Q&A: What insurance cover do you need on your farm?

Gerard Cott, a sales executive with FBD Insurance, has almost three decades of experience dealing with farmers’ insurance needs in the Munster region. Below, he answers some of the questions farmers may have about insurance and explains why it’s vital to protect your assets.

Are farmers required under law to have insurance?

It is not a requirement by law. Having said that, if you own property, it’s vital that you protect your assets to the best of your ability with the appropriate cover. Remember it’s not always about price but the depth of cover you get.

If someone has an accident – either on your property or on the public highway – the resulting claim could be greater than the value of your asset.

If you own property or livestock, you have a liability and a duty of care to the public. Given this, it’s vital that you have the correct cover.

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What is the difference between public and personal liability?

Public liability insurance covers legal liability for injury, disease or property damage caused to a member of the public arising from your farming activities.

Personal liability covers liability that may attach to a farmer in a personal capacity. An example would be while partaking in sport.

FBD’s public liability cover provides personal liability cover for the farmer and all family members residing with the farmer.

What is personal accident insurance?

Another form of cover which can be very important to farmers is personal accident cover. While liability cover protects your liabilities to third parties, personal accident cover provides specified financial benefits to the farmer should he/she be involved in an accident.

For cover to operate, the accident must be caused directly by accidental means. Examples would be injuries caused as a result of a vehicle or machinery accident.

With more farmers becoming employers, what insurance cover do they need?

Under the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 2005, all employers and self-employed farmers must carry out a workplace risk assessment and write up a Safety Statement.

All hazards, risks and appropriate controls must be identified, implemented and communicated to all employees – including part-time employees.

Farmers with three or less employees can comply with the Safety Statement requirement by completing the Farm Safety Code of Practice Risk Assessment document.

Employers’ liability cover can be taken out by farmers. This cover provides protection against legal liability for injury or disease caused to employees of the farmer in the course of their farming duties.

FBD provides a standard limit of indemnity of €13 million. We can tailor your policy to suit the particular needs of your farming enterprise.

We also uniquely provide employers’ liability cover for all farm family members over the age of 14. Likewise, family members returning to help out on the farm – at weekends or summer holidays – are covered under the standard policy.

However, some activities can fall outside what is considered standard farming practice. These must be declared to us to allow us to extend your cover accordingly.

These activities may include horse training or agricultural contracting. To be sure of the extent of your cover, contact your local FBD office and they will only be delighted to assist you.

Having employers’ liability is important when you employ or ask anyone to come onto your farm to undertake a task.

If a claim arises, you have cover to compensate for any potential losses if you are deemed legally liable. For your own piece of mind, it would be reassuring to know that the injured party will be compensated.

Before instructing an employee, farmers must ensure that he/she is fit to undertake the task in a safe manner and are equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

What happens if my dog attacks sheep?

If you own a dog that strays and attacks sheep, public liability will cover the damage caused by the dog. However, the person who has suffered the loss must prove that it was your dog that caused the losses.

In many instances, sheep farmers may not actually be able to prove whose dog carried out the attack. So, sheep farmers can insure their flocks against attacks. In FBD, we provide such cover to farmers.

Can breeding stock be insured?

FBD attends a lot of breeding sales throughout the year to offer farmers the opportunity to insure newly-purchased bulls or female stock. More expensive pedigree livestock can be insured on an individual basis against mortality arising in connection with injury or disease.

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Farmers can also insure their livestock for injury while in transit or if they stray from the insured’s property. The policy can also provide cover against accidental injury arising in connection with the collapse of slats.

Can farmers insure against a loss of income?

That’s a feature of insurance that farmers would question from time to time. Every farmer has the option to cover lost of income and additional cost of working for a period of 12 months in the event of damage to the property insured under farm outbuildings.

It isn’t the most popular item. But, as farmers gear up the size of their businesses, it will be a big factor in the insurance market in times to come.

Can I insure my implements?

A lot of farmers would cover their equipment for fire damage when they are placing the items into storage. Comprehensive machinery insurance is also available and it would be utilised by farmers with top-spec machinery.

Tractor insurance – be it third party, third party fire and theft or comprehensive – is freely available. This cover can also be used to insure the farm implement attached to the tractor.

Do I need insurance to drive a quad on the public highway?

The first thing I would say is that quads need to be treated with the utmost respect. Like all vehicles destined for the road, quads are subject to the Road Traffic Act.

If a quad is used on the public highway, at the very minimum, it must be covered by third party insurance.

Can I insure my farm buildings against storm damage?

Storm insurance is available on buildings, provided the building is sound structurally and well maintained when inspected.

Where can I get health and safety warning signs?

If the existing farm safety sign has become faded, FBD customers can call to their local branch and get a replacement sign free of charge.

FBD Insurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.