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Ways to avoid crop insurance claim denials

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Agriculture Law

Farmers are in an unusually risky business in Georgia. Their economic futures depend not on customer trends and venture capitalists but on fickle cold fronts and weather patterns. As a result, crop insurance has become standard throughout the agricultural sector over the past century.

However, crop insurance is not a perfect guarantee against risk. There are numerous problems that may result in denied crop insurance claims that threaten a farmer’s livelihood. Farmers can take a handful of steps that could protect themselves from claim denials.

Crop insurance process

The most important part of avoiding crop insurance claim denials is understanding the multiple stages in the claims process. Crop insurance is like any other form of insurance that an owner or landlord may buy for their business.

Claims are a basic process involving the policyholder, agent and adjuster. The policyholder tells the agent the issue involved, and the agent calls the adjuster to the property. An insurance adjuster makes an independent determination of what happened and what the farmer needs to do in order to conform to policy guidelines and ensure that the claim is accepted. Most issues with claim denial happen at either the initial level or the adjuster level.

Steps to take

After becoming familiar with the crop insurance process, it can help farmers to become familiar with every aspect of their claim. They need to document the claim from every possible angle. Pictures and videos are enormously helpful for backing up whatever the farmer tells the insurance company.

It’s a good idea for the farmer to document all interactions with the adjuster and have the adjuster put all of their advice in writing. It may also be helpful to have the adjuster sign and date their instructions as well. There are tenets in policies that conform to agricultural law and state that failure to follow an adjuster’s directions can be a valid defense for a rejected crop insurance claim.

Finally, any issues that happen with the denial should be properly appealed. An appeal often has a deadline and must be submitted before that deadline in order to have any chance of being accepted. Taking these steps will not eliminate all denials, but it may help greatly improve the chances of acceptance for a vital crop insurance claim.