Combine harvesting©Gary Hawkins/Rex Shutterstock

Whether you have a legal, tax, insurance, management or land issue, Farmers Weekly’s Business Clinic experts can help. Here, Tim Price from NFU Mutual looks at the level of insurance cover that would be needed to protect against a combine fire at harvest time.

Q My neighbour has faced huge bills getting contractors in after his combine caught fire – I thought insurance would cover these extra costs.

A Very dry harvests lead to most claims for combine fires, often when a spark has set off a fire that engulfs not only the combine but also the crop it is working in.

Difficult harvesting conditions also increase the stress on machines and this can also lead to fires.

Easy harvesting conditions across much of the UK kept the number of combine fires reported to us pretty low for the first half of this year’s harvest. However, claim numbers have risen over the past few weeks as conditions got tougher following heavy rain.

See also: Farmer leaps to safety from fireball combine

If a combine is damaged by fire or accident at harvest, and can’t be repaired quickly, business interruption insurance may cover the cost of hiring a replacement machine or employing contractors.

Tim PriceTim Price
Rural affairs specialist
NFU Mutual

This is not usually part of standard farm cover and would have to be taken out separately. For business interruption to apply, the combine must first be insured under an agricultural vehicle policy that includes fire cover.

The type and level of cover needed to cover the potential cost of bringing in another combine depends on the size and structure of a farm and its crops, so it is important to discuss these issues with your insurer.

Business interruption insurance (also known as loss of profits or consequential loss cover) can also deal with the consequences of a combine fire – for example, the loss of a crop if the combine was out of action at a critical time because of an insured risk such as a fire.

It is also important to make sure combines are insured for enough to buy in a replacement in the same age and condition.

Values can change significantly through the year and in response to market conditions. Older machines are often worth more than their owners think, so it is good practice to have them valued just before the insurance renewal.


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