Agribusinesses rely on good weather to survive from year to year—and when that weather fails, they rely on their insurance companies to keep them afloat. Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all policy may not suit your operation, leaving you underpaid when disaster strikes. Attorney Bill Voss explores essential forms of wind insurance coverage for growers, including add-on coverages that can make the difference after a windstorm.
Protecting Your Farm or Orchard From Severe Wind Damage
Every growing and farming operation is different and will have unique assets that should be included under specific policies. A small family farm will likely have different needs than a commercial row-crop farm, and urban or organic growers may face perils that are foreign to large-scale operators. No matter what type of agribusiness you are involved in, you should carefully examine your property, machinery, and inventory when selecting wind damage coverage for:
- Farm structures and dwellings. All structures on your property should be specifically included in your policy, not just the farmhouse or family dwelling. You should also consider coverage for trees, plants, and lawns that surround all covered dwellings, as well as private structures (such as TV antennas or satellite dishes). If you have specialized personal property onsite (such as antique furniture, firearms, jewelry, or family graves), you should consider enhancements that will cover these losses.
- Farm machinery and auto coverage. Wind may not directly damage vehicles and heavy machinery, but it can easily cause branches to break and fall on windshields.
- Crops and plants. The property insurance that covers dwellings and structures may not extend to row crops, flowering plants, or fruit and nut trees. Wind insurance should cover main crops as well as smaller fields, and owners should consider a policy extension to clean up any broken limbs or discarded crops.
- Seasonal losses. Winds can cause the early dropping of fruit from trees and shred leaves of growing plants, spoiling an entire season in a few hours. Seasonal protection insurance can replace lost profits from crop sales, allowing the owner to stay in business despite a bad year.
- Natural disasters. Growers along the Texas coast will likely need to purchase a separate windstorm policy from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) due to the high risk of gale-force winds.
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