Do "Backyard Farmers" Need Farm Insurance?

Do you engage in any farm activities? Many people these days engage in farm activities in ways that aren't exactly traditional. But if you're cultivating a single plot in the backyard, or raising chickens in a makeshift coop, do you need farm insurance?

What Exactly is…a Farm?

This isn't a question many people think about; especially if they don't consider anything they do as farm activity. For example, if you dedicate a single patch of ground to growing a crop, you probably think of it as just a garden, or a hobby.

If you're raising a handful of chickens in a tiny corner of the yard, you're probably thinking you're doing something fun that has the added benefit of providing fresh eggs. In both these cases, your homeowners' policy may consider these things farming.

Check your homeowners' policy carefully, and speak to an insurance representative, like the ones at Bennett Agency, as well. Each company treats things like "unusual pets" and "hobby gardening" in different ways. If one of your chickens fly the coop and pecks a child on the foot, your liability coverage may not kick in.

In fact, for some policies, having anything remotely close to what's considered a farm animal can prematurely terminate your policy. This all happens on a case-by-case basis. If you want to protect your single plot of self-sustaining hobby gardening, then you should speak to your insurance carrier about it.

From Hobby to Business, Your Insurance Needs Grow

No matter how your homeowners' policy treats these things, it all changes if you sell any of your produce. If you sell anything, to anybody, for any reason, you need commercial insurance. If you're giving away anything you grow, or any eggs from your chickens, then you may need some form of business insurance.

Even if there's only the potential of you selling something, your homeowners' carrier may balk . Your homeowners' policy almost certainly has no provisions for business endeavors, even if they're charitable or don't turn any real profit.

Some insurance providers can offer some additional business coverage as an addendum to your homeowners' policy. But these aren't always the best kinds of commercial coverage options for your needs. Once it's established there are commercial elements present, you will need more robust options.

Liability isn't enough, you also need protection for your plants, your tools, your animals, and all the things that come with a business. In short, you need to protect the business itself. Usually, your small work isn't enough for farm insurance, maybe not even hobby farm insurance.

You Don't Need Farm Insurance, You Need Small Business Insurance

If you want any protection, then you should probably consider small business insurance options. In fact, insuring your endeavors as a small business gives you access to policies you couldn't otherwise receive any other way. It also gives you a good grounding for claiming your work on your taxes as well.

If your policy cannot handle a few chickens, or a garden, then you should speak to a commercial insurance service that can. In many cases, these policies are affordable, especially for a small business. Of course, if you would like to expand your efforts, then you should definitely speak directly with a commercial insurance provider about farm insurance.