Know your farm liabilities: Does your policy cover all the risks?

AXA knows that understanding everything in your policy isn’t easy so to help, the company has broken down the main types of liability cover you’ll find in farm insurance.

Insurance cover is one of the major recurring costs of running a farm. It’s important to analyse the details on your farm to ensure that the policy you are taking out covers all the risks.

Knowing your cover options will ensure that you choose the best protection for your business and future. With good insurance cover, you can be better prepared for whatever comes your way.

Public liability

This is one of the most important types of cover to consider. While no two farms are the same, every farm is exposed to the risk of a public liability claim.

What is covered?

Public liability insurance covers your legal responsibility to the public, visitors and suppliers should something go wrong while they’re on your farm.

In the event of a claim against you following an injury, disease or property damage on your farm, public liability insurance will cover the amounts you’re legally responsible to pay.

The typical claims with public liability are:

  • Cattle straying onto the road causing damage;
  • Muck on the road causing a motor accident;
  • Falling trees/branches.

Why is it important to have public liability cover?

This is a very critical area of cover that shouldn’t be overlooked. Failure to have adequate public liability protection or failure to disclose the full extent of your farming activities to an insurer could have future consequences on the family farm holding.

To avoid this – consider all aspects of your farming enterprise and inform your insurer who will offer suitable protection.

Remember, the insurer will only know what you inform them of. When choosing your cover, it’s important to declare all your activities, e.g. mixed farming and agricultural contracting, tillage farming and spreading of sludge.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before selecting your cover:

  1. Do I engage in activities on the farm which are outside the norm?
  2. Do I allow groups of people to access the farm?
  3. Do I sell/distribute farm produce to the market?
  4. Do other businesses operate from my farm?
  5. Do I operate a farm partnership?

Employers liability

This is a separate cover to public liability. Everybody needs help from time to time, whether it’s from family members, friends or seasonal employees.

It’s important to be protected should anything happen to your employees or voluntary helpers while working on your farm.

What is covered?

Employers liability insurance helps cover the cost of compensation for your employee’s injuries or illness which may occur while working on your farm.

This cover also includes family members working on your farm over 14 years-of-age.

Common farm injury claims include:

  • Livestock;
  • Machinery;
  • Slips, trips and falls.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before selecting your cover:

  1. Do family help on the farm?
  2. Do I have paid permanent help on the farm?
  3. Do I have casual help on the farm?
  4. Do I have neighbours/friends that help us from time to time?
  5. Do I hire apprentices?
  6. Do I hire people for work experience?

Farmer Duties

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, farmers have a duty to prepare a Farm Safety Statement and outline the risks and hazards on their farm.

As an alternative to preparing a written Safety Statement, the 2005 act also allows farmers with three or less employees to simply complete a Risk Assessment Document available to them.

A copy of the Code of Practice document can be obtained on the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) website.

Employee duties

Employees also have a duty as listed below:

  • Take care of themselves and others working with them;
  • Co-operate with their employers to enable them to comply with the law;
  • Use any personal protective equipment provided by their employers;
  • Report to their supervisors any hazard of which they become aware;
  • Did you know AXA cover is for family and non-family workers? It also provides cover for voluntary helpers at a reduced rate.

Environmental liability

We all have a growing responsibility to take care of our planet. Following recent EU Directives, you could be held liable for clean-up costs for you and your neighbours following a pollution incident.

AXA has recognised this potential exposure for farmers and has included Environmental Impairment Liability cover on all its farm policies.

What is covered?

This policy provides cover for accidental pollution and the cost to repair any damage caused to the affected environment.

Typical claim examples include:

  • Domestic heating oil;
  • Green diesel leak;
  • Slurry and silage effluent;
  • Pesticides;
  • Sewage and foul water;
  • Extinguishment water following a fire;
  • Asbestos.

Further information

For further information on the above or on AXA Smart Farm Insurance, visit: www.axa.ie/farm.

Alternatively, if you’d like to speak to one of AXA’s agri-specialists, contact Myles Reilly on: 087-390-1886.