3 Steps to Take After a Combine or Tractor Fire

Oct 10, 2018 2 min read

Your farm equipment is not only vital to the success of your operation, but it’s also a significant investment. The thought of your tractor or combine going up in flames, probably makes your stomach churn. Combine and tractor fires cause more than $20 million in property losses annually, according to the National Ag Safety Database. Not to mention the millions in lost time and crops damaged by these types of accidents. So, what can you do to help prevent a loss?

Minimize Your Risks

Before each harvest, you likely follow a routine like inspecting your farm equipment to ensure everything is running in tip-top shape before heading out to the fields. It’s a good idea to start your harvest season with clean and well-maintained equipment. Because 75 percent of all machinery fires begin in the engine area according to the National Ag Safety Database, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to the engine compartment of your tractor or combine to ensure there is no material to burn. Throughout harvest be sure to inspect your machinery routinely — look for oil or fuel leaks, broken pieces, buildup of debris, etc.  Keep your machinery as clean as possible and blow off dry chaff, leaves, and crop residue from the equipment. 

Preparation is Key

Make sure heat sources (like your exhaust system) are in good condition and don’t come in contact with any flammable material. Don’t park the combine in a shed or shop when it is hot, and wait at least 15 minutes before re-fueling a hot combine. Inspect fuel lines and wipe up any fuel or oil spills as they occur.  Like most things, there are preventative steps you can take to help reduce your risk but you can’t eliminate all risks. Be sure to have at least one fully charged fire extinguisher attached to each piece of machinery, and check the extinguishers on a consistent basis to be sure they are working properly.  Being prepared is important when it comes to risks that could dramatically impact the success of your operation. But, even preparation and prevention can’t eliminate all risks especially with dry conditions that harvest season brings.

After the Combine or Tractor Fire:

#1. Seek Safe Ground

First and foremost, your safety is the top priority. If there is a fire on machinery that you are operating, turn off the engine, get out and call emergency responders. Make sure that others are removed from the fire as well.  If the fire is small and it is safe to do so, utilize the fire extinguisher according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

#2. Take Pictures

Pictures may be helpful for the claims process. Take photos from all angles and share them with your agent.

#3. Call Your Insurance Company

Once the smoke has cleared, you’ll want to call your insurance company to report the incident and file a claim.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way.

It’s your future. Let’s protect it.™

Your time in the field is valuable, and the last thing you want to worry about is your insurance. With Replacement Cost Coverage for Farm Machinery, you’re adding a layer of protection should your machinery be damaged beyond reasonable repair due to fire, collision, or other covered occurrence.  If the unit is determined to be a total loss, we’ll help pay to replace it¹ with a similar same make and model, without depreciation! Ask a Farm Bureau agent today how we can help you protect your farm or ranch operation.


Individual eligibility for all product promotions is subject to underwriting review and approval. ¹Talk to your local Farm Bureau agent for more details on this coverage.

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