Agritourism Insurance Issues

Because of the inherent risks involved in running a recreational tourism operation, the landowner must acquire adequate liability insurance. For the most part, policies that cover general agricultural operations do not cover agritourism activities on the land. The landowner should obtain either a rider on the existing policy or a new policy specifically covering the recreational activity.

The premium for such a policy will be based in large part on the degree of risk associated with a particular recreational activity. Further, some insurers will factor in the landowner’s managerial capabilities or the capabilities of a hired operator when setting premiums.

Because most standard farm policies do not provide coverage for outside business activities, landowners must seek either a rider (endorsement) to the existing policy or a separate policy covering the agritourism activity.

As an example of how farm insurers might differ in their coverage requirements, Virginia Farm Bureau created farm owner endorsements that provide limited coverage for specified agritourism activities. Some insurers will cover agritourism activities for no additional premium if the farmer is not charging admission or a fee for the agritourism activity. North Carolina Farm Bureau adopted this approach; however, it requires that the farmer purchase an additional policy for the agritourism activity where the farmer is charging for public access.

The Agri-Business Council of Oregon pieced together a list of activities that will usually require a separate policy from the general farm or ranch policy, including:

  • boating, canoeing, rafting
  • clay bird shooting or other shooting events
  • hostel programs
  • exotic animal farms
  • fee hunting and fishing
  • festivals, celebrations, concerts, and special events
  • guest or dude ranch
  • horseback riding
  • hunting dog training and trials
  • hunting preserves
  • moto-cross, ATV, snowmobile, mountain bike riding
  • wineries and breweries

The same group also compiled a list of activities that may generally be insured under the general policy through endorsements, including:

  • bed and breakfast
  • farmers markets
  • roadside markets
  • school youth tours
  • technical tours
  • working farm

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Written by: Josh Bailey