According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, there are around 20,000 fires on agricultural properties every year, resulting in approximately $102 million in property losses annually. Of those fires, about two-thirds take place in crop fields or orchards, and the losses often very costly for the facility or farm affected. Attorney Bill Voss has handled property insurance cases for many farmers and owner of agriculture businesses, and he would like to share some information about some of the most common causes of damaging fires on these complicated properties.
The Most Common Kinds of Agricultural Fires
Agricultural fires are caused by many factors, ranging from the natural to the reckless or criminal. However, the U.S. Fire Administration data shows that the following are among the most common types of fires that affect agricultural properties:
- Open flames. Open flames may be present on an agricultural site for a number of reasons, including welding or bonfires, and can ignite structures, structure contents, or flammable liquids.
- Heating systems. Many agricultural businesses rely on heating systems to extend growing seasons and get livestock through cold weather. However, malfunctions and accidents can lead to major fires when heating systems are in use.
- Wildfires, lightning, and other natural causes. Sometimes, fires start naturally or spread rapidly due to weather conditions or regional factors. For example, find out more about commercial insurance coverage for wildfires.
- Equipment fires. These might be fires that originate with cars, trucks, tractors, or other machinery commonly used on family farms and larger commercial farms. Around 45 percent of structural fires on agricultural properties involve equipment.
- Electrical fires. Electrical fires can originate with faulty wiring, appliances, or tools, especially when not maintained properly. For help with loss mitigation, see our checklist for preventing electrical fires on the farm.
Although fires can’t always be prevented by precaution, the owners of agricultural properties can take steps to protect their investments from potential fire risks. And—whether an agricultural property is producing small-scale specialty crops or processing large-scale harvests—part of effective loss mitigation is purchasing fire insurance coverage that fits the property’s needs and reviewing that coverage regularly.
Get Experienced Help With Denied, Delayed, and Underpaid Fire Insurance Claims
Because fires are often so costly, agricultural insurance companies sometimes deny, delay, or underpay claims unfairly to protect themselves against loss. If you are having trouble with a property insurance claim for a farm or agricultural business, reach out to the experienced attorneys with the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730, or request a copy of our helpful book, Understanding Agricultural Insurance Claims.