Horse insurance can be a touchy subject. Once the decision has been made to insure the horse how much should it be insured for?
No insurance company will ensure the horse for more than “fair market value” but what exactly does that mean? To start it means the purchase price. If you bought a horse for $5,000 even if it seems a steal to you this is the price that the company will consider as “fair market value”. As the horse progresses through its training it may take on a new value.
How is Insured Value Determined?
Insurance agents will usually consider: training, winnings, or its ability to perform in the breeding shed as things that could increase the horse’s value.
Training is determined as the time that the horse is in full training or the times when a ‘pro’ is actually sitting on the horse. The lessons and clinics that are taken are not considered as training. Although insurance agents may not ask for written documentation regarding the amount of training, if the horse dies, and you want to collect on the policy, be ready to supply the information to back up the training numbers.
The winnings, whether amount of money earned or placings and championships at horse shows can help determine the market value of the horse. Some times you find a fancy horse, diamond in the rough type, and purchase it for a really cheap price. It can only be insured for the purchase price because it is un-proven. While the horse may be worth more because it has potential, it has not achieved the necessary marks or placing to make its value worth more. This should be brought to the attention of the insurer. The owner and the agent must agree on the necessary requirements to have the horse insured at a higher price.
To get the horse insured at a higher value the agent may require that the horse get scores of 65% at a fourth level dressage test, or win a championship at a green hunter division. Once the requirement is met then the insurance price will increase. Make sure you have an open line of communication with your agent so that policies and prices can be discussed.
Determining a Foal’s Value
If you have a foal to insure the rule of thumb is two times the stud fee. This means if the stud fee is $1500 the insured cost could be $3000. Also taken into consideration are show winnings and sales records of any siblings.
Remember that insurance is purchased to protect your horse. Do not be afraid to call your agent or make a claim. It is best to contact your agent if the vet is called out, even for minor illnesses or injuries. This way if complications arise, the agent is knowledgeable of the condition and can help negotiate through the insurance claim process
The procedure for obtaining an insurance license in Washington is pretty straight forward. First you must select the type of license you wish to obtain. Washington offers life, property, casualty, personal lines and more. Visit the Division of Insurance website for a full listing of license types.
Insurance License Education Requirement
Washington requires its candidates to take 20 hours of pre-licensing education classes before they can take the state exam. You must take the classes from one of the state approved education providers. The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner website provides a listing of the state-approved providers along with links to the provider websites. Upon completing the 20 hour requirement you will receive a certificate of completion. Once you receive the certificate you can take the state licensing exam (you must take the exam within 12 months of completing the education requirement).
Pre-Licensing Education Exemptions
The Commissioner of Insurance allows candidates with certain designations to forgo the education requirement for the associated license. Below is a listing of exemption-earning designations:
Life Insurance License
- Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
- Fellow of Life Management Institute (FLMI)
- Life Underwriting Training Council (LUTCF)
- Registered Health Underwriter (RHU)
- Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
- Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC)
- Health Insurance Associate (HIA)
Property or Casualty License
- Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI)
- Associate in Risk Management (ARM)
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
State Insurance Licensing Exam
Washington State uses Pearson VUE to administer its insurance exams. You can either register on their website or call them at 1-800-274-8949 to schedule the state exam.
It is recommended that you visit the Pearson VUE website as they have free downloadable documents that will be valuable in helping you pass the Washington state insurance licensing exam. The Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook is a guideline to help you get through the licensing process and the Examination Content Outlines provides information on the types of questions asked on each of the licensing exams.
After reviewing the documents, schedule a date, time and location for taking the exam. There are currently 8 exam testing locations (Everett, Kennewick, Lacey, Spokane, Tukwila, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Yakima). Select a conveniently located testing center and take the state exam.
Insurance Criminal Background Check
Resident licensing candidates must provide a fingerprint card when applying for the insurance license. You can contact Pearson VUE to get fingerprinted as some of their locations offer fingerprinting services. Otherwise, contact your local law enforcement agency to utilize their fingerprinting services. Once you have your fingerprint card, send it to the Office of Insurance Commissioner, Attn: Licensing, P.O. Box 40257, Olympia, Washington 98504-0257.
Insurance Producer’s Application
After satisfying the education requirement, passing the state exam and obtaining the fingerprint card, the last remaining step to becoming a licensed insurance producer is to complete the licensing application. Download and complete the 4-page Uniform Application for Individual Producer License/Registration. Once the form is completed, mail it along with the appropriate fee to the Washington Insurance Commissioner.
Since fees are subject to change, visit the Washington Commissioner of Insurance website for the most up-to-date fee schedule.
Once the application is received, reviewed and approved, you will be issued an insurance license. Washington licenses are issued for a period of two years. Within those two years you must comply with the 24 credit continuing education requirement. If you fail to take the 24 credit hours, you won’t be able to renew your license.
At one point in life the consumer will eventually have to learn to understand the concept behind the matter of a risk-return trade-off when evaluating insurance policies, “insurance is based on the concept of risk pooling, which means that individuals share the financial risks they face” (Kenown, p. 273) “An insurance policy is a contract with an insurance company that spells out what losses are covered, what the policy costs, and who receives payments if a loss occurs” (Kenown, p.272).
Insurance companies are responsible for determining the consumer’s premium or payment. Certain characteristics such as an individual’s age, health background and lifestyle can influence the cost of premiums. The four common types of personal insurances to consider are life, health, property, and liability. Each form of insurance has its own specifications.
Life insurance protects family members from the financial burdens associated with an individual death. This type of insurance allows financial resources to become available to the dependents of the deceased in order to pay off debts, provide for cost of living and educational expenses. It can also become a source of retirement income for family members. People who benefit from this type of insurance are those who have dependents, a terminal illness, an uninsurable condition or any other high-risk health condition. Life insurance is also a valuable tool for business and property owners because they can help reduce any incurring debts and taxes.
Term and cash value are two types of life insurance. Term insurance provides low cost coverage for a set number of years after the death of the insured which can be anywhere from one to thirty years. However, renewable term insurance can be continually renewed up to the specified age of the beneficiary. Cash Value is more expensive because it includes both a life insurance and a savings plan. The monthly premiums are divided and applied to the two categories and if the policy is terminated than the policyholder is entitled to the cash value. Whole, universal and variable are three types of cash value insurances and all three provide permanent protection and death benefits upon the death of the insured party.
Avoiding devastatingly large expenses from medical bills is the main reason people choose to purchase health insurance. Due to the increasing costs of health care it is safe to assume that this type of insurance is a detriment to any living person, however, age, health, and the amount of dependents the insured has are some common factors that can influence the type of policy the consumer chooses to invest in. Most health insurances also require the individual to pay a co-pay or deductable before they can receive benefits. Typically most basic health insurances provide for the hospital, surgical and physician expenses.
Hospital insurance covers accrued cost from in-patient stays such as, room fees, operating room fees, prescription drugs, and nursing expenses, for a designated period of time. Surgical insurance covers surgical costs and physician insurance covers the physician’s fees such as office visits, lab fees and x-rays. Another form of insurance that covers the medical costs beyond those covered by basic health insurance is called major medical expense insurance. This type of insurance is good for those with serious health issues. Other insurances types to consider are those that cover dental, eye care and accidents. There are also various plans to choose from such as HMO, PPO or IPA each has its own list of coverage, physician options and premiums.
Property and liability insurance protects the consumer “against the financial risks of loss of or damage to your home or automobile and the legal liabilities associated with injuries or property damage to others” (Kenown, p.320). Homeowners are usually required to obtain some form of insurance while paying off loans and most states require licensed drivers to have insurance in order to operate a vehicle. Apartment owners, landlords and small business owners are also required to obtain professional property and liability insurance in order to protect the company, employees, renters and customers.
Property insurance protects the individual’s physical property or possessions. It includes coverage of losses due to fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters. Homeowner’s insurance covers a specific dollar amount and has approximately six different packaged policies that can provide both property and liability insurance. The six forms are basic, broad, special, contents, joint-owners, and modified coverage.
“Liability insurance protects you financially against lawsuits that may arise if someone gets injured on your property” (Tyson,, p.351). Automobile drivers must consider which coverage to purchase depending upon the amount of bodily injury liability they want made available in case of an accident. A minimum amount of $50,000 is recommended for property and damage liability insurance for automobiles. Some policies can extend to cover the cost of both medical and funeral expenses. Some factors that determine the cost of automobile insurance are the vehicle type, driving record, age, and insurance credit score.
The consumer must learn to plan for the future in order to maintain their personal financial wealth. The basic principle of protecting the individual against catastrophes is the main purpose behind any type of insurance. Consumers must ask themselves if they will be willing to pay for a policy in order to cover possible risks. It would be the consumer’s best interest to investigate the various forms of insurance, specified coverage and cost in order to determine which policy would be the most beneficial to their financial future.
Although the need for long-term care is on the rise in the United States, the percentage of people purchasing long-term care insurance policies is relatively low. Often this is a result of the price of long-term care premiums. Having a long-term care policy in place offers more choices and more control in long-term care decisions. Knowing what to look for in a long-term policy and buying the policy at the right time keeps premium prices low.
The Need for Long-Term Care
Determining the likelihood for the need for long-term care is the first place to start when choosing a long-term care policy. Your current health or the health of your loved one and what things you are doing now for certain conditions all factor in to your need for long-term care. Individuals with diseases causing deterioration over time, like diabetes, dementia or Alzheimer’s, will likely need long-term care services more than those with fewer issues.
The emotional health and availability of family members to care for loved ones should also be analyzed. If there is a strong network of capable family members to help in the event that long-term care is needed, the decision to get a long-term care policy is less crucial than for those with no close family available.
The financial situation of you and your loved one should also be a primary consideration when looking at long-term care policies. If your financial situation is such that you can pay for long-term care without such a policy, than the need for long-term care insurance is greatly reduced. However, if your ability to pay out-of-pocket for long-term care services is small, then a long-term care policy may be right for you.
Long-Term Care Policy Choices
When comparing long-term care policies, there are several factors to consider. Long-term care policies have limits like other insurance policies, and it’s important to know these limits before making a choice. Some things that should influence your choice are:
- Basic care coverage. Since most long-term care needs come under the umbrella of basic care and not skilled nursing, your policy should include this area. Any policy should provide of list of exactly what basic care needs are covered.
- How much will the policy pay? Long-term care insurance policies are set up on a daily pay system. So you need to know how much long-term care typically costs on a daily basis and how much a particular policy will pay before making a final choice.
- Exclusions to care coverage. Many long-term care policies have a list of covered services that are excluded. Make sure you understand what is excluded from the policy you choose.
- Coverage for home care. Most patients needing long-term care would prefer to remain in their own home if possible. Look for long-term care policies that include coverage for home care, and are not limited to assisted living and nursing home care. In addition, be sure the policy has adequate coverage for home care services. Home care is on the rise, and the industry is constantly changing to meet demand.
- Coverage for certain conditions. Some long-term care policies exclude coverage for certain conditions. Look carefully at the policies your are comparing and make sure your are fully covered for any health condition.
- Allowance for cost of care increases. The cost of health care is continually on the rise and the long-term care policy you choose needs to have yearly cost of care analysis and increases available. If your care policy doesn’t provide for these increases, you won’t be adequately covered.
- Miscellaneous expenses. A quality long-term care policy will include coverage for miscellaneous expenses that are likely to arise when long-term care is needed. Check for inclusion of miscellaneous expenses when comparing long-term care policies.
The Right Time to Buy a Long-Term Care Policy
Long-term care insurance policies, much like life insurance policies, are less expensive when they are purchased early. This is especially true when purchased before certain health conditions arise. If you are considering purchasing a long-term care policy, doing so long before it is needed will save you and your loved ones both time and money.
Most people are aware of insurance in one form or another. Regular payments are made towards the insurance provider, known as premiums, in return for which the insurer agrees to pay out when a specified event or events occur. Sometimes this payment is a one off, lump sum. Other forms of insurance provide a series of payments, providing an income over a defined period. There are many different types of companies now offering these services, leading to an expansion of the market and increased competition
Home insurance is an umbrella term that covers two different types of policy, although many insurers now provide comprehensive policies that cover both bases. Put simply, buildings insurance covers the physical structure of your home, while contents insurance protects the things that you put in it. Combined home insurance policies are often offered at a discount compared to the cost of buying separate buildings and contents policies. An added advantage of this kind of cover is that there is only one insurer to deal with in the event of a claim.
Motor insurance is pretty straight forward in that it is concerned with damage associated with owning and driving a vehicle. Policies vary in scope, from the very basic third party fire and theft to fully comprehensive cover. Third party fire and theft is the legal minimum requirement for driving in the U.K. This basic policy covers the cost of damage to another person’s vehicle in the event of an accident, as well as addressing the self explanatory scenarios of fire and theft. Fully comprehensive cover can allow you to drive not just your car but any vehicle that you are licensed for. In addition, such policies can meet the cost of any repairs required to make good your car, and often also medical treatment and legal cover in the event of litigation.
Critical illness cover is designed to pay out upon the diagnosis of a qualifying illness, such as a stroke or heart attack, and can help meet the cost of private medical bills or loss of income due to absence from work. There are several similar types of policy designed protect your income in the event of illness or unemployment, such as payment protection insurance. Some pay out a lump sum, while others provide a regular income for a specified period. These policies can be quite complicated in scope, and you’ll often need expert advice to be able to determine just which events are covered by the insurance policy.
Travel insurance can provide funds to replace lost and stolen property while on holiday, as well as covering the cost of any medical bills, or changing flights due to unforeseen circumstances. Some policies will cover the cost of the whole holiday if disasters natural or otherwise lead to cancellation, while others will even provide kidnap cover!
Seniors enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B often discover once they become ill that these two Medicare parts won’t pay for all their medical costs. Part A pays most hospital, skilled nursing and some home health care costs; Part B pays most physician, outpatient services and some other home health care costs – but both parts have deductibles, limits and gaps in coverage. Neither pays for any prescription drugs and many medical supplies are not covered.
The private insurance marketplace responded with products designed to cover many costs not paid by Medicare coverage. Products can be chosen to help with cost sharing depending on the need of the Medicare consumer, and seniors continue to be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Plan design and scope are heavily regulated by both Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make certain that these plans and products pay exactly what they are required to cover. Seniors can choose from stand-alone supplemental plans and or prescriptions drug plans (Part D), chronic illness special needs plans, or a comprehensive HMO or PPO type plan (Medicare Advantage) that bundles Parts A, B and D together with additional coverage that covers all medical costs and is referred to as Part C.
Each Medicare product is designed to cover different services, and may not be available where you live. While Congress has passed many laws to make the design of these products uniformly specific and the sale ethical and careful, making a choice can be a confusing experience. Here are the basics of a few products:
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
Part D plans cover most all prescription drug costs, but insurance carriers will offer differing lists of covered drugs and pharmacies. You must be enrolled in both Part A and Part B of Medicare to be eligible for a Medicare Part D plan. The federal guidelines require insurance pays for a prescription after an initial deductible of $320. After this deductible, you pay only a small copay for each drug until drug costs equal an annual total of $2,840, including your copay charges and drug costs. After this $2,840 total is reached, you will will pay any subsequent drug costs for the year (the “donut hole”) up to a total drug cost of $4550, including all costs, charges and copays for the year. During this “donut hole” period, you receive a discount of 50% off the cost of generic drugs, and some insurance companies also offer a discount for brand name drugs. After drug costs have reached $4550, the insurance will pay all drug costs after a small copay for the rest of the year (called Catastrophic coverage). Carriers may enhance their plans to cover the deductible, copays or some of the donut hole but may not offer a plan with lesser benefits than the minimum required coverage. Part D coverage premiums range between $15 and $60 per month, depending on the plan’s design and where you reside.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Supplemental coverage pays some of the out of pocket medical charges (except drug charges) that are not covered by Original Medicare Parts A and B. Medical charges contracted to be covered and paid for by each Medigap plan have been outlined by Congress. The different plans are labeled A, B, E, F and so on up to N. For the outline of each plan’s covered services, go to: Medigap policies . In other words, if you buy a Medicare Supplement F or N from any insurance carrier, each carrier will pay exactly the same for each Medigap alphabet policy. Supplement plans are allowed to vary their premiums and the plan’s provider network, but must cover what the federal guidelines for that specific plan require: no more, no less. Monthly premiums range from $100 to $500 or more, depending on the plan you choose, age when you enroll, and where you reside.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Advantage plans bundle Parts A and Part B (and usually D) costs along with other medical services into a comprehensive health insurance plan with varying but limited copays and deductibles. Insurance carriers receive payment from the federal government (through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – CMS) for covered medical services as well as the Part B premiums paid by members to the government. Plans can be offered as an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) with gatekeepers and authorizations; a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan, where you can visit any physician, but pay less with network providers; a POS (Point of Service) plan, which is a hybrid HMO/PPO type plan; or a PFFS (Private Fee for Service) type plan where you can see any provider who accepts the plan. Costs and available plans depend on where you live; HMO, PPO and POS plans are typically only available in metropolitan areas due to provider network requirements.
Special Needs and Chronic Illness plans
These plans help offset the significant medical costs related to certain chronic or serious conditions and offer a comprehensive care review and coordination not available in original Medicare. Many people with these long term conditions also may qualify for premium subsidies. Plans and coverages, again, will vary by state and by insurance company.
Review each plan’s options carefully and choose wisely as you may only be able to change your plan once a year. Finding the right Medicare product can offer financial security and save out of pocket charges once a serious illness strikes.