Economic volatility in commodity prices, construction expenses and labor costs may mean your insurance coverage no longer meets your current situation. The worst time to find out you don’t have enough insurance is when you have a claim.
“We recommend farmers ask their agents for an insurance review at least once a year,” says Jerry Hillard, Farm Sales AVP, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, Des Moines, Iowa. “A lot can change on a farm that could impact your coverage needs, things you may not even think about until it’s too late.”
If your farm or ranch changes, take a look at your insurance. For instance, liability coverage under your policy is intended to provide protection for liabilities incurred from your personal and farming or ranching activities. When you branch into other business activities, you may not be covered. The grain farmer who decides to run a corn maze, or the hay farmer who adds some custom farming, may need additional coverage.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your insurance agent advised of both current and planned changes in your farm or ranch activities.
“It’s also a good idea to have your agent update the values on your policy,” Hillard advises. “With the roller coaster volatility we’ve seen in commodity pricing over the last few years, there is a good chance that your inventory may be either over- or under-insured.”
Let your agent know about changes on your farm or ranch and in your home
Anything new should be reviewed. Building costs for repairs or new construction also need to be considered, along with any major new purchases. If you’ve bought a new diamond ring for your spouse or a new shotgun for yourself, you’ll want to review your coverages with your agent.
Be sure to let your agent know about any major life changes, like marriage, divorce, death in the immediate family or new income sources. All of these can alter your succession/estate planning needs, which should be adjusted to meet your changing wishes.
Nationwide Agribusiness has developed the On Your Side® Farm Certification training program that encourages an annual review. Farm Certified agents will use their additional training in farm loss control to help ensure you have exactly the right protection – not too much and not too little – for your current needs. Farmers or ranchers can find a Farm Certified agent by using the agent locator at www.farmagentfinder.com.
“Your insurance agent should be a trusted member of your team,” Hillard points out. “Your agent should work with you to structure the right program for your needs. The more your agent knows, the better he or she is able to help protect you, your family and your farm.”