Make sure insurance covers hire cost of replacement combine

Farmers should check their insurance policies cover a potential claim against the hire cost of a replacement combine to avoid being stranded without kit mid-harvest.

With costs upwards of £70,000 to hire a machine for the remainder of harvest, farmers need to ensure they are covered if a combine is rendered out of action, said Acres Insurance Brokers director Nigel Wellings.

“Imagine the scenario – you are in the second day of harvest and your combine goes up in smoke and is a complete write-off.

See also: What to consider when taking out farm insurance

“You have 2,500 acres of crops still to cut and are obviously desperate to get the job done as soon as possible,” he said.

“The combine is comprehensively insured on an agricultural vehicle policy, so insurers will pay out the market value of the written-off machine, likely within three to four weeks.”

However, the agricultural vehicle insurance will not cover hiring a replacement machine to complete harvest.

Instead, this should be included under the business interruption section of a farm insurance policy.

“In the above scenario, you are probably talking about a cost of £60,000-£70,000 to hire a high-capacity combine to cut 2,500 acres.

Hire cost limits

“A number of insurers have limits on the amounts of hire costs that they will pay out,” Mr Wellings said.

“Commonly, the limit is around the £50,000 mark. This is only enough to hire a combine for 1,700-1,800 acres. The lowest limit we have seen is £10,000 – this is just not sufficient.

“But increasingly we are seeing insurers without restrictions on hire costs following a combine fire, so sufficient cover is available.”

The insurance cost to cover combine hire following a fire is fairly low and is generally included as part of the business interruption package that covers crops.

“If done on a standalone basis, the premium is probably in the range of £100-£200, depending on individual farm circumstances,” he said.

“The cover is not expensive so this is another important reason to check you have sufficient protection.”