William “Bootsie” Stanley has held Virginia Farm Bureau insurance on his family’s Hanover County farm since the 1940s. He recently added the new Farmowner Advantage endorsement to the policy for his Thomas E. Stanley & Sons dairy and grain farm.
“It’s a good deal, a really good deal,” Stanley remarked. His son, Joel, explained that if the pump on their milking equipment fails, it could cost thousands of dollars for repairs. But with the new endorsement added to their policy for just $125, the repair would be covered.
“It’s really a no-brainer to add it,” he noted.
What is farm insurance?
Farm insurance protects farm structures like barns and equipment such as tractors, combines and sprayers. It also can include coverage for harvested crops stored in those structures and provide liability protection for the operation.
Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. has been offering farm insurance since 1951 and is currently the No. 1 farm writer in the state, said Scott DeNoon, VFBMIC farm product and underwriting manager.
Paul Rogers Jr. and Paul Rogers III of Rogers Farms in Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties, have had Farm Bureau farmowner insurance since 2004. They said Farm Bureau offered better coverage than their previous carrier, at a reasonable price. And since Jason Seward became their Farm Bureau agent in 2006, he’s now a “big factor” in their retaining the policy.
The father and son have endured a couple of minor claims, and “we were very satisfied with the service,” Paul Rogers III remarked.
“Farm Bureau has good people-to-people skills,” Paul Rogers Jr. added.
Farmowner Advantage endorsement expands coverage
In April 2017 Farm Bureau introduced the Farmowner Advantage endorsement, which bundles several popular existing products with new coverage for equipment breakdown and lock replacement.
Farm equipment breakdown covers repairs or necessary replacement of non-mobile farm systems and equipment, including things like irrigation, refrigeration, generators, fans and well pumps. “The equipment breakdown piece is the biggest value for farmers,” Seward noted.
Farmowner Advantage endorsement
Cost is just $125 when added to an existing farm insurance policy.
Optional endorsement that bundles 7 popular coverages:
- Rented/borrowed equipment coverage included - $3,000 limit
- increased limit for glass breakage in cabs - $500 to 750
- Property in transit coverage included - $2,500 limit
- Increased theft limit for guns and gun-related items - $2,500 to $4,000
- Increased theft limit for jewelry, watches, furs - $2,500 to $3,000
- Increased limit for refrigerated food spoilage - $500 to $1,000
- Water backup coverage included - $5,000 limit with $250 deductible
Lock Replacement - $250 limit to replace locks when keys are lost/stolen
Farm Equipment Breakdown - covers repairs or necessary replacement of non-mobile farm systems and equipment, including electrical, heating and refrigeration equipment; irrigation equipment; generators; fans; well pumps; computers; and GPS systems
Home systems protection (Home equipment breakdown) - covers repairs or necessary replacement of non-mobile dwelling systems and equipment, including central air conditioning; boilers; furnaces; heat pumps; emergency generators; electrical service panels; appliances; computers; well pumps; sump pumps; and home security systems.
Under the endorsement, equipment breakdown coverage also is provided for home systems and includes repairs and necessary replacement of equipment like central air conditioning, furnaces, heat pumps, appliances and computers.
“It’s valuable coverage, and we’re very excited about it,” DeNoon said.
Hanover County Farm Bureau insurance agent Chris Adams called Farmowner Advantage “a great endorsement.” He operates a small hobby farm and added it to his own policy. “If a heat pump in your house breaks, it’s covered. The repair or replacement could cost a lot more than the price of adding the endorsement to a policy.”
Agents get hands-on training
Some Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. agents have agricultural backgrounds. Others do not. So how can they provide knowledgeable farm coverage to their customers?
With thorough training. As part of Farm Bureau’s sales school, new agents receive extensive training about the farmowner policy. They learn things like whether the policy covers a rented piece of equipment or a milk tank or a poultry house’s electrical system. They also learn to tailor coverage to fit the needs of farms based on their size and type of operation.
On their second day of training, new agents visit a farm. They examine structures and equipment and apply what they learned the previous day. They consider coverage issues as well as farm safety concerns.
At the end of 2017, Farm Bureau’s farmowner policy retention rate was 95.6 percent—proof of the agency force’s commitment to serving the needs of farmer policyholders.