Insurance policies vary according to individual operations, and each farmer should make sure his/her own policy covers current activities of the farm and provides adequate coverage for any losses related to those activities.

“Some insurance policies may exclude custom work,” says Philip Harris, professor of agriculture and applied economics, University of Wisconsin–Madison/Extension. “If you decide one spring to do some custom work, you need to ensure that your current policy has that work written in with a rider, or you write a new policy. You don’t want to find out after an accident or loss that you may not be covered.”

Another example of having the right coverage comes in family partnerships. For example, if a father and son are farming together, they may have insurance for the partnership. But any machinery owned outside that partnership also must be covered. “If Dad is driving down the road with a combine he owns outside of the insured partnership and has an accident, the partnership insurance may not cover the loss,” Etheridge says. “It is critical that not only the right policies are written, but that they are written for the correct entities engaged in the operation.”

A producer can be exposed to potential loss in thousands of ways. “The amount of coverage necessarily varies by producer and the activities they are involved in,” says Gary Hachfeld, extension educator in agricultural business management, University of Minnesota.