No matter where they are located, farms are often at the mercy of the weather. Here in Oklahoma, those risks include severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail.
All of these can be damaging to your crops, but when it comes to hail, you could lose everything. You may have heard about crop-hail insurance but don't know enough about it to see whether you should purchase it.
What does this insurance do for you?
Obviously, crop-hail insurance protects you from a loss from hail, but you may not know that it also covers the loss of crops due to fire. Your crops are most vulnerable when in the field. Your primary focus is tending to them until you can harvest them, and while you can take steps to protect them from hazards such as insects or other things, you can't do much about the weather. Instead, you need to protect yourself should the weather take out your crops. It covers and does not cover the following:
- Does cover hail damage
- Does not cover frost damage
- Does cover fire
- Does not cover excess moisture damage
- May cover wind damage
- Does not cover drought damage
- May cover lightning damage
- Does not cover price risk
- May cover vandalism damage
- May cover malicious mischief damage
As you can see, this policy could cover more than just hail damage, which may increase its value to you. It's an acre-by-acre coverage, so you can purchase it for only part of your farm. Conversely, you may only receive payment for damage to part of the farm. You can choose deductibles and amount of coverage like any other private insurance.
You do not purchase crop-hail insurance through the government, but instead, through a private insurance company. This means that you will have to deal with all of the ins and outs that come with working with a for-profit company. Understanding what this insurance is supposed to do for you could help you recognize when the insurance company is not treating you fairly, or legally.
If the insurance company denies or undervalues your claim
Like any other private insurance company, it will probably attempt to find a reason to outright deny your claim or undervalue it at the least. Insurance companies must meet certain standards and follow certain laws when dealing with you. If you suspect you do not receive proper treatment, you may want to learn what your rights are and gain an understanding of what your next legal steps may entail.