Does Farm Insurance Cover Shed Fires?
Caeva O'Callaghan | April 7th, 2021
Even if there’s been wet and windy weather, farms contain greater fire risks than an ordinary domestic property. But does your farm insurance cover you for fires to your outbuildings?
Yes, it does – as long as the sheds or outbuildings that have been affected by the fire exist on your policy.
As long as you’re honest and declare all the outbuildings, sheds and other property on your farm to your insurer, you’ll have cover. If you don’t, you won’t be able to make a claim.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- Do I need to declare unused outbuildings on my farm insurance?
- How do I make a claim for a shed fire?
- What can I do to minimise fire risk on my farm?
The bottom line is, your farm insurance can only cover you for the risks you declare. Not disclosing or purposefully withholding information from your insurer is considered against the terms of your policy, and will render any claim you make null and void.
Do I need to declare unused outbuildings on my farm insurance?
Yes, you do – if you want to be able to claim on your farm insurance if something goes wrong.
In most scenarios, this would be the case. However, it may be that you have some ruins or an old shed you’re about to pull down on your property, and do not want it insured. You could ask your provider to leave it out of the policy cover, but you would still need to tell them about its existence. You may find that your insurer insists on inspecting the outbuilding prior to granting you a policy.
This is because even if you don’t care about the outbuilding, and wouldn’t want to make a claim if it were destroyed, you may change your mind about using it down the line. Furthermore, just because it doesn’t present a danger to you or your property, doesn’t mean it won’t present a danger to someone else. Farms are attractive to walkers, hikers and exploring children, who love nothing more than to poke around a tumbledown, abandoned shed. If it falls in or catches fire, you would be liable. For this reason, your insurance provider may insist on covering it on your policy.
It’s always best to get cover for everything you own on your farm property. You just never know what might happen.
How do I make a claim for a shed fire?
Just pick up the phone, and give your insurance provider a call. Give them all the necessary details, and they will send someone out to inspect the damage.
If the fire is ongoing, phone the fire service and take all necessary precautions including moving machinery, livestock and people out of harm’s way if possible.
If you can, and if it is 100% safe to do so, take plenty of photographs or video. Being able to see exactly what happened, what the fire looked like and how quickly it spread will aid the investigation, helping things to move quickly.
And don’t worry about fire service callout fees – these will usually be covered by your farm insurance. Always check your individual policy to make sure, as some policies have limitations on the charges you can claim for.
What can I do to minimise fire risk on my farm?
Your insurance provider will want to know that you took all necessary precautions to prevent a fire occurring. If you are found to have been negligent, your claim will be void. Insurance will not cover you for laziness or fraudulent intentions – it’s your responsibility to keep your property, as well as the property of others, safe.
Farms often need to dispose of waste by burning. Your farm insurance policy will include definite conditions you must follow for a claim to be valid.
These will include:
- Never leaving a fire unattended
- All fires to be extinguished 60 minutes before leaving the area, and inspecting the ashes before you leave
- Not allowing smoke or dust to cause harm or annoyance to passers by or third parties
- Checking waste to make sure it doesn’t contain explosive substances or pressurised containers (such as aerosol cans)
- Adequate equipment to be kept near a fire at all times, such as an extinguisher, blanket, water and buckets of sand or soil
In the case of stubble burning, it is also imperative that you create breaks every three metres and always keep the fire away from fences, gates, hedges and other boundaries. You must only burn stubble when wind conditions won’t cause the fire to rapidly spread or drift smoke too far.
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All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.