Most of the time, farmers maintain a positive and productive relationship with their crop insurance company. However, once in a while, the insurance company may not view a loss the same way as the producer. In these instances, here are 5 tips that every farmer should remember to ensure their crop loss is given fair consideration.
Tip #1 - Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
It is absolutely vital that producers contact their insurance company as soon as possible so the company is made aware of the date of your loss. Failure to do so in a timely manner may jeopardize your claim. Plus, contacting the insurance company in a timely manner puts the onus on them to move your claim forward and eliminates the risk of other variables being introduced to your field which may allow for “excuses” not to pay on a claim.
Tip #2 - Document all communications
From your initial contact to the time when you receive an insurance check, farmers should always attempt to document their communications. It’s easy to forget what was discussed (or promised) if all communications are verbal. Emails, text messages, or letters ensure clear, concrete communications with no “misremembering”.
Tip #3 - Document the loss quickly
Once you’ve been made aware of a potential crop loss, it’s important to document the size, scope and potential reason for the loss with as many materials as possible. Photos, drone videos, and crop samples can all be helpful in showing your insurance company the extent of the loss you suffered.
Tip #4 - Think about involving a neutral third party
It may sometimes be helpful to have a neutral third party come out to observe your loss. The notes, photos, measurements and other observations of a local agronomist or other crop professional can be invaluable when attempting to avoid a “my word against yours” situation concerning how the crops looked at the time of damage.
Tip #5 - Harvest your damaged fields with care
While it takes extra time and effort, it’s important to use extra care when harvesting fields involving a potential crop insurance dispute. Resetting yield monitors when harvesting the affected portion of a field, or harvesting and weighing the affected portion separately, are good ways to show the true loss suffered in a field, rather than generalized estimates which may be difficult to “prove” to an insurance company or a court.