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Hail policy gives crop insurance a boost

If early spring weather is an indication, this could be a good year to add additional crop hail coverage to corn and soybean acres, according to Steven Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management field specialist. While the March 15 deadline for making changes to a Federal Crop Policy has passed, hail coverage can still be purchased as long as it's done prior to the occurrence of the actual hail damage.

The majority of Iowa farmers and landowners use Federal Crop multi-peril products such as Revenue Assurance or Crop Revenue Coverage with losses based on yields on a farm unit. However, most choose a level of coverage of 70% to 80% to reduce the total premium costs. By adding hail coverage, they have a greater chance of collecting on that 20% to 30% deductible should crop hail losses occur, Johnson says.

"Additional crop hail coverage is very important for those acres covered by the group policies such as GRP and GRIP," Johnson says. That's because group policies are based on county average yields, not the yield from an individual farm unit. If a hailstorm hits a policyholder's fields and the loss is not widespread across the county, they likely will not have a claim if only covered by these group policies.

Johnson says it's important for farmers to know what type of multi-peril product they have, and to consider the need for additional crop hail coverage to support "spot" losses that may not be reflected by final county yields that determine indemnity payments.

In addition, Johnson says crop hail policies include crop damage sustained by fire. Wind policies for green snap can also be purchased, but the ear of corn has to be completely unrecoverable in order to collect.

Johnson recommends farmers contact their crop insurance agent before heading to the field to plant if additional coverage is needed in 2006.

If early spring weather is an indication, this could be a good year to add additional crop hail coverage to corn and soybean acres, according to Steven Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management field specialist. While the March 15 deadline for making changes to a Federal Crop Policy has passed, hail coverage can still be purchased as long as it's done prior to the occurrence of the actual hail damage.

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