It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks we will have melting snow, ditches running with water, and longer days. We can finally start thinking about summer – the time of the year where our frozen ground warms up long enough to produce some wonderful crops! The time of year where hockey sticks are traded for baseball bats and your favorite machines in the shed get to come out and play in the dirt! As the fun is right around the corner, let me explain two important elements of a good insurance policy that every custom applicator should have.
Some of the most important aspects of your insurance coverage are spray drift and misapplication coverage. The spray drift coverage is fairly self-explanatory, providing coverage for losses caused by drifting chemical resulting in damage to neighboring crops, yards, parks, etc. We often see that the largest number of claims coming from neighboring yards to fields where tree damage is caused by drift. To defend yourself in the event of alleged claims against you in these situations, clear and precise documentation of the time, wind speed and direction, and product applied is crucial.
Misapplication coverage is just as important. Applying the wrong product to a field can be catastrophic for a crop. Applying the right product with the wrong conditions, volumes, or timing can also be damaging. Applying the right product perfectly to a field can also result in claims against you when you finish the job, fold up the booms and start driving home only to realize you perfectly applied product to the wrong field. Misapplication is crucial to properly protect your custom application operations.
One word of advice, if you are a custom applicator – make sure your policy does not limit your coverage for spray drift & misapplication losses. We have seen policies in the past providing $5M limits of liability, but a restricted sub-limit of coverage to $25,000 or $100,000 for spray drift of misapplication losses.
Perhaps you are a kind farmer, wanting to assist some neighbours with your sprayer or floater? Make sure you have proper insurance coverage prior to the start of your season. There has been a strong shift in farm liability insurance to exclude all custom spraying operations done by a farmer. This means that not only will your liability coverage not cover spray drift issues that may arise, but there is also a chance that any physical damage incurred by your machine while spraying on someone else’s land may also be denied coverage from your farm insurance policy.
Make sure you are working with an insurance broker who specializes in custom application insurance. At Rempel Insurance, we have an exclusive insurance program for licensed custom applicators across Manitoba & Saskatchewan, and have the coverage and rating to allow you to be properly protected. Feel free to reach out to myself or Colin Harbinson to review your situation.
David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.