Nothing in this picture is insured, not the barn, not the hoop buildings, not the crops, not even the dog. I only insure that which would be financially devastating to replace. Am I a reckless wildman of the north woods? Or am I an astute businessman?
I go over my farm insurance with my agent nearly every year. A few years ago he pushed a paper across his desk and asked me to sign it.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“Oh, it’s just a waiver. The insurance company won’t insure the hoop buildings for wind or hail.”
“Hmmm,” I scratched my head and smiled. “What else could happen to them?” I asked.
“Oh, someone could take a knife and run along them,” he said, still trying to make the sale.
I thought to myself, “If someone is doing that, then I have bigger problems than hog housing.”
“I guess I’ll take my chances,” I said and pushed the paper back across his desk. “Let’s go over the rest of the policy.” Now I was in a cutting mood and starting to get the high a spendthrift feels upon finding a nickel.
“The barn is insured for $10,000,” he said.
The premium for the barn was $150. I thought about how little economically I use the barn. I keep a few square bales of hay and straw in the top and I keep my chickens, (which is a hobby), in the bottom. But I love that big, old, red barn. If I were to drop the insurance I would somehow feel like I was neglecting the barn.
“We both know it couldn’t be replaced for $10,000,” he said.
Never talk through the close.
I perked up. “You’re right, it couldn’t be replaced for $10,000.”
“But you could build something else, like a pole shed,” he stammered as he felt another premium slipping away.
I thought to myself, “If I wanted a pole shed, I would build a pole shed. What I want is this barn, and the only real insurance is to avoid fires, keep up the roof and structure, and pray.”
What I was in considering in actuality was a $150 lottery ticket which would pay out $10,000 and the only way to win was for my barn to burn down. I didn’t want any part of it.
So the test I came up with is, Could I afford to lose it? What I was left with is insurance on my house and garage and personal belongings for $200,000 for a premium of $316 per year. $500,000 liability for $82. $36 because I have a 4-wheeler. And an $18 policy fee which is unexplainable and would drive me crazy if I gave it much thought so I won’t for now.
So what do you think? Was I raised by wolves?