In the everyday insurance world, coverage may sometimes be hard to come by.
That can be true if you’ve had a disaster – such as a fire in your home – or live in an area at high risk for disaster. Car insurance coverage may be more expensive or even denied if you are a very young or very old driver, even if you’ve never had to file a claim.
Crop insurance is different.
Under the crop insurance system that has become the centerpiece of America’s farm policy, private-sector insurance providers must offer insurance to growers who are eligible for coverage and want it – regardless of a farm’s size, location, or cropping choice.
Additionally, crop insurers don’t have control over premium setting. A farmers’ rates are calculated and published by the USDA and, unlike other lines of insurance coverage, prices will not fluctuate between insurance providers.
Crop insurers compete on customer service, not price. And they cannot choose to simply do business with well-established farmers from areas that have a history of lower risk crops.
In fact, the crop insurance system must always look for ways to cover more and more farmers. Such inclusivity is a shared responsibility of the public and private sectors, which have partnered to bring additional public and privately augmented insurance options to the marketplace and keep pace with a constantly evolving agricultural sector.
While crop insurance was originally only available to major crops – such as corn, cotton, and wheat – it now offers coverage on 130 different crops, including most fruits and vegetables. Today, more than 1 million insurance policies provide $100 billion in protection to nearly 400 million acres – including about 90 percent of U.S. crop acreage.
And more policies and options are regularly being added through the USDA’s program to encourage new product development, where insurers work along-side farm leaders and researchers to create new and unique policies for everything from alfalfa seed to all-encompassing whole farm revenue protection.
Furthermore, this partnership teams up to deliver in-depth training services across the country for small and socially disadvantaged farmers to strengthen and broaden their familiarity with the inner workings of business planning and risk management strategies.
It’s a system that has married the best of the private sector with the best of government, and the result has been the most effective, popular farm safety net in the history of agriculture.