What Is Livestock Insurance?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Livestock insurance provides financial coverage in the event of the theft or loss of farm animals. This can include exotic species that may not be utilized in conventional agriculture, but are being raised for agricultural purposes, like unusual poultry. Several types of agricultural and farm insurance are available, usually from firms that specialize in coverage for farmers. Some policies may include options for livestock riders and supplements, or may offer a discount if they are purchased in bundled packages with these types of insurance products.

For farmers, livestock can represent a substantial investment, particularly with breeding animals, which can be extremely valuable. Animals may sicken and die, could incur injuries, or might be lost in transit. They can also be stolen or, in the case of free-range livestock, may wander onto neighboring farms and become difficult to recover. All of these potential events create risk which farmers may choose to mitigate with a livestock insurance policy.

The policy provides a payout in the event of a named peril in the coverage, such as theft of an animal. Farmers need to provide documentation discussing the circumstances of the loss, like a law enforcement report on a theft, or paperwork from a veterinarian related to an unexpected death. Like other insurance, the coverage under livestock insurance may not take effect immediately and there may be a waiting period for payouts, two important things to consider when comparison shopping for policies or considering coverage options.


Specific named perils in a livestock insurance plan can vary, depending on the underwriter and the type of coverage purchased. An insurance agent can discuss options to help a client decide on the best coverage. It can also help to review risk assessments and reports from agencies that track livestock events to determine if an area has a potential peril that might require extra coverage. For example, infection with a known virus might be excluded in an era where it is common unless the farmer purchases a rider.

Another thing to consider with livestock insurance is where it is effective. Some policies are only active on the farm itself. If people want coverage while livestock is in transit, they may need to purchase a special policy, or insure the trailer used for moving animals. Farmers working with transit firms should discuss insurance needs and liability to make sure that if anything happens, compensation will be available to pay for lost, injured, or killed animals.


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