What is a hobby farm and how to insure it?

Hobby Farm? What You Should Know About Insuring It

Posted by on Apr 06, 2020 in Insurance Advice

If you live on a hobby farm, you might assume your home insurance has you covered; however, there are many things a hobby farm has that most properties don’t. This leaves you vulnerable to losses should you encounter issues. Whether it’s fire, flooding, storms, vandals or theft, your hobby farm has additional challenges that require coverage of their own. Here we review what you should know about insuring your hobby farm, so you aren’t left holding the bag if something happens.

Addressing Gaps in Coverage

The only way to make sure you don’t have gaps in your insurance is to make sure you have the right insurance. Regular home insurance is not designed to address the specifics of a hobby farm. You have to look at everything you do on your hobby farm and the risks these aspects pose for potential lawsuits. We can advise you on the exact coverage you will need from your farm operations to your equipment, and from visitors being allowed to participate in aspects of the farm, to any commercial activity you might be operating.

Farm Liability

Every hobby farm has its own unique needs. For example, you might have livestock on your farms, such as a cow for milk, or chickens for fresh eggs. You might grow a small field of hay to feed your livestock and harvest it using specialty equipment. All of these things are covered by special farm liability insurance. It can be customized to meet your special farm-related needs, such as:
  • Limited pollution liability
  • Public liability — due to farming operation
  • Renting farmland to another farme
  • Non-owned livestock liability
  • Accident liability for you, “customers”, visitors, neighbours, etc.
You have to look at everything you do on your hobby farm and the risks these aspects pose for potential lawsuits. Share this information with your insurance company so they can advise you on the exact coverage you will need from your farm operations to your equipment, and from visitors being allowed to participate in aspects of the farm, to any commercial activity you might be operating. Without proper coverage, when something goes wrong, you could be on the hook for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on what type of lawsuits you might face.

Transporting Animals

If you raise prize chickens or other livestock you take to local fairs, or you even have a travelling petting zoo, you need coverage when livestock is transported. Off-farm activities are not covered by home insurance or even most farm insurance. You need special insurance for coverage if you participate in these types of activities or business endeavours. If your animals are injured, or if they cause injury, you will be the one to pay for losses and damages.

Farm Assets

Have you considered all of your assets and dangers on your property that could lead to costly repairs? For example, if you have livestock in a pen, the fence is damaged, and your livestock runs off, who pays for that? What about the damage your animals may cause to neighbouring properties and farms. What if your old barn or silo collapses and injures or kills livestock? What if someone steals your tractor and drives through your hay or cornfields and destroys your agricultural assets? Many scenarios can put your assets at risk. With the right hobby farm insurance, you can have coverage for even these unforeseen scenarios.

Farm Vehicles

There are also all of your vehicles, including recreational vehicles such as UTVs and ATVs. While you might have arranged for your recreational vehicle insurance, you might overlook your farm vehicles such as tractors or trailers to transport animals. All of these vehicles can be damaged in accidents, and without coverage, you will be responsible for paying for repairs. This can be very costly, so making sure you have coverage for all of your farm vehicles is a must.

Commercial Operations

Many hobby farm owners have some basic things they choose to sell, such as fresh eggs, fresh-cut flowers or perennial bulbs, honey, or small batches of vegetables. Because of this, you want to look at your commercial farm produce insurance options to make sure you are covered should you lose any of your assets, or as mentioned above, a customer is injured or even made ill by food items you sell. You need special allowance when you own acreage for a market garden or grazing land for your livestock, and of course, the livestock itself. Your circumstances should be assessed, so you know everything is covered. You face more potential disasters as a hobby farm owner and therefore want to make concessions for those risks. Remember, even if your commercial operations are very limited, you should also consider coverage for loss of income. You need to keep your livestock fed and be able to pay your medical bills, as well as veterinary bills. Proper insurance will look after all of these unexpected eventualities. We can work with you to provide a customized hobby farm insurance policy that addresses all of your specific needs. This is one area where tailor-made insurance is a must to cover all your bases and ensure you are not faced with unexpected events that can lead to the loss of your home or bankruptcy. To learn more about insuring your hobby farm, call Oegema Nicholson at 613-704-7766 or contact us here.

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