feel so sure it’s going to become a national champion in your sport within the year that you insure it for $100,000.
If the horse needs to be put down before it has begun to prove itself, you’re probably only going to receive the $15,000 worth you can prove even though you’ve been paying premiums for $100,000.
Most insurance companies recommend you keep records as you go along, to save yourself hassle in the long run. A bill of sale, cancelled cheque, or other proof of purchase price will serve as evidence.
You should also keep track of training expenses, show ring performance, breeding performance, or any other proof of your horse’s increase in value. Then adjust your policy amount up or down each year as necessary, to reflect your horse’s current value.