Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
Life on the farm is subject to change. Employees come and go, farm equipment gets updated, new outbuildings are constructed and old barns are brought down. And synching your insurance with everything that’s changed is a vital step in keeping costs down. After all, you only want to spend money on coverages you need, not on farm equipment that you sold two months ago, right? That’s why it’s so crucial to schedule an annual insurance review.
Consider everything that’s changed since your last insurance review and you’ll likely find an update is in order. Being insured carefully can make a big difference, and it’s our goal to make sure you’re well protected.
Here are some things to consider as you prepare for your annual farm or ranch policy review.
Take inventory. Even small changes on site can have big effects on liability, so it’s important to carefully identify all the ways things have changed. Taking a look at the big ticket items either purchased or sold last year is a good first step. Have a list of these assets on hand for the review. This way your agent will be able to identify how your policy needs to be adjusted to get the most out of your coverage.
Shifts in employees. During the time between your last review and now, how has your employee profile changed? Were new employees added or have others moved on? How does this current figure compare to the number of employees you have now? Are seasonal or temporary laborers in more demand than they were previously? The answers to these questions will drive your coverage needs. And you’ll likely need to update your workers compensation insurance to reflect your current employee count. While you’re looking at your employee’s roles and responsibilities, now’s a perfect time to review your business insurance needs.
Farm and Ranch proprietor changes. Has your business changed ownership or have key players been added? Do you plan to pass your legacy on to the next generation in the coming years? Succession plans are complex and should be managed carefully. Before you start developing yours, consider these steps to creating a farm succession plan. Let your agent know these details early and get a head start on the hand-off.
Another key update to make should focus on shifts that have taken place to your property. Living space changes and the sale or purchase of cars, tractors, ATVs and trucks should be reviewed.
Home and residence coverage. Did you recently finish your basement or build an addition to your home? Now is a great time to review your dwelling insurance coverage, since the value of your home most likely went up from the renovations. You’ll want to ensure your coverage limits fit your needs. Protection for your home and possessions can be essential to maintaining operations if the unexpected should happen.
Barns, sheds and outbuildings. Additions and renovations to these buildings are also important to keep in mind. Take a closer look at farm structure and outbuilding insurance.
Vehicles owned by the farm or ranch. Take a look at your coverage for all vehicles on site. From tractors to combines and sprayers, your tractor and farm equipment insurance needs can be fine-tuned to better cover these vehicles from the unexpected.
Changes to feed storage. In addition to tractor and equipment, has the way you’re storing feed or commodities changed? Farm personal property protection adjustments may be necessary.
Fire protection. Is your farm or ranch well insured against fires? Have new sprinkler or fire suppression systems been installed since you last reviewed your insurance? Maybe you recently installed a new, fire retardant roof. Update your policy if so.
It’s important to look carefully at your livestock as well. Did you invest in high value livestock recently? A specific policy to cover these types of animals should be considered. Also, if you’re farm or ranch has grown considerably since you last checked in with your agent, it may be time to upgrade and strengthen your policy.
Livestock and cattle insurance. Your animals are considered your personal property regardless of where a covered loss occurs. If your cattle count has shifted since last year, make sure that figure reflects your current number. Get in the know about your options for livestock and farm animal insurance coverage.
Review your commercial agribusiness policy. If you don’t have one already, consider adopting an agribusiness policy to further protect your livestock, tractors, farm equipment and outbuildings from the unexpected. Your diverse insurance needs can be customized to go beyond the protection offered by a general farm insurance policy. As your business grows, you’ll find that this added layer of security can offer real peace of mind.
Revisit your umbrella and farm liability policy. Your liability insurance covers bodily injury and medical expenses for people accidentally injured on your property. And the liability insurance can cover damage you cause to someone else’s property. Additional farm & ranch umbrella liability policies are available to add an extra level of liability coverage over your primary insurance limits. In the event you’re liable for a serious accident or if you face substantial legal fees that surpass your farm’s standard liability limit, you’ll have extra coverage in place to help protect your finances.
While there are a lot of good reasons to carefully review your farm & ranch policy annually, it simply makes great financial and business sense to do so. No two farms or ranches are alike, so when the time comes for your annual review, your agent (Opens in a new tab) will help you create a plan that only covers what you need — you’ll feel great knowing that your investments are protected.