Does Your Insurance Cover Drift?

Submitted by Jeanette Gaultier, MAFRI Pesticides – Minor Use & Regulatory Specialist

If you’ve ever been involved in a pesticide drift claim, you’re likely all too familiar with the headaches and expense(s) that go along with the experience. Compensation for a neighbor’s lost crop yield and inputs or replacement shelterbelt trees can easily soar into the thousands of dollars.

It often comes as an unpleasant surprise to the producer who, in the middle of dealing with a drift claim, learns that pesticide drift injury is not covered under their insurance policy.  In fact, very few farm/general liability policies cover pesticide drift. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s not insurable.  Commercial pesticide applicators in Manitoba are required to have both general liability and pesticide drift insurance to be eligible for their pesticide applicator licence.  Like coverage for snow load, it’s an extra you probably have to ask for. 

And an extra you probably have to pay for.  The downside to drift insurance is that it generally comes at a premium, relative to other insurance.  Deciding if drift insurance is right for you will depend on your farming operation, your aversion to risk, and the cost of coverage.   

Since insurance policies vary among providers, ask your insurance agent what your policy does and doesn’t cover.  If you’re interested in drift insurance, an insurance agent can provide you with the costs and benefits for your farm.

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