Monthly Archives: March 2014

Insuring Your Farm or Ranch

On the Olympic Peninsula between Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles and beyond, there are many small to medium-sized farm and ranch operators who look to Homer Smith Insurance for assistance with their insurance coverage.  Farms and ranches differ from other business operations since the owner usually both conducts business and lives on the same premises. Therefore, a farm or ranch has a combination of commercial and personal insurance needs.

One method for obtaining insurance coverage could be to purchase separate personal and commercial policies, but this could end up being confusing and more expensive.  Separate policies could allow for a number of insurance gaps and overlaps in coverage.  A more comprehensive and cost-effective way for a farmer or rancher to purchase insurance would be with products specifically designed for their type of operation.

The differences among various farms and ranches complicate the task of finding proper coverage. Successful farmers and ranchers tend to be specialists, yet are flexible in order to run efficient operations. Fortunately, farms and ranches have a number of elements that are common to all operations, so products have been developed for this challenging market.

One standard farm program uses a cafeteria approach to offer coverage. The owner of a farm or ranch operation may choose to have only Farm Property and Farm Inland Marine Forms to address the property coverages, but use the Commercial General Liability Forms for the liability coverage exposures. They may choose to use the Farm Umbrella or a Commercial Umbrella with a Farm Endorsement. A Homeowners policy may be used on the dwelling but a Farm property coverage form on everything else.

Options are an important feature of a good farm program. The following, basic coverages are widely available:

• The Farm Property Policy – covers farm-related buildings (residence, barns, sheds, silos, etc.)

• The Farm Inland Marine Policy – covers farm-related machinery and equipment

• The Farm Liability Policy – protects against damage or injury caused by farming/ranching activities

• The Farm Umbrella Policy – provides a higher level of liability protection

• The Farm Combination Policy – offers a way to bundle stand-alone farm/ranch coverages into a single package

Whether you raise animals, produce or both we, at Homer Smith Insurance, would be able to find the types of coverages you need.  Give Joan Sommantico a call at (360)385-3711.  She not only understands the special requirements of farmers and ranchers, but can asses all of your personal insurance needs and offer the optimum coverage.