April 27, 2021
Julie Moore, ACIP CRM
Manager, AB & BC Commercial Property Underwriting
SGI CANADA Insurance Services Ltd, Alberta
Whether you’re planting crops, raising livestock, or both, spring is a hectic time. While you’re waiting on the ground to thaw, now’s a good time to consider how to protect your investments.
Protect what goes into – and comes out of – the ground
Winter is generally the time when farmers stockpile for the growing season – buying all the seed, fertilizer, and chemicals that will be needed come spring, and putting them in storage. Depending on the size of the farming operation, that stockpile could easily be worth $100,000 or more, and losing a large portion to it to theft, fire, or water damage would be financially devastating if it’s not insured.
Later in the season, when the crops are being pulled off and stored prior to heading to market, a farmer’s risk level will go up again. There is a lot to think about on the farm when it comes to insurance, and what to insure: Grains, oilseeds, and pulses (both seeds and crops), as well as fruits and vegetables, animal fodder, fertilizer, and chemicals. You can also insure farm animals – cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, poultry, bees, exotic animals and birds, and other livestock – and don’t forget fencing or veterinary supplies.
Protect your buildings and equipment
If you’ve built or added on to any buildings on your property, bought any new equipment, or upgraded what you were using last year, it is a good idea to talk to your insurance broker about that, too. Keeping a record of the major equipment and buildings on your land for you and your broker to review to see what additional coverage you may need.
Farm insurance can cover pretty much any building on your property – homes (bundled with your farm insurance), barns, toolsheds, and/or rental housing – as well as your machinery and equipment. Keep in mind that if you run any additional businesses on your farm, you will need separate commercial insurance for those.
Farming also requires tools and supplies that you may not have fully inventoried, and there are also risks in running a large operation, such as a fire. There are insurance options available to cover a wide range of expenses – from the equipment you use to care for your livestock to the costs of firefighting and debris removal.
As prairie farmers get ready to plant over 77 million acres of crop land in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba this spring, they’ve got a lot on their minds.
While insurance can’t help with the physical labour that it takes to spray, seed, haul and fertilize, it can at least lift some of the mental burden, and, should something go wrong, help you out with repairs or replacement of lost income.
As a business operator, you also need protection should something happen on your farm that hurts someone else and/or their property – from pesticides getting onto a neighbour’s organic crop to a visitor breaking his leg after stepping into a hole. Most farm insurance includes a comprehensive liability coverage, for both personal and farming liability issues, and you can raise the coverage limit for extra protection. With the Canadian legal system awarding higher and higher court settlements, good coverage offers farmers more peace of mind should they face a lawsuit.