Competing in any equestrian sport carries a certain amount of risk. For professionals who depend on their ability to ride and teach to keep their businesses going, suffering an injury that requires downtime to recover can be a financial disaster.
The insurance plans provided through the Event Riders Association of North America (ERA of NA) can be a safety net when injuries occur. All professional memberships, which cost $393 annually, include a base accident and disability insurance plan through Zurich Insurance that provides coverage for medical expenses up to $100,000, plus a $200 weekly disability benefit for up to 52 weeks.
For a cost of $3.18 per day — which is less than you spend at Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts every day, let’s be honest — professionals can upgrade to a far superior accident and disability insurance plan that provides coverage for medical expenses up to $1 million. The buy-up plan also increases the weekly disability benefit professionals can receive from $200 to $600. That’s a difference of receiving $10,400 total in the base plan or $31,200 in the buy-up plan if professionals spend one year recovering from an injury.
It seems like a no-brainer to opt for the buy-up plan considering the extra coverage professionals can receive in the case of an injury, but ERA of NA confirmed to EN that many professional riders do not take advantage of the additional coverage due to the higher cost of $1,162 annually, or $96.83 per month.
Sinead Halpin didn’t upgrade her insurance plan the year she suffered broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and a collapsed lung in a fall at Chattahoochee Hills, plus injured her leg at Fair Hill. “It was the difference between getting $200 and $600 per week, and that affected me greatly,” she said.
Will Faudree depended on ERA insurance when he suffered a broken neck in a fall at Southern Pines. “I was not allowed to ride for six months. For the first four months, I was in a neck brace and unable to even teach. Without the ERA insurance, I do not know what I would have done. Not only did it help me with added medical expenses, it took the pressure off of trying to do more than I should and enabled me time to heal properly.”
Silva Martin also had ERA insurance when she suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall and said it greatly eased the financial burden while she recovered. “There is always risk associated with riding and training horses, but good insurance helps you to be prepared for the worst,” she said.
Here’s a closer look at the ERA of NRA insurance plans:
Base insurance plan – $393 – included in all ERA of NA professional memberships
- Includes accident excess medical expense of a $100,000 maximum benefit with a $5,000 deductible
- Accident disability: $200 weekly disability benefit after a 30-day wait for up to 52 weeks
- Accidental death & dismemberment/loss of use: $15,000 maximum amount
Buy up insurance plan – $1,162 or $96.83 per month
- Accident excess medical expense: $1,000,000 maximum benefit with $5,000 deductible
- Accident disability: $600 weekly disability benefit after a 30-day wait for up to 52 weeks
- Accidental death & dismemberment/loss of use: $100,000 maximum amount
Here are a three key things to know about the ERA of NA insurance plans:
- ERA of NA insurance isn’t limited to professional riders, which is one of the most common misconceptions. It is available to any equine professional: grooms, vets, farriers, physiotherapists, course builders, etc.
- The insurance isn’t limited to professionals in eventing. It can be purchased by all equine professionals regardless of which discipline they are associated with in their career.
- There is a split payment option to help make the insurance more affordable. Half of the membership/insurance fee can be paid at the initial time of sign-up, with the remaining half paid on June 1. On the split payment option, the base plan costs $196.50 upon form submission and $196.50 on June 1, 2019. The buy up plan costs $581 upon form submission and $581 on June 1, 2019.
Click here to learn more about the ERA of NA insurance plans and to sign up.
Are you a professional who benefitted from the ERA of NA insurance plans while recovering from an injury? Share your experience in the comments below, and please encourage your fellow professionals to sign up.