Protecting farm property and equipment is always essential, but never more so than in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and with reports of rural crime also on the up, farmers must take precautions.
It is estimated that the cost of rural theft reached £40.5m in 2022 and particularly targeted expensive equipment, vehicles and livestock. Fuel has now also become a target following rises in the cost of red diesel and with costs rising across the industry, additional costs due to theft could cause significant financial damage.
Farm insurance comparison site, Quotezone.co.uk, has completed research which shows that agricultural equipment is often left in a vulnerable position, with less than half (41%) of those sampled keeping items in a locked garage or barn.
The research, based on a sample of over 6,000 farm vehicle insurance policies, showed that nearly 20% of farmers don’t lock their garages or barns, and 15% of vehicles are left out on unsecure driveways. With the average cost of a farm vehicle at £13,250 in 2022, Quotezone.co.uk are urging farmers to ensure their assets are protected. The website has released some top tips to increase security and lower insurance premiums:
- Add and maintain alarms, CCTV and security lights, and keep gates locked/vehicle keys with you
- Restrict access to yards, installing sturdy gates fixed in concrete or a metal post
- Paint equipment in distinctive / corporate colours
- Consider investing in security devices such as Datatag marking or vehicle trackers
- Note serial numbers, register and take photographs of expensive items
- Be on the lookout for breaches – checking fences, hedges and walls
- Join farm and Neighbourhood Watch schemes
Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk said: “Agriculture is an integral part to the UK economy, bolstering employment and providing vital food supplies. It’s disappointing to see rural crime rates are on the rise after the pandemic. I think many would assume that due to the rural location of farms and the size and complexity of the machinery in question that theft would be unlikely, but it appears farms continue to be a target for specialist thieves.
“That’s one of the reasons why an insurance policy is so important. It not only protects farmers’ valuable assets and provides financial security – it also supports their livelihood. That’s why we’re extending our range of farm insurance products, customers will now be able to compare farm insurance as well as farm vehicle insurance – giving them the tools to compare products and save as much as possible.
“Additional security measures are obviously ideal to help keep the farm safe but they can also save money, keeping vehicles in a locked barn or garage and off the driveway can bring the premium price down significantly, so well worth investigating.”
Watch out tips
The website have also offered tips on what to consider for when updating insurance policies:
- If you drive your farm vehicle on the road at any stage, it will be required by law to have insurance
- If you have a mortgage on the farm, the provider may insist on farm insurance to protect their investment
- Vehicles on the road must not use red diesel, as this could invalidate the insurance
- If your farm has a farm shop or is an open farm that is visited by members of the public you may need to include public liability cover as part of your farm insurance policy
- If your farm employs staff then employers’ liability insurance isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a legal requirement in the UK