Having the right farm insurance program can make the difference between your farm surviving in the face of a challenge or going out of business for good.
It is the reason you buy insurance but can be one of the most stressful times: when you need to make a claim.
No matter what has happened or which part of your farm insurance policy the claim relates to, there are some important things to remember when you are lodging an insurance claim.
When a claim arises, time is of the essence. The sooner you lodge your claim the sooner you can start rebuilding and get back on your feet.
It is important to wait until it is safe to lodge. If you are still in the middle of a hail storm or bushfire for example, get yourself and your family safe and worry about the damage later.
“Contact your broker as soon as you can,” Kylie Hull, Gallagher Area Director – Dubbo, said.
“We can get the claim lodged and determine whether an assessor needs to be appointed and discuss next steps, but definitely get in touch with your broker as soon as possible.”
It may sound obvious but in some circumstances it is important to check the extent of the damage before launching a claim proceeding.
Different policies have different levels of cover which are triggered depending on the amount of damage caused.
For example, if there has been a hail storm that has damaged the crops of your neighbours, it is important to check your own paddocks rather than lodging an unnecessary claim.
“What we ask of the client is that they actually look at the crop to make sure it has been damaged,” Trevor Madden, Gallagher Principal Broker – Ballarat, said. “There is an excess under crop insurance which can go from 5% to 15%. We don’t just want people to call up and say ‘the bloke next to me has been hit by hail, so I’ve been hit.’
“I say, 'Please go out and have a look and tell me if you can see damage and, if you see only minor damage, what is the value of your crop and what is roughly 5% of your crop?'. This ensures make sure we don’t go through the process for no good reason and delay the assessors getting to those who are in need from serious damage.”
Once damage has been assessed, it is important to gather evidence.
Before a claim arises it helps to have photographs of contents or vehicles to prove ownership and value. Keep receipts too, just in case they are needed.
Once damage has occurred, though, take as many photos as you can of the damaged area as they can help to speed up your assessment. With many farm insurance claims weather-related, you probably aren’t going to be the only person getting in touch to lodge a claim, so if you get in early, and with as much evidence as you can, then that could help to speed up the process.
“Service is second to none for us, we are straight onto it,” Madden continues. “The client isn’t ringing an insurance company, they are ringing us directly and we do the rest.”