Equine insurance experts answer your questions about insuring Thoroughbreds for the breeding and auction realms.

Email us at info@paulickreport. com if you have a question for an insurer.

Question: What is “Fall of Hammer” coverage and how do I get it?

Kige Kiger, Kiger Insurance, Inc.: “Fall of Hammer” coverage is mortality insurance usually written for one year and, as the name implies, incepts from the moment the auctioneer’s gavel falls. As the risk of loss passes to the purchaser at that instant, if you choose to insure, you will want to have this coverage in place at that moment, lest some mishap occur immediately after your purchase. Normally, vetting is not required to bind this coverage. Not every horse is eligible for this coverage so you should speak with your agent in advance if you are considering purchasing an older mare or racing prospect.

So, you ask how to purchase this protection. It is suggested that you select an experienced, licensed equine professional to advise you on your options and to pre-arrange a binder when you are the successful bidder. Ask fellow industry members for referrals to agents that have demonstrated their competence and professionalism.

Once you have arranged this coverage, you will have the comfort of knowing that if something happens to your new purchase after it leaves the ring you will have mortality insurance in place. Confirm your purchases with your agent as soon as convenient after you sign the ticket. And, if you close a private sale after a horse goes through the ring, be sure to let your agent know right away if you desire coverage.

Your agent will confirm the hip numbers and purchase prices with you and ask whether you have partners. It is important to confirm the exact ownership interest being insured. Also, they will ask where your new purchase will be stabled. If you are purchasing more than one horse it’s a good idea to touch base with your agent when you have finished purchasing.

Behind the scenes, your agent will have arranged for your coverage with an insurer they are contracted with. Details of the purchase will be communicated and your policy will be issued and delivered to you.

Caveat: Be aware that the purchase of mortality insurance on a pregnant mare does not insure the unborn foal should the mare abort. For select mares, it may be possible to procure prospective foal coverage for this risk. Post-purchase vetting may be required and the premiums are substantial.

Kige Kiger

Kige Kiger is a Property and Casualty Agent with Kiger Insurance, Inc. in Lexington Ky. He finds his professional insurance career of more than 20 years pairs well with his love of the Thoroughbred horse and racing. He works alongside his family and colleagues in perpetuating the insurance agency his father, Sylvester Kiger, started decades ago. Kige is known for his quick wit and is an avid handicapper and golfer. When he’s not traveling to the sales and tracks, you’ll probably find him piloting his fishing boat, the Alley Cat, around Tampa Bay.

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