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Nationwide News: Do you have the right farm coverage?
In today’s volatile marketplace, many insurance companies that provide farm coverage for families like yours are making changes to their policies. The worst time to find out you don’t have the right coverage is when you have a claim.
“We recommend farmers ask their agents for an insurance review at least once a year,” said Jerry Hillard, associate vice president Farmowner Sales, 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.”
For instance, liability coverage under your farm policy is intended to provide protection for liabilities incurred from your personal and farming activities. When you branch into other business activities, you may not be covered. For example, a grain farmer who decides to run a corn maze, or a 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 activities.
“It’s also a good idea to have your agent update the values on your policy,” Hillard advised. “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.”
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 plans which may need to be adjusted to meet your changing wishes.
An annual insurance review is so important, Nationwide Agribusiness has made it the focus of a national ad campaign that launched June 1 featuring NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. The campaign includes print ads, TV spots, and online banner ads to reach farmers.
The devastation caused by dangerous tornadoes across the southeast United States recently has made the message even more critical. Farmers with adequate insurance coverage are positioned to recover faster and more completely than those who are underinsured.
“Your insurance agent should be a trusted member of your team,” Hillard pointed out. “The more your agent knows about your operation, the better he or she is able to help protect you, your family, and your farm.”
Insurance Review Checklist
Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company recommends farmers meet with their insurance agent at least annually. These topics may be relevant for your discussion:
• Additions or improvements
• New protective devices (smoke detectors/theft alarms/deadbolt locks)
• New heating units (wood burning stove/fireplace insert)
• New construction (garages/swimming pools/new fencing)
• Major new purchases
• Antiques or collectibles
• Review adequacy of values in light of changes in re-building costs.
• New construction since last review
• Planned construction in coming year
• Additions or improvements to existing buildings
• New storage units (bins, silos)
• Review adequacy of inventory limits with your agent.
• Additions or deletions of inventory (peak season coverage)
• Planned new purchases during coming year
• Significant changes in grain, livestock or commodity pricing
• Changes in volume of sales or other business activity
• New partnerships, joint ventures or other business affiliations
• New acreage acquired
• New acreage acquisitions planned
• Additional business activities begun or planned
• Boarding of horses or other animals
• Numbers of employees - increases or decreases
• Changes in vehicle ownership
• New vehicles added
• New drivers added
Discuss any changes in these areas:
• Birth/adoption of children
• Death of family members
• Retirement/loss of job if employed off farm
• Additional sources of income/inheritance