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What Insurance Do I Need to Transport Horses?
Transporting horses can be a lucrative business. Because of the extra risks and complexities involved in hauling horses and other livestock, you may be able to earn more than you could hauling regular freight.
But that heightened risk means that a lot more can go wrong on the road. For that reason, you will need insurance coverage that goes beyond what is typical for commercial drivers. This post will go over what you need to know about horse transport insurance. We will also share some options with you for a few top carriers.
Equine Transporters Insurance Requirements
First of all, let’s talk about requirements for horse transportation insuranceAs a commercial driver, you are going to need a US DOT number and an MC number, just as you would if you were hauling other freight.
Equiery explains, “If you are hauling horses for hire, or if you are hauling client horses, or if your truck or combination is over a certain size, you may be required to obtain a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, a Motor Carrier (MC) number, and/or a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).”
That means you will need to obtain the minimum liability insurance to meet the requirements to apply for those numbers. You can visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to find out the minimum requirements.
Note that if you are not commercially transporting horses, you may not
need to meet the same extensive legal requirements as commercial horse transport drivers.
Along with liability insurance to cover your vehicle, you are also going to need equine liability insurance.
Who Should Get Horse Transport Insurance?
You should get horse transport insurance if you are:
- Transporting horses between buyers and sellers
- Moving horses between training facilities
- Hauling horses while operating a ranch or farm
- Transporting horses for a club or association
- Hauling horses commercially for any other purpose
Additionally, private owners should also insure their horses, even if they are not involved in commercial transport.
“Why Do You Need Horse Transport Insurance?”
Along with meeting the legal requirements to commercially transport horses, let’s go over a few other reasons why equine transport insurance is a necessity. Imagine these scenarios:
- You get into an accident on the road, and one or more of the horses you are transporting are injured.
- Conditions in the trailer become too hot, resulting in one of the horses suffering heatstroke.
- One of the horses somehow manages to damage equipment or supplies in your trailer.
- A horse dies while you are in transit. While this can be expensive with any horse, it can become downright exorbitant in the case of certain racehorses. Some horses are worth millions of dollars—sometimes many millions. You do not want to find yourself without ample coverage in a situation like that.
- One or more of the horses could somehow manage to escape the trailer, forcing you to track them down. During that time, you will not be able to make any progress toward your destination, making your deliveries late. Additionally, searching for the lost horses may be expensive in its own right.
- An escape horse could end up damaging other vehicles or property, or even injuring other people or animals. That is also damage you could be liable for if it happened under your watch.
Those are just a few examples of some of what can go awry when you are hauling horses. The more time you spend with horses on the road, the more potential hazards you might encounter. You can now see why it is vital to insure your business.
Types Of Horse Transportation Insurance
There is more than one type of insurance policy for equine transport.
The main types of insurance for hauling horses include: Broad & Limited Liability.
What is the difference between broad and limited equine liability insurance?
Broad equine liability insurance is more comprehensive than the limited variety. It covers you in case of injury or death during transportation. Of course, this type of policy costs more than the limited type.
Limited equine liability insurance is less expensive, but it only covers specific situations. If something happens outside of those scenarios, you might not be covered.
Here are some examples of other types of coverages that you can purchase for your horse transportation business:
: Sometimes a horse may be injured or killed after unloading. In those cases, you would need to purchase this additional type of coverage if you wanted your insurance to help cover those scenarios. Your regular transit policy would no longer apply. Keep in mind there are still limitations. For example, say the coverage applies for a week after unloading. If a horse dies 8 days after unloading, then the coverage would not pay out.
Those are just a few examples of additional coverages you can purchase for horse transit. You will find others as well. Since there is such a diverse range of reasons you might need to haul horses, you will find that horse transport insurance is often highly customizable to your needs.
“One of your biggest questions about horse transportation insurance is no doubt, “What is this going to cost me?”
Costs for Horse Transport Insurance
East Insurance Group says, “Livestock hauling is a completely different activity than carrying regular freight. The insurance costs range from $6,000 to $12,500 per annum.”
That is a pretty broad range for costs.
Here rare some of the factors that can drive costs up or down for horse transport insurance.
The nature of the horses: Some types of horses are more expensive to cover than others. Let’s say Business A mostly transports draft horses that are used as working animals, while Business B mostly transports award-winning show horses and racehorses.
Which business do you think will be more expensive to insure? The answer is Business B, because the horses that Business B hauls typically have much higher monetary values than those hauled by Business A.
The trailer: Various types of trailers can be used to transport horses. Some examples include gooseneck trailers, single-deck trailers and multi-deck trailers. The risks associated with each of these types of trailers differ. So, depending on the type of trailer you will be using, your insurance costs could be higher or lower.
Types of coverages: The more types of coverages you purchase, the more you will pay for horse transport insurance. Just remember that with horses, the elevated risks mean it is typically worth it.
Your routes and purpose: There are different reasons to transport horses, and different routes and distances they might need to go. Maybe you work for a farm business with several locations in a local area, and you are just moving the horses around from property to property, not going very far. Or maybe you are hauling horses between sellers and buyers across the country. These entail very different risks, so the insurance costs can be very different as well.
Discounts: Just as you might qualify for discounts for other types of insurance based on certain factors, this is also true with insurance to cover horse transportation. Ask the carrier what discounts they offer.
Deductibles: You will also want to consider the amount of your deductible, which is what you have to pay out of pocket before your policy begins covering costs. You can raise your deductible to lower your monthly costs, or vice versa.
Amounts of coverages: As with other types of insurance policies, horse transport insurance will provide coverage up to a certain maximum amount. How high you need that amount to be depends both on the nature of your business and your comfort with risk. Just keep in mind that if you are transporting especially expensive horses, you probably should opt for higher coverage maximums, despite the higher monthly costs associated with such strong policies.
Experience: Imagine that Person A has been transporting horses for a decade, and knows the business inside and out. Person B, by contrast, is completely new to hauling horses. Insurance companies probably are going to give more competitive quotes to Person A, since they know Person A has a stronger sense of what it takes to transport horses safely and without incident. Person B is a much riskier customer, and may pay higher monthly premiums as a result.
Claims history: Let’s say that we have two customers who have both been hauling horses for 5 years. One of them has multiple claims on their record, and the other has zero claims on their record.
You can bet that the customer who has never made a claim will receive more competitive insurance rates.