Start with an evaluation
The first step to developing a comprehensive insurance coverage plan is to take an honest evaluation of the current farming operation. “That system’s check is probably the most critical part of the process,” Etheridge says. “Step back and look at your operation like you were looking at it for the first time. There are parts of every farming operation that you see every day and may not realize how it could impact your insurance coverage options.”
Think of it as an exposure check. Do you drive machinery on busy highways? Do you truck grain long distances? Do you provide custom work? Do you have customers who visit your farm on a regular basis? “Look at what you have and what you want to protect,” Conroy says. “The amount of exposure that you have dictates the amount of insurance you may need.”
And while property and liability insurance does have a cost associated with it, experts say it’s important to first evaluate what you want to protect before looking at costs. “Costs are part of the equation, but you need to know what assets you have and what you need to adequately protect those assets first,” Etheridge says.
“Insurance is all about mitigating risks,” she adds. “We use crop insurance and hedges for risk management to protect the value of our crops. Other kinds of insurance help us protect the rest of the operation.”