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Livestock Mortality

Livestock Mortality Insurance

June 2, 2021


You have worked your entire life to keep food on the table for your family, for this great nation, and even foreign nations.  Whether you are a row crop farmer with a few steers to fill your freezer with beef or a livestock producer that’s livelihood depends on it, have you thought about what would happen if your livestock died unexpectedly? Would you be okay to suffer this financial loss? Livestock mortality insurance is worth considering.

There is probably no hesitation in proper coverage for your farm equipment or farm buildings. The same should hold true for your livestock. You are likely thinking, “Well doesn’t my farm package insurance policy cover my livestock automatically under the farm personal property coverage form?” The answer is kind of, so let’s explain. A standard farm policy has its limitations for livestock.  For livestock to be covered on a standard farm insurance plan, it needs to be an included peril of the overall policy (unless endorsed to include additional livestock coverage).

NOTE:  At our agency, Livestock Mortality Insurance is written along with an agricultural package. We cannot offer these as stand-alone policies.

Standard Farm Policy Coverage

Here are a few examples of what would be covered on a standard farm policy:

  1. Fire – If your livestock building catches fire and the animals perish due to the fire, the policy will step in pay for the lost livestock. Keep in mind you will need to have ample farm personal property limits to cover the livestock in this case.
  2. Tornado/Wind- If a tornado kills the livestock from flying debris or a falling building, the livestock will be covered under the wind peril of a standard policy.
  3. Hail- If large hail stones fall on an exterior cattle yard and it kills off the herd due to blunt force, the standard policy would step in and pay for this loss.  

It is important to note that a standard farm insurance policy also covers against loss for things like theft, vandalism, lightning, wild animal attacks and auto collisions.

Isn’t the standard coverage enough?

You may be thinking this is really all I need to cover my herd.  Consider these types of incidents that could possibly be excluded from coverage under a standard farm insurance plan:

  1. Contaminated feed or water resulting in consumption of toxic substance by livestock.
  2. Consumption of toxic grazed plants.
  3. Hypothermia from snow, a blizzard, freezing rain or sleet.
  4. Flood water, surface water, overflow of any body of water, mudslide or mudflow, which could all lead to drowning.
  5. Sinkhole collapse occurring spontaneously.
  6. Electrocution.
  7. Accidental shooting.
  8. Earthquake.
  9. Riot/civil commotion.
  10. Collapse of bridges, culverts, roadways or piers.
  11. Explosion.
  12. Leakage of gas or suffocation.
  13. Leakage of anhydrous ammonia intended for fertilizer or refrigerant.

Please note all coverage plans are different! A thorough discussion with your agent should take place to see what specifically is covered or excluded.

Although unlikely to be covered on a standard farm insurance plan, these exclusions can be covered by a plan we call an Animal Mortality Insurance Plan. This livestock mortality insurance is purchased to fill a gap in insuring all types of livestock. Whether you own cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, equine, or exotics, there is an affordable option available.

How much does a livestock mortality insurance policy cost?

These standard livestock mortality insurance policies can be purchased by 0.15 to 0.35 cents per $100 of coverage in most cases.  Time for an example!

Let’s say a cattle operation has 4 purebred angus bulls valued at $4,000 a piece. The rest of the herd includes 50 crossbred mother cows valued at $2500 per head, 50 crossbred heifers valued at $2000 per head, and 25 crossbred steers valued at $2,000 per head. Total value of this particular herd example is $291,000. We will use the 0.35 cent (highest) per $100 of coverage pricing model. To cover this herd on a standard animal mortality policy, it would cost roughly $1018.50 per year for the coverages mentioned above in 1-13, plus other situations like livestock in transit. 

Is there a more inclusive coverage option for livestock used for show, racing, research or service?

There are also livestock mortality insurance options that cover livestock herds on an All Risk plan. This essentially covers the herd for anything imaginable with very few exclusions (disease, infertility, gross profit coverage can be included in these plans). If you wanted to cover expensive purebred cattle, show pigs, show horses, race horses, research animals, service animals, aquaculture or high-value pets, this may be an option for you. Keep in mind the insurance rates are much higher for the All Risk plan. They can vary from $5.50-$10.00 per $100 of coverage in this plan. Example: $4,000 purebred angus bull would cost roughly $5.50 per $100 of coverage, which equates to $220 per year.  

Our independent insurance professionals understand farming and livestock!

With farm and livestock insurance, there can be a ton to manage and understand, a dedicated, experienced independent insurance agent can help manage these things for you. An independent agent is not tied to one insurance carrier and can help facilitate the best company and insurance solutions for your individual needs.   Start a conversation with us today by filling out this form or calling 419-423-9145. We’ll find a policy that adequately covers your operation and fits your budget!

Please note each herd and operation are different. There are various things that go into the finalized insurance rates. It varies by state, county, pastured animals vs. confinement animals, and overall value. These are real examples from prior coverage applications. These rates and coverage options can change over time.

Livestock Mortality Insurance