Since their introduction in the 19th century, tractors have become essential for farms up and down the UK. Their versatility and size have turned them into the workhorse of the modern farm business.
Because tractors are expensive, making sure you can keep them running is almost as important as choosing the right make and model in the first place. That’s why it’s helpful to ask these eight questions when it comes to choosing your tractor insurance:
- What type of damage is most likely to happen to my tractor and is it covered? Most insurance policies will cover you for accidental and malicious damage rather than wear and tear. By speaking to an insurance broker as well as carrying out a risk assessment on your farm you should be able to get an idea of the likely accidents that could take place and therefore make sure these are covered by your insurer.
- What features come as standard and what do I need to ask for specifically? Some insurers will include things like damage to windscreens automatically as part of your cover. For example, at Rural Insurance as standard you will get unspecified trailer and implement cover for up to £50,000 (this can be increased to £100,000 upon request) and windscreen cover as part of comprehensive cover if you choose our Farm Motor insurance for your tractor or other agricultural vehicles.
- Am I covered for electrical damage as part of my insurance? While many insurers don’t cover you for electrical faults specifically, they may provide cover for the damage that occurs because of an electrical fault.
- Who is covered to drive? Make sure anyone on your farm who is likely to use your tractor is covered on your agricultural vehicle insurance policy. If you choose our Farm Motor insurance for your agricultural vehicles we will offer ‘any driver’ cover which will save you having to remember to add new drivers if they come to help out on the farm or join the business on a permanent basis (You will still need to notify your insurance broker if a driver has any claims or convictions).
- What am I using the tractor for? For example, if you are using your tractor for any agricultural contracting, you are unlikely to be covered under the terms of a standard Farm Motor policy and so you’ll need to notify your insurance broker to ensure you have any required additional cover.
- What levels of excess should I choose? Always make sure you know what the compulsory excesses are for your agricultural vehicle insurance policy. You may also have the option to select a voluntary excess which will probably reduce your premium, but make sure you know exactly how much total excess you would need to pay in the event of a claim and be confident that the cash flow from your business can allow for this level of outlay.
- How easy is it to make a claim? When you’re working around the clock at harvest time and you need to make a claim you don’t want to have to wait until the next day to get things moving. That’s why a 24/7 claims line might be an important factor when choosing your agricultural vehicle insurance. You might also want to look at the settlement rate for claims or how long an insurer has been in business. With more than 20 years’ experience Rural Insurance paid out on more than 98% of all claims in 2016.
- Will additional security have an impact on my premium? If you have a Thatcham approved security device then many insurers will offer a discount on your premium (for example, with Rural’s Farm Motor insurance you would be eligible for a 7.5% security discount if your agricultural vehicle was fitted with a Thatcham approved engine immobiliser). With Farmer’s Weekly reporting a rise in tractor thefts in 2017, it is prudent to take some basic steps to reduce the risk of theft. Consider using telematics or tracking technology, don’t leave the keys in the vehicle while it is unattended, if your GPS kit isn’t permanently fitted then remember to remove it from the vehicle.
The questions you might ask about your agricultural vehicle insurance are the same for any big piece of farm machinery – from tractors and combine harvesters to sprayers and balers. By asking these questions in advance of getting your agricultural vehicle or farm vehicle insurance, you can make sure you get cover that is right for you and your business.