Best Livestock Insurance

Protect your farm animals with a livestock insurance policy

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Livestock insurance is an insurance product for farmers that protects them against the unexpected loss of animals through injury, theft, or unexpected death while on their farm or ranch, or in transit. Some livestock insurance policies also cover farmers against liability related to their animals’ destruction of property and some policies cover animal mortality for reasons of viruses or early natural death that are usually exempt from typical livestock insurance policies. 

With livestock insurance, farmers can be confident that they are protected against sudden loss of income or property related to harm that could come to their animals. The best livestock insurance gives farmers the degree of coverage they need, covers a wide variety of different perils that farmers might encounter, and charges affordable premiums. This roundup aims to help readers find a livestock insurance policy that is the best fit for their farming operation.

The Best Livestock Insurance for 2021

Best Overall : Nationwide

Nationwide

 Nationwide

Nationwide provides livestock insurance that you can customize to your needs, allowing you more control over your policy’s pricing while also offering a full suite of other farm and ranch insurance products. This enables you to get all your specialized farm and ranch insurance policies in one place. 

Pros
  • Several options for livestock insurance: individual, blanket, and herd

  • Covers newly acquired livestock

  • Has a full suite of other farm insurance policies

Cons
  • Does not cover losses through disease

  • Does not cover losses through natural causes

  • Only covers certain kinds of farm animals

Nationwide beats all others as the best overall, allowing you to tailor your coverage to your needs so that you don’t overinsure your livestock while offering many other farm insurance options so that you can get all your insurance needs met in one place.

Policies vary in cost, fees, deductibles, and coverage options based on the number of animals, the kind of animals, your location, your farm’s history, and whether you insure your livestock under individual, blanket, or herd policies. Because Nationwide provides a good selection of other kinds of farm insurance policies either through their own underwriting or via partners, you might be able to get discounts on your policy by bundling your policies together.  

Nationwide’s livestock insurance policy covers cows, bulls, swine, goats, lambs, and sheep. They cover perils such as accidental shootings, attacks by dogs or wild animals (sheep are excluded), earthquakes, electrocution, floods, loading and unloading accidents, and collisions that cause death. They do not cover old age, disease, or death by natural causes, but they can help you acquire a livestock mortality policy from one of their partners. Nationwide also protects you from unfounded animal abuse allegations, offsetting your legal fees if you’re found not guilty in criminal or civil court. 

You can insure your livestock as individual animals (beneficial if you have higher valued animals that you want to be protected up to a specific amount), as a blanket policy (where you insure your animals in a lump sum amount with your equipment and structures are covered in one policy), or as a herd (the most common way).

It’s easy to apply for a Nationwide livestock insurance policy. Connect with an agent close to you, apply online, or call their toll-free number from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on weekdays. They also have multiple claims options including working with an agent, calling, or submitting a claim online.

Nationwide is well regarded as a farm and ranch insurer and has an AM Best rating of A+ in the category of financial strength and claims-paying ability. It is listed in Fortune 500’s top 100 companies.

Best for Cattle Breeders : AXA XL

AXA XL

 AXA XL

AXA XL offers livestock insurance coverage that covers risks like bull infertility, theft, or tampering with embryos and semen. It also allows you to fully insure certain animals that are valued higher, ensuring that your breeding animals are protected. 

Pros
  • Covers semen and embryos

  • Offers high coverage amounts for highly valuable animals

  • Coverage is multinational

Cons
  • You might have to work with a broker to access coverage

  • They charge a premium for their tailored coverage

  • Coverage was created for large companies rather than small farms

AXA XL covers high value animals like bulls and also covers semen and embryos worldwide. AXA XL offers highly customizable livestock coverage that covers production animals, alpaca and deer, exotic animals, and embryos and semen. earning it the top spot for breeders. Their coverage is particularly well-suited for cattle breeders because they specialize in large operations, cover infertility and mortality, and allow you to insure certain animals for higher values. 

One of the benefits of AXA XL is that it is an international company that will cover your operations and business worldwide. This can be helpful if you do international business as a breeder. The downside is that their focus on larger companies and multinational operations might mean that the insurance is more expensive and provides more coverage than you need if you run a small breeding operation. 

Getting coverage with AXA XL can be done directly via the company or through a broker. You have to fill out an online form on their website to set up a meeting but their teams work 24/7 to respond to website requests. They also have local numbers to call based on your region and country. The claims process requires that you call or email them.

AXA XL is a well-respected worldwide insurer that was founded in 1986 and is rated A+ by AM Best.

Best for Theft Coverage : The Hartford

The Hartford

 The Hartford

The Hartford offers specialized livestock insurance that allows you to protect against the theft of highly valuable animals on your farm or ranch, or in transit. 

Pros
  • Covers a number of additional perils not typically covered

  • Offers blanket and individual coverage

  • Covers common farm animals

Cons
  • Does not have quotes on their website

  • Does not offer livestock mortality coverage

  • Some of the additional perils covered are very unlikely to happen

The Hartford wins for best theft coverage because they offer livestock insurance that allows you to get scheduled coverage on your high value animals in case of theft. The Hartford offers an insurance product that combines livestock insurance with livestock mortality insurance, a type of livestock insurance that also covers unexpected natural death or disease–two products that are usually sold separately. 

Livestock mortality insurance is a product that is usually purchased in order to protect high-value animals. By combining that with theft protection, it makes a great fit if you have high-value animals that would cause you a significant loss if they suddenly died or were stolen. However, The Hartford’s livestock insurance doesn’t have the same customizability to buy blanket coverage for the entire herd as some of their competitors.  

To get a policy, you can contact them over the phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, email, or connect with an agent or a local office. Their claims processors are available 24/7 via phone. 

The Hartford is a well-respected insurance company that offers a full suite of business insurance products and has been in business since 1810. They have an A+ rating from AM Best.

Best for Variety of Covered Perils : Shelter Insurance

Shelter Insurance

Shelter Insurance

Shelter Insurance provides livestock insurance that protects against most of the common perils covered but includes some other non-typical perils like explosions, bridge and culvert collapse, burning vehicles, aircraft, earthquakes, and overturned vehicles. 

Pros
  • As brokers, they are able to find underwriters to cover exotic animals

  • Offer coverage up to $1 million per animal

  • Has in-house claims experts to help you 

Cons
  • As a specialty insurer, they don’t have other forms of business or farm insurance

  • Offer coverage nationally but only have an office in Arizona

  • Higher degree of coverage than most farmers need

Shelter Insurance wins for the best variety of perils covered because their coverage includes perils not listed in other policies, like explosions and burning vehicles. Shelter Insurance’s farm livestock coverage can vary in premium costs depending on things like the amount of coverage you need, the kind of coverage you choose, the type of animals, your location, and other factors. They offer both scheduled policies (where you can assign greater value to certain animals) and blanket policies that cover your total operation.

The benefit of Shelter Financial’s policies is that they cover cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, horses, and mules against a number of common perils like fire, lightning, windstorms and hail, accidents, theft, floods, and vandalism. They also cover them for some rarely covered perils like explosions and earthquakes. Plus, they offer a comprehensive farm owners insurance policy, so you can get all your insurance in one place. 

While you can’t get a quote online, you can connect with a local agent or call them Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST. You can also report a claim 24 hours a day. 

Shelter Insurance is a well-regarded insurer that has been in business since 1946 but operates in just 15 states. They have an AM Best rating of A.

Best Mortality Coverage : Allen Financial Insurance Group

Allen Financial Insurance Group

 Allen Financial Insurance Group

Allen Financial Insurance Group is a specialty insurance broker that provides customized insurance policy options to the agricultural industry and specializes in livestock mortality insurance that is hard to underwrite.  

Pros
  • As brokers, they are able to find underwriters to cover exotic animals

  • Offer coverage up to $1 million per animal

  • Has in-house claims experts to help you 

Cons
  • As a specialty insurer, they don’t have other forms of business or farm insurance

  • Offer coverage nationally but only have an office in Arizona

  • Higher degree of coverage than most farmers need

Allen Financial Insurance Group wins for best mortality coverage because they provide up to $1 million per animal in mortality coverage and insure a wide variety of animals. Allen Financial Insurance Group is one of the best places to go if you need a complex livestock mortality insurance policy because they cover everything from production animals to high-valued exotic animals to aquatic animals like dolphins and orcas. They also cover specific perils that others in the industry rarely offer protection for, such as government slaughter in case of disease and quarantine costs. 

The costs of your livestock mortality policy will vary highly depending on the animals you are protecting, the level of protection (they offer coverage of up to $1 million per animal and $10 million per farm), your husbandry standards, your animal health status, your local disease status, and the availability of local veterinary facilities, among other factors. 

You can apply for a policy online, call the 24-hour customer service hotline, or email to get more information. They also have claims experts in-house that support you through the process if you need to make a claim.

Allen Financial Insurance Group was founded in 1971 and is based in Phoenix, Arizona. They have a long history of working with partners to underwrite complex insurance policies for specialized industries.

Best for Exotic Farm Animals : American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance

 American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance provides customizable policies to protect your livestock and has options that cover more exotic farm animals like bison, buffalo, llamas, alpacas, deer, elk, ostriches, and emu. 

Pros
  • Covers a number of natural disasters not typically covered like sinkholes

  • Collision and in-transit coverage included

Cons
  • You need to buy an add-on policy to cover things like drowning and attacks by dogs

  • Does not cover death by disease

  • Does not cover earthquakes

American Family’s covers 14 different kinds of farm animals for a number of specific perils not covered by other policies thus winning for the best exotic farm animal category. American Family’s coverage will protect you against things like accidents, natural disasters, weather, crimes and civil unrest, and collision, but it will not protect you against accidental shootings, drownings, attacks by dogs or wild animals, or building collapse. However, American Family offers add-ons to protect you against these risks. 

American Family’s livestock and cattle insurance rates vary significantly depending on the type of coverage you get. They offer both an unscheduled blanket policy and a scheduled livestock policy. With the blanket coverage, you insure all your farm property under one amount, but with scheduled cattle and livestock coverage, you can pick which animals to insure and have a specific coverage amount for each. This ensures that your high-valued animals, like those used in breeding, are sufficiently covered.  

To get coverage, contact your American Family Insurance agent, chat with them online, or call them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They also make filing a claim easy; you can do so online, via phone, or by connecting with your agent. 

American Family is a trusted name in the insurance business and has been in business since 1927. In 2020, AM Best gave it a financial strength rating of A.

Final Verdict

The livestock insurance companies that made our list all offer options that will protect your animals, but each of the companies offers slightly different products that cover different risks or perils. Some allow you to customize your insurance coverage in order to tailor your policy to best meet your needs and the perils your animals might face. Others offer a number of helpful add-ons to give you added peace of mind. 

Overall, we recommend Nationwide’s livestock insurance coverage options because they provide a customizable policy and have a number of other coverage levels and options for your farm or ranch that make it easy for you to get the coverage you need while keeping all your policies in one place.

Compare Providers

Company AM Best Rating Average Annual Premium Customer Service Options Other Available Farm Insurance Options
Nationwide
Best Overall
A+ Not stated online Connect with an agent via phone or online Has three general farm insurance plans with different levels of protection and 9 different customized farm add-on policy options 
Axa XL
Best for Cattle Breeders
A+ Not stated online Connect via phone or through an online form Offers crop insurance, aquacutlure insurance, and agriculture treaty insurance
The Hartford Best Theft Policy A+ Not stated online Connect via phone, email, or with an agent Offers livestock transit coverage, business coverage, and equine mortality insurance
Shelter Insurance
Best Variety of Covered Perils
A Not stated online Connect via phone, email, or an online form Offers farm property insurance, farm liability coverage, farm owners insurance, and farm equipment insurance
Allen Financial Insurance Group
Best for Animal Mortality Coverage
N/A Not stated online Connect via phone or email Offers 12 different kinds of equestrian insurance.
American Family Insurance
Best for Exotic Farm Animals
A Not stated online Connect with an agent over the phone or via chat Has a customizable Farm policy with optional add-on coverages

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Does Livestock Insurance cover? 

Livestock insurance is an insurance policy for farmers that reimburses you for the value of your farm animals if they die or experience injury or illness due to common accidental or natural causes that aren’t specifically excluded in your policy. Livestock insurance usually covers your animals against theft and often covers your animals on your farm and ranch, as well as in transit. 

How Much Does Livestock Insurance Cost? 

The cost of livestock insurance depends on a number of factors like the type of animals being insured, the size of your farming operation, the way you insure the animals (individual, blanket, or herd), the deductibles you chose, and the specific perils included in your policy. According to General Liability, the average cost for livestock and cattle insurance for a small farm ranges from $67 to $89 per month.

Is Livestock Insurance the Same as Farm and Ranch Insurance? 

While livestock insurance can be included within farm and ranch insurance or exist as an add-on option to your policy, they are typically different insurance products. Farm and ranch insurance provides property and liability insurance that can cover both your home and farm operations. While it covers your livestock under specific circumstances as it would any other kind of property, it does not cover some of the specific risks that you experience as a livestock farmer, such as accidental animal deaths that livestock insurance covers. 

What Types of Animals Are Protected by Livestock Insurance? 

You should be able to find a policy to cover almost any type of farm animal, however, some insurance companies will only insure certain more common animals through their policies. Animals like cows, hogs, sheep, horses, goats, and lambs are easier to find coverage for, whereas coverage of animals like llamas and alpacas are more difficult to find. Some policies also exclude certain kinds of coverage for certain kinds of animals. For example, some companies don’t cover animal attacks on sheep but will cover animal attacks on other types of livestock. 

Who Should Consider Buying Livestock Insurance?  

If you are a farmer who owns livestock and your income is dependent on your animals, you would benefit from getting livestock insurance. This is especially true if your animals are high value or used for breeding and their loss would greatly affect your farm income. 

How We Chose the Best Livestock Insurance Companies

We researched a dozen companies that offer livestock insurance and narrowed our choices down based on things like coverage options, other policies offered, and the types of perils covered. We also considered the reputation of the company, the company’s customer service options, and the ease of dealing with the company. 

The top contenders on this list all have a reputation of providing great insurance coverage to farmers, have been in business for years, and many offer ways to customize your livestock insurance policy to your specific needs.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Nationwide. "Company Ratings." Accessed March 1, 2021. 

  2. Axa XL. "Ratings." Accessed March 22, 2021.

  3. AM Best. "Hartford Fire Insurance Company." Accessed March 22, 2021.

  4. Shelter Insurance. "Financial Reports." Accessed March 22, 2021.

  5. AM Best. "AM Best affirms American Family's 'A' Financial Strength Rating." Accessed March 21, 2021.

  6. General Liability. "Livestock and Cattle Insurance." Accessed March 28, 2021.