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You can’t predict the weather, but you can plan for it with crop insurance


by Bruce Bossuyt and Erica Stockstad

Farmers can make all the right plans when it comes to their crops, but a key piece of the equation remains unpredictable: the weather. One bad storm can undo months of hard work and leave a farm in a tough spot.

That’s what makes crop and hail insurance so critical. Many farmers look to buy new coverage or renew an existing policy in the spring, around when crops go in the ground but before the severe storm season rolls in each summer. Here are some key things to consider when you’re shopping for coverage.

Make sure your coverage fits your needs

A crop-hail policy is a great option for any farmer to consider around spring planting time. Many farmers choose to purchase crop-hail coverage at the same time that they sign up for multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI), which is a federally backed program that protects you against crop yield losses from adverse growing conditions, including drought, flood and disease

As the name suggests, MPCI provides broad coverage against a range of severe conditions. However, it must be purchased annually by March 15 for spring-planted crops and September 30 for fall-planted crops. Plus, it might not always provide the full range of protection your operation needs, depending on your location and the type of weather you experience.

That’s why purchasing an additional crop-hail policy to supplement an MPCI plan is a popular approach. Unlike MPCI, these policies can be purchased before or during the growing season, which provides added flexibility. While you can shop solely for the lowest price, there are other items to consider with this coverage. First and foremost, you want to make sure that you have adequate protection in the event of total crop loss, as the financial impact of not being covered can be steep. If you’re adding a crop-hail policy to your MPCI plan, be sure to understand how they’ll work together to fill in any coverage gaps.

Keep up to date on rates

Because weather patterns change frequently, so do policies. Rates for hail coverage have gone up in recent years and will likely continue to climb as severe weather events become more frequent, though the benefit of protecting your crops is worth the price tag.

The same is true for wind coverage. This option has become increasingly important, as many farmers have dealt with more wind damage lately than hail damage, and the impact to crops can be catastrophic. Adding wind protection to your underlying hail policy can be a smart way to boost your coverage.

Talk with an expert

As you get ready for the busy spring and summer seasons on the farm, finding a trusted ag insurance partner to talk with is vital. Your time and energy should be focused on your crops, while your insurance partner can look out for your coverage needs.

Lean on your partner for help navigating MPCI and identifying additional policies that might be beneficial, such as crop-hail coverage with added wind protection. Look for advisors who work with a wide network of carriers and who understand the ag industry at a deep level, as they’ll be able to offer the guidance you need year in and year out. Having a solid plan like this can help you manage the unpredictably of severe weather and keep your crops secure.

About Bruce Bossuyt

Bruce Bossuyt serves as an Insurance Advisor for Bremer Bank delivering comprehensive insurance programs to meet commercial operational risk management needs with the right balance of coverage and cost. By working with customers to first identify areas of risk and exposure, and then recommending solutions from highly-rated insurance carriers with outstanding products and services, he can meet the unique needs of the operation. As a strategic risk management partner, Bruce has the expertise, combined with comprehensive tools and organizational resources, to meet risk management needs for individuals, families, businesses and organizations. B...

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About Erica Stockstad

Erica Stockstad has served as the ag insurance sales team lead with Bremer Bank since 2023, delivering comprehensive insurance programs to meet agricultural operational needs. She guides the ag insurance advisor team to identify customers’ risk areas and exposure, while recommending solutions from highly rated insurance carriers with outstanding products and services. Before assuming her current role, Erica served as a senior insurance operations specialist at AgCountry FCS, where she gained 14 years of experience managing crop insurance. Prior to that, she was a licensed financial assistant and marketing coordinator for a financial firm in t...

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