If you're running a commercial farm, you likely know there are a lot of moving parts. That means there are always a number of things that could go wrong unexpected. Having the right insurance for your agribusiness will keep the tractor tires rolling. That's where an independent insurance agent is a must-have.
Your independent insurance agent is a knowledgable resource when it comes to insuring all aspects of your agribusiness including your liability. Knowing how coverage works and where to get it is essential in running a business, so here's a bit of background to help get you started.
Agribusiness Liability: How to Insure
Insuring your farm is one thing, but your farm's liability is a whole a separate complex matter. Your agribusiness needs to be protected for possible bodily injury and property damage and that's just where liability will step in. In a farm business, time is of the essence and everything has a season. Making sure your policy responds when you need it most is key.
Insuring your farm is one thing, but your farm's liability is a whole Your agribusiness needs to be protected for possible bodily injury and property damage and that's just where liability will step in. In a farm business, time is of the essence and everything has a season. Making sure your policy responds when you need it most is key.
Your independent insurance agent will need to know the following to get started:
- Your farm's specifics: What does your farm yield in crops, livestock, and products? How many pieces of machinery and farm equipment does your farm have? Who operates the machinery? Does your farm use pesticides and chemicals for crops? Does your farm let the public have access to it, like for weddings or apple picking?
- What preemptive protection do you have in place: Are there proper protocols in place to keep the public off-premises or make sure they're following proper safety rules? Is livestock properly penned to keep them from escaping? Does farm equipment and machinery remain disengaged and locked down when not in use? Are there security cameras throughout the farm?
When to Get Liability Insurance for Your Agribusiness
Time is usually of the essence when it comes to insuring your commercial farm the right way. The longer you wait to insure or insure properly, the more things could go wrong without coverage. There are independent insurance agents that know how to insure your farm and what exposures could be a potential threat down the road.
Let's say someone wanders onto your not so secure farm and decides to take a ride on a tractor that you always leave the keys in for ease of use. After all, you and your employees are the only ones who have access to the farm, or so you thought. Next thing you know, this "guest" has plowed through your cornfield maze and worse fell off in the process breaking a leg. Now, who do you think they will be expecting to foot the bill? You're right if you said you would. Having a knowledgable resource in your corner is a good way to protect your livelihood.
Steps to Take In Minimizing Liability Risk
By now you should know that the main purpose of insurance, any insurance, is a transfer of risk. You're essentially transferring your farm's risk to the insurance carrier and paying a monthly, quarterly, or annual premium for the right to tap into their reserves should a claim ever arise.
In order to get the best and lowest premiums, insurance companies like to see that you take farm safety seriously. And by that, they want you to be as proactive in your business at minimizing risk as possible. The more risk you avoid, the more risk they avoid, and they'll reward you by lower premiums.
Some premium saving, risk-minimizing things to do on your farm:
- Hold regular safety meetings to educate employees on proper farm protocols.
- Have regular training both in the forefront and ongoing for employees.
- Have a designated safety officer to make sure rules are being complied with.
- Have only qualified employees that operate farm equipment and heavy machinery.
- Make sure your farm isn't open to the public.
- Keep all equipment and heavy machinery locked and disengaged.
- Having security cameras around the premises.
- Making sure livestock is secured and in designated fields and areas.
How Much Does Agribusiness Liability Insurance Cost?
The answer, it depends. It's dependent on your farm's specifics, what risk factors your farm has and how to cover the liability exposure. Every farmer has different metrics and as such comes different pricing. Speaking with your independent insurance agent will get you exacts on coverage and premium amounts. But for now here are some risk factors that will affect your liability insurance premium.
Liability risk factors:
- How you operate: How does your farm operate? Do you have specific safety measures and training in place? Are rules and regulations adhered to?
- Public: Do you allow the public on your farm? If so, what rules are put into place and how are they monitored are followed?
- Farmhands: Do you train them? Are only trained employees given permission to operate heavy machinery?
- Heavy machinery and farm equipment: Who is allowed to use? How are they trained? Is it accessible to the public? What precautions are in place to make sure it is not tampered with?
- Security: Does the farm have security measures in place? Such as surveillance cameras, assigning a safety or security officer and more.
- Locks: How is the farm equipment, chemicals, machinery and anything that could pose a general safety issue locked up?
Agribusiness Insurance for Weddings and Special Events
Does your farm allow things like weddings on-site? Or maybe you have an apple-picking orchard and allow the general public to come onto your humble abode when the seasons right to enjoy the fruit of your crop. Whatever you may offer to the public that allows them to come onto your farm you need to be sure your liability policy will cover that exposure.
The best way to do that is to get your independent insurance agent involved. They need to make a list and on that list will be these steps:
- Your agent will do a walk of your land to see any potential threats or risk factors that the insurance companies may see as a hazard.
- Your agent will then recommend steps to make your land safer to the general public and connect you with professionals that can help make sure it's done properly.
- Present your safe and ready for public farm to the insurance company so you can get the best rate and coverage possible.
The goal is to make your farm look good and safe to the insurance carriers and that's just what your independent insurance agent strives to do.
What Does Your Agribusiness Liability Insurance Cover, and What Does It Not?
When it comes to liability insurance for your farm it's essential to know what the policy covers and what it doesn't. Having all the facts will help you make an educated decision for your farm.
What your liability insurance generally covers:
Another great example would be if your employee was tilling the field with a piece of heavy machinery and unfortunately hit one of your neighbors near the property line. Causing bodily injury to your neighbor by one of your employees and your machinery. Your liability policy would have to respond.
Umbrella liability policy:
This is an additional liability policy that will go over your underlying general liability policy for your farm. It will kick in once your underlying policy limits have been exhausted due to a larger claim. It's important to have and most of the time a fraction of the price so you should look into it.
What your liability insurance doesn't cover:
- Bodily injury to your employees - this will fall under your workers' compensation policy.
- If you maliciously harm someone or their property - meaning on purpose out of anger, spite or revenge this will void out your coverage for that particular case.
The Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best coverage, accessibility and competitive pricing while working for you. And as your farm grows and your needs change, they'll be there to help you adjust your coverage, up or down, to make sure you're properly protected without overpaying. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Candace Jenkins
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