Agricultural & Estate

Agricultural and Estate

This is probably one of the more complex products available to our clients, it can cover property, liability and vehicle insurance, with a great degree of cover options within each area. Because of this most insurance companies provide cover via specialist underwriting agencies with the necessary skills to transact business in this marketplace. BH&S Insurance can access at least 4 such companies.

With agricultural and estate business, because of its diversity, most insurers offer a range of covers which can be selected or not insured depending on the client’s attitude to risk. A typical farm policy may have as many as 18 sections, so it is important to thoroughly review all the options, and consider which are essential for your needs.

We strongly suggest annual reviews to ensure changes made throughout the year are adequately reflected. By its very nature farm insurance is very diverse, from dairy to beef to arable, each type has their own peculiar cover requirements.

In the event of a claim most insurers would appoint a specialist agricultural loss adjustor who would be familiar with the industry. Obviously such adjustors would have in-depth knowledge of stock prices, rebuilding rates on agricultural property, milk and commodity prices. So once again it is important that your sums insured selected are adequate for your needs (an example of this is by ascertaining the number of cattle passports held multiplying by market prices, they can arrive very easily at the overall sum insured, and then see if this is reflected by the livestock figure on the policy, if under insured the claim would be reduced).

Unless you are a tenant farmer most farm insurance would insure the farmhouse buildings and contents. These structures need to be insured on a rebuilding cost basis to include demolition costs and all professional fees. Some properties may include non-standard materials such as cob or thatch, this needs to be reflected in the sum insured and declared to the insurer, as does any listed property. Our own experience is that older properties which have a large floor area such as a Devon longhouse, can easily be Insured for in excess of £500,000 on a rebuild basis.

When insuring farm buildings you need to decide if it would be replaced in its current form or if it would be replaced using modern materials (which would normally produce a lower sum insured). Insurers would assume most buildings would be unheated; care needs to be taken with poultry units, as in this trade, the heating substantially increases the fire risk.

Farm contents would normally fall into specified categories, please remember seasonal and annual price fluctuations as items such as fertilizer can vary greater one year to another. Livestock requires you to provide overall sums insured for various animal classes as suggested earlier these can be easily checked. Frequent claims involve sheep worrying, fatal injury away from the farm (whilst straying) and whilst in transit. It is possible to obtain mortality to include loss of use cover on high value stock items (i.e. breeding bulls and rams) at an additional cost.

Loss of Revenue or increased cost of working may be advisable for certain market segments. Dairy farmers, for instance, would struggle if unable to milk the stock due to a fire in the dairy equipment; movement restrictions would enhance the problem, so the only viable alternative may be to hire in expensive temporary equipment until the dairy is rebuilt.

Employers Liability is a statutory requirement, and the majority of farmers effect this cover to include occasional assistance they may bring in. Anyone that you direct and control what they do can be considered an employee.

Public Liability covers you against injury to other people (excluding employees) or damage to their property. This can be from livestock straying onto the road and causing an accident or injury to people on your land (even if trespassing). Many farms have had to diversify into a variety of supplementary trades to maintain their income; such activities need to be fully disclosed to insurers who normally provide a lower indemnity limit on these aspects. In particular agricultural contracting can be very diverse ranging from relief milking, fencing, and ground working to crop spraying; the insurer would need to know the turnover in each area.

Other options include loss of milk in tanks by contamination and failure to collect in adverse weather, goods in transit, semen flasks and contents and cattle passports. Personal accident and sickness may be required for principles or key staff, either on a basis sufficient to cover the individuals outgoings, or enough benefit to obtain a casual labourer to fill in and perform essential duties.

Farm vehicle policies generally cover three areas- private cars, commercial vehicles and agricultural vehicles. We recommend a motor policy even for unregistered vehicles especially if you have public rights of way on your land, as this falls under the road traffic act and so no cover would operate under the public liability in respect of third party claims. It is important to review agricultural vehicle values, as the premium directly relates to these. Most policies require all vehicles to be insured on a comprehensive basis to obtain the attached and detached cover on trailers and implements (up to £25,000) cover peculiar to these policies. Young drivers of cars and vans need to be advised, as does any additional use other than agricultural and forestry.

As mentioned at the outset, this type of insurance is diverse, spanning many areas of cover. We are always more than willing to call and discuss your specific need.