Mistake: Forgetting to Actually Read the Policy solution: Although it may seem simple, it’s important to actually read your policy when you receive it. Ask questions before you purchase one, so you know exactly what coverage you are buying and how it should work. You don’t want to wait until your horse is going in for colic surgery, or an expensive treatment, only to find out you do not have the necessary coverage, or the payable amount is not as much as you expected. With your farm insurance, be sure you know what level of coverage you have—and on what. According to Scott Lombard, “I see so many people who come in and assume that just because they have a certain dollar amount of coverage that those dollars can be allocated for anything. It is important to know what is covered and realize what your insurance will not cover. As a general rule of thumb, the more coverage you have, the more you need to pay.” Mistake: Withholding Information From the Insurance Company solution: Make sure that you are completely honest with your agent when you apply for insurance. While you may think that certain factors can make your horse ineligible for insurance or increase your premium, it is imperative that you divulge the information. Susan Sartain says, “Pre-existing conditions should always be disclosed. Not disclosing this information could void policy coverage in the event of a claim.” It is not just mortality and major medical coverage where dishonest information proves to be an issue. Often
farm owners are placed in an uncomfortable situation as well. According to Susan Stawser, “Another problem I frequently see is under-reporting the size of their operation. The application asks how many horses do you own or board or have in training, what are your annual receipts related to the different types of activities, what is the scope of your operation. Sometimes, these numbers are under-reported to save money on the premium, but this can cause a problem down the road if there is a claim and an adjuster finds out that the program is larger than what the application shows.” Mistake: Not Staying in Touch With Your Agent solution: You may be more concerned about your horse than your pocketbook when you grab the phone to call your veterinarian, but it is essential you place a call to your agent as well. All Mortality Insurance policies have a provision that requires you to notify the company promptly if your horse is injured, lame, or sick, whether there is an immediate claim or not. It may seem like a silly detail, but if you don’t inform the insurance company and later file a claim under the policy, there is a possibility that coverage might be denied for failure to notify within the terms of your policy. Place a quick call to your insurance agent and let them know what is going on. They can quickly guide you through the process of making a claim if need be. If you run a boarding or training barn, you may find it helpful to post the insurance information on the stall door of each horse. This will make it easy to obtain when needed.
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