Farmers, crofters and rural businesses are being urged to take all necessary precautions against coronavirus due to a lack of insurance cover for the outbreak.
Acres Insurance Brokers says farmers must take steps to minimise the risk of interruption to their businesses as they will most likely not be covered for any closure as a result of coronavirus.
“Put simply, there is little or no insurance available that covers farming, or any other sector for that matter, due to the exceptional circumstance of the coronavirus outbreak,” said Nigel Wellings from Acres Insurance Brokers.
“Livestock and arable farmers may well be under the impression that they are covered through their business interruption policies, but I am afraid this won’t be the case.”
He said business interruption insurance covered physical damage, such as a roof being blown off a grain store, fire damage or theft.
“Business interruption does not cover for closure due to government action, as is the case with coronavirus,” said Mr Wellings.
“Certain policies may include add-ons for government or public body closures due to cases of notifiable diseases, such as foot and mouth.
“Unfortunately, coronavirus was not a notifiable disease, so won’t be covered.”
He said diversified farm businesses were being hurt by the outbreak.
“We have wedding venues that have already taken deposits, restaurants and cafes that have either had to close or are suffering from cancellations and lack of business, and Open Farms that have closed their doors,” added Mr Wellings.
“My main advice is to lobby your MP for support. While promises of government support and loans are welcomed, how quickly will these come in? There is an immediate need for cash-flow relief, with so many farms running on such thin margins, particularly during a difficult year with the weather.”
NFU Mutual confirmed its business interruption insurance would not cover disruption caused by coronavirus, and it advised farmers to take steps to protect their businesses and staff from the illness.
A spokeswoman for the rural insurer said: “We, along with our agents across the UK, will continue to provide support, information, and advice during these difficult times to help our members continue to operate as best as they can. We are working closely with rural charities to support farmers and the rural community.”