For many of us farming is a part of life. While for some it can be their primary occupation, many other people maintain smaller acreages and pursue agriculture for personal enjoyment. Knowing what type of coverage is best for a small acreage or hobby farm is important to make sure your way of life is properly protected.
At BrokerLink, we provide specific options for commercial farmers and protecting their property, but we also have options for hobby farmers. Here are three steps soon-to-be or current hobby farmers can take to protect their property:
Step one: learn what qualifies as a hobby farm
If you have a small acreage where you keep a horse, some chickens and your own garden, you might not know there are some different coverage options available to you.
Generally, for a property to be considered a hobby farm there are three specific criteria considered:
- Size – how many acres is your property?
- Income – does your farm bring in revenue?
- Livestock – how many animals are kept on your property?
To qualify as a hobby farm, your property must meet at least two of the following requirements:
1. Farm size
Generally a farm cannot exceed 10 acres to be considered a hobby farm. However, these must be workable acres of land. Land that includes unworkable areas, such as geographic features (i.e., bush or ponds), may offer some flexibility when evaluating the size of your property.
2. Farm income
While hobby farms aren’t intended to be a revenue source for the owners, it is still possible to sell produce or other goods as long as your total annual gross income does not exceed $8,000. Income from renting land does not count towards your gross income from hobby farming.
3. Farm animals
If you keep livestock on your small farm, there needs to be less than six animals to be considered a hobby farm. The most important exception for this is saddle animals. For example, horses won’t count towards the limit of six animals for your hobby farm.
Now that you understand what criteria helps define hobby farms, consider what insurance coverage options exist.
Step two: understanding insurance coverage for hobby farms
If you don’t have hobby farm insurance, your personal insurance coverage will not apply. Personal insurance coverage will cover your home and some of your belongings. However, if you own an acreage with larger portions of land, outbuildings or equipment that most homeowners wouldn’t have, you need separate coverage.
Hobby farm insurance would fall under limited farm coverage. This offers additional coverage for liability across your larger property, protections for small utility tractors or bigger outbuildings that most home insurance does not cover. If you’re located in Alberta or Atlantic Canada, this would be the hobby farm insurance coverage available to meet your needs.
In Ontario, BrokerLink offers the Farm Advantage program, and specific coverage for Hobby Farms as part of the program. The Farm Advantage Hobby Farm Package includes tool and equipment coverage and first party pollution coverage (available even if you rend out land to another farmer), which is all offered at a great value for hobby farmers.
Step three: contact a broker
If you’re a hobby farm owner and want to learn more about what insurance coverage options are best for you, contact your BrokerLink broker today.