Here’s What You Need To Know if You Run a Christmas Tree Farm
For many families, heading out to choose a tree from the local Christmas tree farm is a tradition. For those of us that opt for “the real deal” over a plastic alternative, it can be great fun for everyone involved. The hardworking men and women on the other side of things, however, have some things to consider when it comes to operating a Christmas tree farm.
Any farm, commercial or hobby, requires insurance as an essential safety component to ensure that their property and valuable equipment are secure. There’s an added consideration that comes with operating a Christmas tree farm: public exposure. While many farms might have the occasional foot traffic, few see the kinds of crowds that flock to the orchard like Christmas tree farms.
Here’s what to consider when it comes to the insurance implications of running a Christmas tree farm and how to get adequate Christmas tree farm insurance:
Make sure your liability limits are adequate.
Farming is a business, and all businesses need some form of liability insurance. Even hobby farms require liability insurance, if a visitor is harmed on their property or if their property is damaged because of your farm’s usual activities. It’s too easy to think that skipping out on liability insurance will save us money in the long haul because we aren’t exposed to any “big events” – but liability insurance can protect your farm from all kinds of accidental damages or medical payments, legal liability, and defense costs, and even liability costs arising from the occupancy of your Christmas tree farm or its occupancy. Sufficient liability limits are a crucial component of adequate Christmas tree farm insurance. Other liability exposures that may be covered by your insurance include:
- Pesticide application (liability coverage)
- Personal actions outside your farm’s premises (liability coverage)
- Property damage to any rented facilities or outbuildings (liability coverage)
- Buildings under construction or that are being renovated (compensation for bodily injury to you or any of your employees working on a project) (liability coverage)
- Agritourism activities, if you offer any to visitors (liability coverage)
- Damage caused by pollution (liability coverage)
When it comes to ensuring that your Christmas tree farm insurance policy contains enough liability coverage to sufficiently protect your operations, you’ll want to consider the overall value of your assets, including your structures, equipment, or potentially high-value estate. These are all visible to the public, meaning that they may be a factor in the size of a potential lawsuit – should you ever face one. Don’t worry – Hitching’s agents are here to help find you a policy that adequately covers your operations!
That being said, it’s important to note that asset volume is not the only indicator of your liability risk.
Your Christmas tree farm’s liability exposures:
To determine adequate liability coverage for your Christmas tree farm insurance, you will need to do an overall examination of the following aspects of your farm:
- Consider the overall size and scope of your business – especially foot traffic. As a Christmas tree farm, you can expect you will be busiest between the months of November and December.
- Christmas tree farms aren’t “cookie cutter” businesses – they all work differently. Do you allow your visitors to cut down their trees themselves? Are pre-cut trees availabe, or do employees chop down trees for your visitors? Do you lend out equipment? What about transport? Do you offer carriage rides to your orchards?
- Your location is another factor. Some areas will see a higher volume of liability claims, especially for farms that are situated just outside of larger metropolitan areas.
Insuring your trees that are still rooted.
The unique exposure that comes with running a Christmas tree farm is the risk that the elements and unexpected events pose to your trees that are still rooted and growing. Most commercial policies will leave out coverage (or not provide enough coverage) for trees that are still growing.
Trees that have been cut and are lain out for sale can be covered as personal farm property. You may be able to acquire crop insurance, but you’ll need to work with an agent if you do not already have prior coverage in order to create an accurate cost basis.
Consider any exposures to your Christmas tree farm’s property.
Your Christmas tree farm’s equipment, tools, for-sale inventory, and buildings can all be insured under the property component of your Christmas tree farm insurance policy. It helps to work with an expert insurance agent to determine the exact amount of coverage you need and what might need to be included. They may advise you on the potential risks for certain buildings and whether any older or unused outbuildings can be removed from your policy altogether to save on premiums.
Remember to be open with your agent when discussing your Christmas tree farm’s operations. Hitching’s experts are here to help make insurance as easy as possible and will help you to appropriately judge any possible risks and help assign adequate Christmas tree farm insurance.