Whether you own a small family farm or a regionally powerful agribusiness, you need to understand your insurance liabilities and cover up against exposures with quality poultry farm insurance. But the sprawling nature of poultry insurance can leave you feeling overwhelmed –– how do you figure out "best practices" so that you pay the least amount of money and simultaneously cover against your biggest exposures? This essay aims to break down this question and answer it in a solid and clear way.
Poultry Farm Insurance 101
What risks does your business face? Salmonella contamination is a major fear of many agribusiness operators. If your poultry products are found to be contaminated with salmonella or any other kind of bacterium or pathogen, your business (and perhaps you, personally, depending on how your business is structured) could be held liable for damages to sick consumers as well as to manufacturers and distributors who've lost money as a result of doing business with you. So you need serious liability coverage to protect your operation.
You also need to cover the animals. What happens if your animals get sick or unable to produce eggs? What happens if they hurt people – such as farm hands or even visitors to your farm? You need solid poultry insurance to cover these contingencies. Also, depending on your local permit requirements and environmental regulations, you may need insurance to cover you in the event that, say, you cause environmental damage. For instance, say the waste products from your farm get flushed into a local aquifer and contaminate local drinking water. Environmental lawsuits can "henpeck" your business to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On a less extreme and extravagant level, you have other poultry farm insurance concerns, such as your real property (silos, barns, etc) as well as tools of the trade (incubators, tools to package poultry products, refrigerators, etc) that need insuring. After all, if your real property gets damaged — due to, say, a storm, fire or infestation — your business could suffer in the extreme. Another kind of coverage to consider is business interruption insurance. This covers you if your business can't produce for a period of time.
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your poultry insurance policy. Your policy will name certain "perils" that will be covered – and it may not name others. For instance, flood coverage may not be included – you may need to purchase this separately – particularly if you live in a flood zone, such as the outskirts of a river delta that has a history of overflowing.
Controlling Poultry Farm Insurance Costs Permanently
To simplify and streamline your process, you may want to choose a "prefab" poultry farm insurance policy that includes a bunch of relevant coverages bundled up together. But do bear in mind that your quest for better poultry insurance should be an ongoing project – just like you don't clean out your chicken cages one time and hope that they never will get messy again – you don't shop for poultry insurance "one time" and hope that your coverage will stay perfect forever. Your farm's needs will change as your business evolves and as animals cycle in and out of your farm. So refresh and renew your poultry farm insurance policies regularly.
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