Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Insurance warning as crop values rise after hot summer

October 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

Farmers are being warned that they are running the risk of being underinsured, after the sustained hot summer sparked a hike in crop values.

The value of wheat, hay, straw, cereals, and other arable crops has soared following months of hot, dry weather, prompting insurers to urge farmers to check their insurance cover is adequate, particularly when it comes to crop storage.

Some policies only insure stacks up to the value of £30,000. Farmers can take steps, such as splitting up stacks and ensuring they are kept at least 20 metres apart. But they also advised to contact their insurance provider to check they have the correct level of cover.

Trying times

William Nicholl, head of rural at insurers Lycetts, said: “With so much to deal with, insurance may be the last thing on farmers’ minds but it is even more imperative that farmers are adequately covered, given the trying times.”

Some farmers may not be aware that the increase in wheat values, for example, means that their grain store is holding a higher value of wheat than in previous years, which would have an impact on the policy limit.

The hot summer months saw a spate of field fires amid record-breaking temperatures. It also saw lots of straw baled and stacked as farmers sought to maximise revenue from soaring prices amid rising demand from livestock producers.

Stacks are still a fire risk – despite rain and the cooler autumn weather. Last month, about 300 tonnes of baled straw went up in smoke at Sixteen Foot Bank in Chatteris. About 25 firefighters attended the blaze – from Chatteris, March, Ely, Huntingdon, Stanground and Ramsey.

Mr Nicholls said: “If a fire ripped through underinsured hay stacks farmers could face losing thousands of pounds on a claim – with an even keener blow being felt if the farmer had to buy in or supplement the crop in question, due to poor harvests.”

Under-insured

Recent research by insurance brokers Farmers & Mercantile suggests two-thirds of farmers fail to review their insurance requirements before renewing policies – potentially leaving them underinsured or with a policy that no longer suits their needs.

Emma Barnes of F&M said it was important to make sure machinery, farm buildings, livestock and crops were adequately covered. “Having suitable and realistic sums insured to cover for damage or losses could be critical to the viability of any farm operation.”

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