Farming in British Columbia is as diverse as its agricultural regions. From Fraser Valley blueberries to cattle raising in Peace to agri-tourism businesses in the Vancouver Island region, BC is home to over 200 agricultural commodities. Thanks to its varying climates and landscapes, BC’s commercial farming industry provides local, national and international markets with necessities in foods, fibres and medicinal products.
But regardless of where you are or what you farm in BC, you have to deal with crop failures, insects, diseases, wildfires, flooding, farming equipment, buildings, your personal dwelling and more. This is why farm insurance in BC is necessary for all agri-businesses in the Pacific Province. Aside from the information on how farm insurance in BC can help you protect your farm, we’ve also included risk management resources for BC farmers in this post.
Quick Facts About Farming in BC
Some interesting facts about British Columbia’s farming industry include:
- BC has the highest percentage of female farm operators in Canada at 37.5%, almost 10 percentage points higher than the rest of Canada which is at 28.7%
- There are approximately 2,000 farmers under the age of 35 in BC
- There are approximately 17,500 farms in BC, a number that’s decreasing.
- The average farm size in BC has increased from 327 acres to 365 acres
- 98% of farms in BC are family-run
BC farmers sell more blueberries, cherries, raspberries, garlic, apricots and leeks than farmers anywhere else in Canada
Risk Management 101 for Farms in BC
The Government of BC has categorized some of the risks facing BC farmers into the following categories:
- Human Resources
The following are their recommendations on what you, as an agrifood business manager, need to consider to help you predict potential risks to your BC farm and some resources to help you inform yourself on how to mitigate those risks. They include:
- Following good production practices for farms in BC
- Diseases and pests, food safety and traceability, machine readiness for operation, and labour availability
- Having a marketing plan and knowing how marketing tools can help in volatile market conditions
- Make sure you’re getting current and accurate market information
- Identifying pricing trends
- “How secure are your financial arrangements with lending agencies?
- Will the current levels within your production insurance coverage meet your cash flow requirements?
What is the worst-case scenario for production loss?”
Human Resources Risks
- Have a plan to deal with management and/or skilled labour losses
- Implement an HR strategy
- Know the national and international policies that can negatively affect the market for your products
- Know the federal, provincial and municipal policies and regulations that affect commercial farming in your jurisdiction and have a plan to deal with changes to them
Below are some of the coverages available as part of a farm insurance plan in BC.
Farm Insurance BC – Farm Machinery Coverages
While the first steps to addressing the above risks include informing yourself and implementing plans and procedures to deal with them, there is no getting around the fact that to run a successful farming business in BC, you need farm insurance tailored to your BC farming operations. Machinery and equipment breakdown is an inevitable fact of life, business and farming. With the following coverages, you can help your BC farming business protect itself from some of the costs of some unexpected events. The following are a few of the farming machinery coverages available through ALIGNED:
- Coverage for tractors and field cultivators
- Coverage for plows, spreaders, etc.
- ATV and UTV coverage including coverage for farm gators, side by sides and more
- Farm vehicle coverage and auto insurance
- Drone coverage
- Farm key person travel insurance coverage
Again, these are just a few examples. Contact us to find out if your farming equipment and machinery are covered under BC farm insurance plans brokered through ALIGNED.
BC Farm Insurance Through ALIGNED, Protecting your Livestock and Crops
Our policy provides insurance protection and coverage for livestock such as cattle, sheep, hogs and poultry and harvested crops including:
Our BC farm insurance plans also include
- Commercial General Liability Insurance for BC farming operations
- Farm Home Insurance / Property Insurance for structures on your land
For more information on Farm Insurance for BC farming, visit our Canadian Farm Insurance Coverage Overview page.
What is farm insurance?
Farm insurance is a package of insurance policies that, when packaged by the farming and business insurance specialists at ALIGNED, can protect farmers from potential legal liabilities and financial losses.
For example, a farm insurance policy designed by an ALIGNED advocate can provide coverage for:
- Medical expenses, property damage costs, lawyer’s fees, defence costs, out-of-court settlements and awards for damages for claims of personal injury, property damage, advertising injury, libel and slander related to your farming operations and products (not including farm employees).
- Buildings and structures on your farm and the contents inside them as well as farming equipment, tools and vehicles in case of perils such as flooding, fires, windstorms, theft, vandalism and other perils.
- Loss of livestock, crops, dairy and eggs because of drought, flooding, illness, contamination and other causes.
- Equipment breakdown due to power surges, electrical arcing and other related perils.
- Business interruption and losses from the above situations
- Drone coverage
There are more coverages that can be included in a farm insurance package and the policies in a package can be customized to meet your farm’s specific needs.
Do I need farm insurance in Western Canada?
Farm insurance is highly recommended for farming operations across Canada. In Western Canada, changing climates have increased the risk of losses for farmers due to events such as:
- Excess and untimely precipitation and moisture deteriorate crop quality and forage production which forces farmers to sell livestock early.
- Killing frosts that delay and deplete harvests.
- Excess moisture, snow and humidity result in lower harvested crops.
- Crops are flattened by snowfall and wind.
As mentioned above, farm insurance can help mitigate losses experienced by farms in Western Canada.
For agri-tourism farms in Western Canada, farm insurance, especially farm liability insurance, is a necessity.
What affects the farm insurance rates in Western Canada?
Where a farm is specifically located in Western Canada and the environmental risks of that area of farmland can affect a farm’s insurance rates in Western Canada. Other factors that impact farm insurance rates in Western Canada include (but are not limited to):
- Location of the farm in relation to municipal services like water and fire departments
- Type of farming done
- Type of equipment used on the farm
- Health and safety procedures that are in place
- Value of livestock, crops, buildings, vehicles, tools, etc.
- Number of employees and residents on the farm
- Years of experience
- Revenues, profits/earnings
- Insurance history and past claims
What is farm liability insurance?
Farm liability insurance is insurance that protects farmers and their farming operations from legal liability by providing coverage for claims of personal injury, property damage, false advertising, libel and slander. See question 1 for more details.
What insurance coverage do I need for my BC farm?
The insurance coverage you need for your BC farm depends on a number of factors. For example, the size, location, and type of farm you operate can all impact the insurance coverage you need. However, some of the most common insurance coverage options for farms in British Columbia are as follows:
- Commercial general liability insurance: Commercial general liability coverage protects your farm from claims of third party bodily injury and property damage. Specifically, if a claim was brought against you, it would cover the associated medical expenses, repair bills, and legal fees up to the policy limit.
- Product liability insurance: Product liability insurance may be included with commercial general liability insurance and will come in handy if your farm sells products to consumers. For example, if you have a farmers’ market or stand selling food, beverages, or other products, product liability insurance can protect you in the event that a product you sell results in property damage or bodily injury to another and they sue you.
- Commercial property insurance: Commercial property insurance can protect your farm and any business-related contents from property damage caused by an insured peril. Insured perils may include windstorms, fire, theft, water damage, vandalism, and more.
- Farm equipment breakdown insurance: Equipment breakdown coverage protects a wide range of equipment, including farming equipment, against internal or mechanical failures. This means that if a piece of your farm equipment broke down, your insurer might cover the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Where can I buy farm insurance in BC?
You don’t have to look far to find farm insurance in BC because you can purchase it through ALIGNED. That’s right, as insurance experts, we have the skills and expertise to help you find the right insurance for your BC farm. Get in touch today and your dedicated ALIGNED advisor will be pleased to answer any questions you may have, obtain and compare quotes on your behalf, and find the right farm insurance coverage at a great rate.
ALIGNED – Your Source for Comprehensive Farm Insurance in BC
Our ALIGNED insurance brokers are specialists in commercial insurance coverages and risk management. We know the unique risks faced by every kind of farmer in BC and we know how to make sure their farm business or hobby farms are fully protected. Contact ALIGNED farm insurance specialists and get a free quote in minutes.
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