Are Race Horses Insured?

Following a dramatic showing at the Kentucky Derby, Barbaro, this year’s Triple Crown candidate, shattered his right hind leg and broke down just seconds into the Preakness, horse racing fans all over the country—and possibly the world—gasped in horror. To the uninitiated, it seemed hard to believe that the equine athlete, who had shown such heart, strength, and stamina in winning the Derby, would suffer such an unforeseen injury, casting doubt on whether the horse would ever run again, or even survive.

However, those who work in the horse racing industry are well aware that thoroughbreds are delicate creatures, frequently high-strung as a result of rigorous training regimens and frequently subjected to intense schedule pressures from their owners. As a result of the situation surrounding the breakdown, Barbaro’s tragic, unplanned injury made news.

And it’s no surprise that a Kentucky Derby winner, on his way to the Triple Crown and with a bright racing future ahead of him, falters in front of a crowd of over 100,000 people and on national television. Many other cases of race horse injury and even death, on the other hand, go unnoticed. For example, a horse named Lauren’s Charm died of a heart attack in the backstretch during a race at Belmont Park just a few days after Barbaro’s fall. This incident, like other cases of horse race injury and death, went mostly overlooked by the media.

Equine insurance companies are fully aware of the risks involved with horse racing. When you consider the amount of races and the high monetary values associated with them, the race horse insurance market is exclusive and limited. The global capacity for any one horse is estimated to be less than $30 million, which isn’t a lot of money when you consider that Barbaro’s worth could have topped $40 million had he won the Triple Crown. Furthermore, equine insurance for race horses is prohibitively expensive for some owners.

Experts in the field of racing point out that race horses are particularly vulnerable because they typically only touch one leg on the ground at a time when in “full run.” Most race horse owners, according to reports, cannot afford insurance. They also point out that the owners of a top horse like Barbaro may pay premiums of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent of the horse’s worth, implying that a $10 million coverage would cost roughly $500,000 each year.

Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, were said to have purchased two forms of insurance on the prized colt: a mortality policy with a death benefit and a policy offering coverage if the horse is unable to realize his promise as a stud, however this has not been confirmed. All of the Jacksons’ veterinary bills appear to have been paid out of pocket.

Muirfield Insurance, based in Lexington, Kentucky, is one of the country’s leading equine insurance brokers. Michael Levy, the agency’s president, told Rough Notes that all-risk mortality is the primary coverage for race horses (ARM). “There is no coverage for a race horse’s loss of use,” he said. “The insurance covers a horse’s death due to illness or an accident.” Because of the potential for loss, writing loss of use coverage on a race horse is simply not a good business decision. After they have retired from racing, race horses can purchase medical insurance. However, there is no medical insurance accessible while the horse is still racing.”

Dubai Millennium, who died in April 2001 from grass disease, has the greatest single claim on a race horse, according to Levy. The horse’s death resulted in a $36 million claim. When a wonderful stallion named Alydar kicked a wall in his stable, destroying his right hind leg, he had to be put down in 1990. Calumet Farm owners claim that the horse’s attitude was always unstable, which contributed to his leg damage.

Rough Notes asked Levy how the decision to put a horse down after a leg injury is made. Even though the owners possessed mortality insurance, which would have paid out in the event of the horse’s death, a significant effort was made to keep Barbaro alive.

“The accompanying veterinarian will make the decision,” Levy stated. “Whether or not there is insurance, if the veterinarian determines that the horse’s life can be saved, the owner must make every attempt to do so.” Medical expenses must be paid by the owner, but they are usually not excessive. Furthermore, horse owners develop a strong bond with their animals. They genuinely care about the horse and want to do everything they can to keep it alive.”

Although Levy’s agency specializes in race horses, there are other agencies that handle show or pleasure horses, and the insurance markets are vastly different in these areas.

Jorene Mize, the owner of the Jorene Mize Agency in North Fork, California, provides markets for horse boarding stables, guided trail trips, horse and riding organizations, horse trailers, personal horse owners, pony rides, and trainer’s insurance. Major medical insurance, as well as coverages for surgical operations and loss of use, are provided, unlike with race horses. Mize further claims that unlike race horse coverage, the insurance market for these equine hazards is unrestricted.

Mize’s foray into equine insurance happened by chance. She explains, “I was fresh out of high school and looking for work.” “I got a job at an insurance firm and decided to go out on my own after a while.” As a starting point, I had a book of business that included home insurance, trailer insurance, and catering trucks. But, because I had my own horses, I decided to include equine insurance in my book.

Mize says, “However, writing horse insurance is special and can be tough for a general agent.” “At the time, there were no educational courses available for writing equine insurance, and there still aren’t any, so I had to learn from the ground up.” I started asking insurance companies questions about horse insurance and got my education that way.

“I began to grasp what insurance companies want to write and what they don’t want to write in the domain of horse insurance,” she continues. “For example, most insurers refuse to write mortality insurance on horses used for commercial purposes, such as trail rides, pony rides, and other similar activities, because different riders put horses in stressful situations. However, there are alternative options.”

“Premiums will vary depending on the horse’s breed and age, its worth, its purpose, its location, and other variables,” she explains. “Mortality coverage is similar to life insurance in that it covers the value of the horse if it dies or needs to be killed, as well as colic surgery coverage of up to 60% of the horse’s value, with a maximum limit of $3,000,” she writes. “Extended coverages are offered to increase surgery and medical coverage, as well as coverage for loss of use, infertility, and listed dangers.” There are also various types of insurance to choose from. Personal horse owner’s liability insurance, for example, protects the owner if the horse injures someone or damages their property.”

Can you insure my reindeer? was one of the more bizarre queries Mize was asked.

“This came from a woman who had already insured numerous horses and then purchased some reindeer as a novelty with the intention of offering sleigh rides,” Mize explains. “At the time the question was posed, I was unaware of any insurance company that would cover a ‘wild’ animal for longer than a 30-day vacation period.” However, since then, I’ve found a firm that will insure elk, deer, camels, exotic livestock, tiny donkeys, and ostriches. To be honest, I haven’t written any of this stuff yet, but the demand for insurance exists.”

Returning to horses, Mize advises independent agents to think about whether their clients have horses that require coverage. “It amazes me that I work out of California and receive so many requests for equine coverage from all over the country.” I’m curious as to why those states’ agents aren’t considering equine insurance as a source of revenue.” *

How much are race horses insured for?

The type and amount of insurance coverage provided for thoroughbred racehorses is fairly limited in order to keep the horseracing industry on the level – and especially to prevent financially driven (and otherwise unjustified) annihilation of undesired animals. For example, an owner cannot be reimbursed for harm to or loss of use of his steed by any sort of insurance (save at some horse farms, as previously indicated). That has to be read again. Nobody can be held financially responsible in any way for injury to or loss of use of your racehorse, not the jockey, not the trainer, not the racetrack, not another horse or rider, not a stable hand, not a veterinarian (and not any of their personal or other insurance carriers) unless negligence or intentional harm is proven.

Furthermore, there is no set premium for any sort of racehorse insurance. The insurance company is not only looking at the horse’s “basic value,” but also the trainer’s background, as well as the moral character of both the owner and the trainer.

However, you and your trainer should consider a variety of insurance options to protect you and your “equine investment.”

This is the only type of “collectable” insurance available for your horse, although it comes with some restrictions. The most important qualification is that you must have done everything possible to save the horse’s life, regardless of cost, or you may not be able to collect on your policy. READ YOUR POLICY’S TERMS CAREFULLY. If anything is unclear to you, have it explained to you in detail by your broker, and negotiate a policy revision if you believe the policy is inadequate for your peace of mind.

Of general, the premium for racehorse mortality insurance is roughly 5% of the horse’s value, and IF you pay the correct amount in premium, you can be assured of recouping at least the market value of the animal in the event of its death or necessary destruction.

Your horse is covered by mortality insurance if it is lost, killed, or must be destroyed for any reason, such as during transit, poisoning, kidnapping, or severe injury or disease. Any unexplainable mortality or “malicious or purposeful injury caused by the insured” – i.e., slaughter for economic reasons – will be thoroughly scrutinized, and the claim will most likely be refused.

In death claims, post-mortems are required. They must be ordered by you, performed by a private veterinarian at your expense, and completed in a timely manner (i.e., as soon as practicable). Also, whether on the track or in the barn, “necessary destruction” is not a matter of your or your trainer’s discretion: you must have two licensed racing veterinarians certify – either before or after the horse’s destruction – that your animal could not survive its injuries or was in an unrelievable state of suffering. (You’ll need this proof not only for your insurance company, but also for the track’s official veterinarian, who will demand a thorough investigation into the death of any animal under his jurisdiction, whether it’s an exercise pony or a million-dollar stakes horse.)

A Word of Caution: Regardless of how much you cherish your horse – or how much you’ve been paying in premiums – the insurance company will determine the “market value” of your horse at the time of its death and may reduce your reimbursement. However, if you have been paying the premium on a lower dollar amount than your horse was worth, the insurance provider will not raise your reimbursement UP.

For example, suppose you’ve reduced the price of your horse and put it in a claiming race with a claiming price lower than the animal’s insurance value. If the horse dies as a result of the race, you will only be compensated for the fee you agreed to let the horse be claimed for. Clearly, if you’re dropping one of your horses in class (for whatever reason), you should seek from your insurance broker a corresponding reduction in your “amount insured,” and thus your premium.

Consider the inverse situation: if you have a horse whose class is skyrocketing (for whatever reason), but you’re paying a premium that corresponds to a lower class, the insurance company will not automatically “adjust up” to the horse’s value at the time of death (in other words, it’s a one-way road). Worst case scenario: you could have insured your two-year-old for $32,500, then raced him and discovered he was a stakes winner with (possibly) millions of dollars in combined racing and breeding potential – but if you hadn’t adjusted your premium on the horse since his policy was written, you’d only be able to recover $32,500 if he died.

In other words, the savvy owner and trainer should re-evaluate the mortality premiums paid on all of their horses on a regular basis.

Another word of caution: most mortality policies expressly state that the owner or trainer must tell the insurance provider or its agent if the horse’s health or condition changes dramatically. Unreported abnormalities or illnesses might have a negative impact on – or even cancel – a mortality insurance claim.

A fascinating point to consider is that the higher the horse’s value, the lower the premium for his mortality insurance may be. In truth, this is logical: if you own a stakes-caliber runner, the likelihood is that the horse will be observed more closely, better cared for, and treated with greater caution… implying that the insurance company’s risk will be reduced, and the price will be cut proportionately.

As previously stated (see “Claiming”), the person who wins the draw in a claiming race assumes full responsibility for the horse they are claiming as soon as it exits the starting gate. If the horse must be destroyed as a result of injuries sustained during the race (within 24 hours or 48 hours, depending on the terms of your policy – and with cause confirmed by two licensed racetrack veterinarians), the claiming owner must still purchase the “dead” horse for the pre-agreed claiming price, as well as pay the cost of having it removed from the racetrack. There is nothing “automatic” or even likely regarding payment in this scenario in terms of insurance. IF you already have a horse (or horses) at that track that are covered by an annual policy, check with your broker to see if your policy covers any additional horses you might buy unexpectedly (i.e., claim). If not, you should consider purchasing claiming insurance before submitting a claim on a new horse. One issue: you might not be able to obtain it. In the world of equine insurance, claiming insurance is the biggest loser. It is only offered as a courtesy to owners who already have big stables covered, or to trainers who have a good track record and good ties with insurance carriers. If you can get Claim Insurance, it will only cost you.85 percent to 1% of the claiming fee for the horse (obviously, a good investment).

This sort of insurance is less expensive, but it usually only covers risks such as “fire, windstorm, lightning, and transportation.” Any loss resulting from disease or damage (e.g., colic, broken legs, cancer – anything “medical”) is not covered.

On average, the cost of mortality insurance for racehorses is around 5% of the horse’s value.

For the time being, racehorses are not covered for surgical or medical expenses. Medical insurance for breeding stock and young horses not yet in training is available.

In a litigious culture, this form of policy is becoming increasingly common. It defends you, the owner, against claims made against you or your estate by “third parties” claiming property damage or bodily injury caused by your horse. For example, if a fan stands too close to the horses in the saddling ring and is kicked by one of yours, he is likely to sue you for damages, however unjustly. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover such a claim, and neither would the insurance policy of the facility where the incident occurred (i.e., the racetrack, farm, or training barn).

“Legal Liability Insurance” is purchased in increments (up to $2 or $3 million), with premiums based on the number of horses insured at any given time:

A year’s worth of liability insurance for 1 to 5 horses costs around $750.00. A year’s worth of coverage for 6 to 10 horses would cost around $1,000.00.

For 1-5 horses, a $300,000 liability would cost around $350.00 per year; for 6-10 horses, it would cost around $500.00 per year.

This type of insurance is clearly worth looking into if you have any significant personal assets that are vulnerable.

California has been able to keep the cost of workers’ compensation insurance for horsemen under control thanks to a well-planned subsidy scheme. The program is supported by statutory funds, trainer donations, and the purse accounts at various sites across the state. The California Thoroughbred Business League (CTBL), which is made up of racing associations, horsemen’s groups, and fairs, is in charge of supervising monies used to help California horsemen with workers’ compensation. Finish Line Self Insurance Group, which has been handling workers’ compensation for Thoroughbred horsemen since 2011, provides insurance.

Are horses insured?

Horses require specialized medical attention, which can be costly. You’ll need a good insurance policy if your horse becomes ill or injured. This type of insurance can help you save money on veterinary expenses and drugs. It works in a similar way to human health insurance in that it covers some or all of the expenditures associated with one’s health.

Is it a legal requirement to insure your horse?

Horses do not require insurance to be on the road, but cars do. No, there is no legal obligation for a horse or rider to have insurance in order to utilize roads. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an excellent concept.

Public liability cover

Although it is not a legal requirement, the British Horse Society (BHS) “strongly advises riders to take out public liability insurance, as if a horse in their care causes property damage or injury, they may be liable to pay considerable costs.”

What insurance do you need for horses?

Where do you draw the line, though? Is it prudent to insure your “weekend warrior,” who wins a few ribbons at local shows every summer? What about your trail horse in the backyard? Or the Shetland sheep of your daughter? Does equestrian insurance make sense for horses who aren’t worth a lot of money or may never be? According to Jorene Mize, an independent insurance agent from Lancaster, California, “many individuals would answer yes.” “You’d be surprised at how many $2,500 horses are insured.” Regardless of the purchasing price, a horse is a significant financial investment. Maintenance and upkeep are also costly, and consumers want to protect their investments.”

The variety of equine insurance policies offered to horse owners, ranging from loss of use to foreign transit coverage, might be overwhelming. Some insurance companies even provide coverage for a horse owner’s tack. The list of possible policies for those who run equine enterprises is considerably longer: liability for trainers, property and liability coverage for farm owners, and even fertility insurance for stallions and mares.

The most common types of equine insurance coverage obtained by most horse owners are mortality and major medical policies, which are similar to life and health insurance for humans. In general, if a horse dies, mortality insurance reimburses the owner. The owner may receive money for the entire or partial worth of the horse, depending on the policy. Medical and surgical insurance coverage pay for the costs of treating an injury or illness. Although an owner can buy mortality insurance on its own, medical and surgical insurance is usually only offered in connection with mortality insurance.


An objection is a claim of foul made by a rider, patrol judge, or other official after a race has been completed. An inquiry is a request made by a government authority.

An OCD lesion is a cartilaginous or bony lesion that develops as a result of a developmental failure.

1) When a race result is confirmed, a notice is displayed. 2) A racing official is denoted by this term.

Off-track betting refers to wagering at legalized betting shops that are usually handled by racetracks, pari-mutuel management organizations, or, in New York State, by independent corporations chartered by the state. OTB wagers are frequently mixed along with on-track betting pools.

Mineral oil is administered through a nasogastric tube to relieve gas or pass a blockage. Preventative procedure that is commonly used in long van rides to avoid impaction and subsequent colic. See also colic.

An immature knee is a condition in which the physis of the knee has not closed in young horses. It is a marker of long bone growth in two-year-olds and is often used to characterize the state of the physis just above the knee.

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that causes the articular cartilage of a joint to wear away over time. See degenerative joint disease for further information.

When viewed from the side, an over-the-knee leg appears to have a forward arc with its center at the knee.

An elastic band that wraps entirely around a horse and over the saddle to prevent the saddle from slipping.

overlay: A horse that is being backed at a higher price than his or her historical performances would suggest.

overnight: A page produced by the racing secretary’s office that lists the entries for a future racing card.

In contrast to a stakes race, which closes nominations weeks and often months in advance, an overnight race closes entries a certain number of hours before the race (such as 48 hours).

Overweight refers to the extra weight carried by a horse when the rider is unable to maintain the necessary weight.

Can you insure a 15 year old horse?

Our insurance for older horses protects and reassures animals between the ages of 16 and 30. You can add features like vet’s fee coverage and personal liability to our veteran horse insurance to get the protection you need.

What is covered under equine insurance?

Equine Full Mortality is equine life insurance. Equine full mortality insurance pays for the insured value of your horse if it dies as a result of an accident, injury, illness, disease, or humane destruction (as determined by a veterinarian), as well as theft. Horses must be between the ages of 31 days and 20 years old to be eligible. Please keep in mind that all of our policies are based on agreed-upon values. More information…

What is loss of use horse insurance?

“Loss of use insurance covers the horse if, as a result of an accident or disease, he becomes permanently incapable of performing the responsibilities for which he is insured,” explains Guy Prest of equestrian insurance company KBIS. “Specific use will be defined differently based on the policy and firm.”

Does horse insurance cover vet bills?

This benefit covers the cost of veterinary treatment for illness and injury, as well as any complementary treatments recommended by your veterinarian. For a period of 12 months, each condition is covered up to the maximum Veterinary Fees limit you’ve selected. This benefit does not cover any illness or injury that occurred prior to the policy’s start date, and an excess will be charged for each unrelated illness or injury that occurs during the policy year. Choose between £3,500 (£500 excess) and £5,000 (£145 excess) per condition and per policy year.

Do you need a vet check for horse insurance?

What veterinarian certificates do I need to insure my horse? This is determined by the amount insured, the age of your horse, the type of coverage you need, and the insurance company you choose. If your horse was examined by a veterinarian prior to purchase, you must submit a copy of the examination certificate with your application.