You have crop insurance to protect against crop losses; a farm policy to cover barns and equipment; and workers compensation insurance to cover farmhands. But do you have adequate coverage for your agritourism operation? If you open your pasture gates and welcome visitors, agritourism insurance is essential in keeping your farm protected.
Agritourism is more popular than ever with more than 33,000 farms grossing an estimated $704 million from agritourism, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
While pumpkin patches, U-pick berries, hayrides and corn mazes are great ways to introduce folks to the farm (and generate additional revenue), these activities come with additional risks.
Having an agritourism insurance policy protects visitors — and adds an additional measure of security in case visitors become ill or are injured on the premises. Agritourism insurance can be added to your insurance policy as an optional endorsement. It covers on-farm entertainment activities that are not considered part of regular farming business and may be excluded under your existing farm or ranch insurance policy.
Ask your agent these five questions to help find the best agritourism insurance policy for your operations.
1. Do You Have Experience With Agritourism Insurance?
Find an insurance agent who is familiar with agritourism insurance and can answer questions about the type and amount of coverage you need. Keep your agent updated about changes to your agritourism operations. Adding (or eliminating) activities could change your coverage requirements.
2. What Does This Agritourism Insurance Policy Cover and Exclude?
Your insurance company may require you to also carry commercial insurance (in addition to your traditional farm or ranch policy) to maximize your coverage. Not all companies provide identical coverage: One insurer may cover activities that another excludes, so make sure you get a clear picture of what’s in the policy.
3. What Farm Records Should I Keep?
As part of maintaining your agritourism insurance policy, your insurer may require you to provide proof of appropriate farm signage, veterinary records, health department permits, and adequate health and safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and hand-washing stations.
The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety has free resources, including downloadable signs, to educate visitors about safety on your farm.
4. Are There Specific Laws I Should Be Aware Of?
Before opening up your farm for agritourism activities, make sure you’re compliant with all federal, state and local laws, regulations, codes and permitting requirements. The National Agricultural Law Center reports that over half of U.S. states have enacted statutes relating to agritourism activities, including additional farm and ranch liability protections for agritourism operators. Check the statutes in your state and abide by them. Agritourism insurance won’t protect against negligence.
5. Are Waivers Necessary?
There is no substitute for adequate agritourism insurance but asking guests to sign liability waivers offers an additional layer of protection. These waivers, which outline the specific risks of various agricultural activities, are considered legal documents.
Get the Coverage You Need
While agritourism is a great way to introduce visitors to your farm or ranch, it also opens you up to additional liability that likely isn’t covered as part of your standard farm or ranch insurance policy. Connect with your Farm Bureau agent for an on-site SuperCheck® to make sure you’re covered.