Guide to Filing a Crop Insurance Claim
One of the most frustrating things about experiencing crop damage and yield loss is having to deal with all the work that happens after in order to submit insurance claims and hopefully redeem the revenue lost in the field.
While BW Fusion products are designed to help improve the resilience and stress mitigation of your plants, sometimes Mother Nature takes over, and your fields pass the point of being able to bounce back. If you find yourself in this situation this season, here’s what you need to know to put your crop insurance to work for you and recover your losses.
First, it’s important to understand why you may need to file a crop insurance claim. While weather tends to be a common culprit, it’s not the only reason you may need to cash in.
According to the USDA Risk Management Agency, any time you have crop damage that will adversely affect your yield, or the value of your crop, you may be eligible to file a claim. This may be from weather-related events such as hail, flooding, wind, drought or fire; pest or disease infestations; or, depending on your policy, sometimes even market drops that would cause your crop to not be profitable. Specific coverage details vary by policy, so always reference your insurance documents or contact your insurance agent with any questions about your coverage.
Timing is Everything
When you run into one of these situations, it’s important to let your insurance provider know as soon as possible. Again, exact time limits vary by insurance company and individual policy, but generally, notice of loss (NOL) must be given within 72 hours.
You’ve got money on the line, so don’t delay getting in touch with your insurance agent. Collect all the information you can on what happened and the impact you’re seeing in your fields, then reach out immediately.
Contacting your agent as soon as possible is especially important if your crops are damaged, but there may be time to replant your crop. The RMA provides these guidelines for when you need to report crop damage:
Before replanting (many policies have replanting payments)
Within 72 hours of the discovery of damage
15 days before harvest begins (if loss is possible)
Within 15 days after harvesting is completed (by insurance unit) or the end of the insurance period
If you have a revenue coverage policy, your window to provide notice of a claim may extend for up to 45 days after the release of the harvest price.
Once you let them know about the incident, your insurance agent will likely provide you with a claim form to fill them in on your contact and policy information, along with the damage to your crops—including the date and time of the loss—the cause of the loss and the estimated yield loss.
You will also need to provide any supporting documentation needed, such as production records showing the number of acres planted, date of planting and expected yield per acre; evidence of farming practices, such as receipts for crop inputs; and photos or videos to document the damage to your crops.
Having a crop consultant or agronomist come visit your farm and assess the damage, then provide a written statement detailing the extent of loss, can help strengthen your supporting documentation and may expedite the claim fulfillment process. The more information, the better—so include all the photos, receipts, data and records you can.
Your insurance agent or an adjuster will also need to inspect the damage to your crops themselves to determine the extent of the loss, so be prepared to have another visitor on the farm.
After all of these steps have been completed and the claim has been filed, the fate of your fields lies in the hands of your insurance provider.
BW Fusion is a crop nutrition company that can help prevent your crops from succumbing to stressors with innovative products, tools and awareness through the introduction of microbes. If you run into trouble this season, we’ve got you covered with these tips for getting your hard-earned dollars back.