Does Farm Insurance Cover Visitors To My Farm?
Caeva O'Callaghan | October 12th, 2021
Nothing beats a walk around a farm on a sunny Sunday – but will standard farm insurance cover your visitors?
Yes, if you have third party liability cover, and this is the minimum cover that should come as standard with any farm insurance policy.
Third party liability covers any visitors or ramblers who find themselves on your land. If they have an accident or injure themselves, this is the insurance cover which will protect you.
In this article, we’ll look at the following questions:
- What is public liability insurance?
- What dangers are present on the farm?
- What happens if a visitor injures themselves on my farm?
Be aware: public liability does not cover employees, or yourself. Get in touch today to organise farm cover that protects you and those you care about, as well as members of the public.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance is the type of cover which takes care of your legal responsibility to the public, visitors and suppliers. In the event of a claim against you following an injury, accident or property damage, public liability insurance will cover the amounts you’re legally responsible to pay. This could include hospital costs, loss of income, and damage to property or belongings, including pets.
But your public liability section will only cover land which you declare on your policy. This means you need to ensure you make a note of all outbuildings, sheds, follies and ruins you have on your land, even if they are no longer maintained. Although they may be at the back of your mind, nothing is more attractive to walkers, children and dogs than an interesting-looking old building to explore.
Public liability will cover the costs if a dog gets onto your land and tragic consequences occur. No one wants extra headaches and paperwork to sort out when pets, livestock or people come to harm: that’s why public liability is so important.
What dangers are present on the farm?
Outwardly, they are peaceful, idyllic places to walk and visit, but farms are full of hidden hazards. You are a farmer, and you have extensive experience with farm machinery and operations, and are likely intimately familiar with the lay of your farmland. However for members of the public and employees with fewer skills, lives are very much at risk.
Common public liability claims on farms include:
- Livestock causing damage to walls and property
- Muck or slurry on the road causing accidents
- Sheep or cows straying onto the road causing delays or collisions
- Falling trees and branches
Never overlook the importance of having a good public liability insurance policy in place, and re-checking and updating (if needs be) every time you renew. Failure to have adequate public liability protection or failure to disclose the full extent of your farming activities to an insurer could have future consequences that could put your farm ownership at risk.
What happens if a visitor injures themselves on my farm?
If a guest, employee, or even a trespasser is injured while on your property, they may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against you. Whether you will actually be held liable depends on how and why the person was injured, and why they were on your farm. For example, you would certainly be less liable for a burglar’s injuries than a dog walker – unless the burglar’s accident shone light on a matter of severe negligence on your part.
This is because, in general, any insurance provider will require the policy holder to maintain their property in the same way that another reasonable person would. This applies to homeowners as well as farmers, and anyone who has insurance. If you fail to uphold reasonable maintenance, such as ignoring a broken chimney, you would be liable for negligence if it fell on someone’s head.
The following are some of the conditions that must be present for liability:
- There is a dangerous condition which exists because the property owner created it or failed to prevent it
- The hazardous condition was likely to cause death or serious bodily harm
- The landowner failed to give warning of the risk present
It’s always best practice to maintain your property before it falls into a bad state. Failing that, you should fix the issue promptly and properly. Failing that, put up hazard signs and barriers to warn people of the danger. If you don’t – you will be liable.
Need to know more about public liability insurance? Get in touch today, and our farm insurance experts will be on hand to give you guidance.
All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.