When your farm is both your home and your business, insurance can seem like a complicated topic.
In fact, it’s an opportunity to get a single policy that meets all your needs. The key is being certain what you want from a farm insurance policy and making sure your insurer provides it.
The starting point is protecting your property and contents against damage such as fire, theft, flooding and other disasters.
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Utility vehicles or ATVs designed for use on farms can increase liability. This is mainly because these vehicles are known to be associated with high-risk behaviors, such as operating the vehicle without the use of protective equipment.
If you routinely ride your ATV or utility vehicle, be sure to always use good judgment and wear proper protective equipment, such as a helmet. Additionally, avoid behaviors that are known to increase risk of injury, such as riding on roads that are intended for automobiles.
Say, for example, that the beef produced from the cows raised or kept on a farm causes illness in a consumer when it’s eaten.
To combat this risk, add an endorsement that modifies your insurance policy to protect you from these potential mistakes.
Equipment used on a farm has a high risk of mechanical breakdown. For example, a farmer's combine or chopper could ingest a rock causing equipment failure.
Add Foreign Object Ingestion coverage so the repairs on your combine or chopper will be covered on your policy. Ask your agent if your policy has this coverage since it is not "automatic" on most farm policies.
During harvest, a farmer often stores grain in grain bins, and this grain usually sells within a few months. Coverage is needed while the grain is on-site, but it could get expensive to fully maintain this coverage during the rest of the year when no grain is present on the farm.
Cover the grain under peak season. This option tailors your coverage to provide increased amounts of insurance during the months in which you have grain on your farm. This type of coverage can be applied to any harvested crop, not just grains.
Pollution is an increasing risk that can occur due to the improper storage or application of pesticides and fertilizers, runoff, and above ground or underground storage tanks.
It is difficult to control pollution risks on your farm, but it is not impossible. You can protect yourself against this type of risk by obtaining environmental insurance that provides protection for both bodily injury and property damage caused by a farm pollution incident.
What happens when your farm faces a large liability loss that exceeds the basic limit of your standard policy?
A commercial umbrella insurance policy increases your liability limits by adding protection over and above your current farm policies - providing real financial value, as well as priceless peace of mind. Commercial umbrella insurance is available either by an endorsement to your farm policy or as separate coverage.
If you're caring for livestock owned by others on your farm and an unfortunate event occurs causing the death of some or all of this livestock, you may be held responsible.
To protect yourself and your farm from this type of risk, add care, custody, and control to your insurance policy as an endorsement.
Does your farm provide services for others? If so, you may be held responsible for the business activities related to these services.
To protect yourself from any type of incident relating to these business activities, add an endorsement for custom farming to your insurance policy.
There are many uncontrollable factors that affect the growth of field crops, such as weather. Are you prepared for what might happen if your crops are devastated by an uncontrollable incident?
You can protect your livelihood and investment from this type of unavoidable risk with the addition of multi-peril crop insurance.
If you have a barn or farm structure, a loss to these structures can be catastrophic, potentially putting the farm out of business.
Be sure you have adequate property coverage to protect your farm from potential catastrophic loss.
If your tractor, combine, harvester, or other farming equipment has cab glass, that glass could break. It can be an expensive repair and cause your equipment to be unavailable for an extended amount of time.
Be sure you have coverage to help pay for repairs or other service work for broken glass.
Some policies will cover everything, while others will specifically protect either your personal dwelling and possessions, or the equipment and buildings used in your agricultural business. In the latter case, make certain you check the definitions and exclusions.
Also consider insurance for livestock, harvested grains and so on. Ask how the replacement costs are calculated; specifically, whether lost profits are part of the calculations.
As with any business, you’ll also need to look into workers’ compensation for employees, liability insurance for visitors to your premises and specialty coverage for any vehicles you use for work rather than just for personal driving.
To take the next step in protecting your livelihood, contact us today.
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