How to Choose the Right Horse Mortality Insurance Policy

Horse Mortality Insurance

Whether you have one pleasure horse or several competitive horses, your horses are an investment that deserves expert insurance coverage. Learn how to choose the right mortality policy.

Whole mortality policies typically pay an agreed value upon death. The agreed value is based on the purchase price of your horse and can increase with show earnings, breeding, and training.


A horse is more than just a beloved pet; it’s also an expensive asset. Getting the right horse mortality insurance policy is essential to protecting this investment. Independent insurance agents work for you to compare and shop multiple policies, cutting through the jargon and explaining terms like co-pays, deductibles, and coverage limits.

Horse mortality insurance policies cover the death of your horse from a list of external perils that vary by company. They include named perils and broader accident and sickness coverage.

A full horse mortality insurance policy typically costs 2.5 to 4 percent of the horse’s insured value, with a minimum premium of $150. The premium may be reduced if you add primary medical, veterinary services, or medical assistance (each company calls these coverages different names) limits higher than the horse’s insured value on the mortality policy. However, these options usually have specific limitations and time limits on how long a condition can be covered. A surgical-only endorsement, for example, covers operating room charges but not postcare expenses.


Whole mortality policies typically cover the horse for just about everything imaginable, including death. However, they are more expensive than other types of equine insurance. Premiums are based on horse age, veterinary examination, and intended use and vary from company to company.

Primary medical, veterinary services, and medical assistance coverages are generally offered as add-ons to mortality policies. These coverages reimburse a portion of the horse’s veterinary or aftercare expenses due to covered accidents, injuries, and illnesses. They offer different aggregate limits and deductibles, so owners should review the policy carefully to understand them fully.

Unlike mortality policies, major medical/surgical coverages will not cover pre-existing conditions, and they will have specific exclusions, such as colic surgery or administering any drug, hormone, or supplement without a veterinarian’s approval. However, many companies have extension coverage built into the policy for issues that develop during the year and may continue past their current expiration date.


Generally, a full mortality policy covers death from almost any cause, including natural occurrences such as colic, accidents, fire, and lightning. Many policies also cover theft.

Significant medical/surgical insurance policies typically are add-ons to a basic mortality policy and provide coverage for veterinary care expenses. They generally have a flat fee based on the coverage limit and a deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket).

Several exclusions are typical for these policies, such as pre-existing conditions like navicular disease, arthritis, and DJD, continuing treatment after a policy expires, and using a specific procedure or medication. It is essential to know these limits and be able to plan accordingly. Insurance companies may require a pre-policy exam or a declaration of health form for horses worth over a specific value. This ensures that the insurer has accurate information about the horse’s health. This can be critical, especially if the owner files a claim for economic loss and the company discovers a previously unreported issue.


Many insurance companies offer several add-ons to their mortality policies. Some are general, while others are specific to certain breeds or usage. An agent can help you evaluate which, if any, may benefit your horse.

These generally function as medical insurance policies for horses and reimburse for diagnostic testing, treatment, and surgery related to an accident or illness. They usually have hard annual expiration dates but often offer a guaranteed extension, which allows coverage to continue in the event of an accident or illness near the end of a policy term.

Liability policies recognize the unique exposure of owning a horse and allow coverage to follow it wherever it is being used – whether showing transportation or boarding. These are typically separate policies from the full mortality policy and often require a deductible. They can also be subject to particular underwriting guidelines such as breed, age, etc.