Farm crime and surging cost of living pose threat to livelihoods

  • As farmers battle the cost-of-living crisis amidst a rising tide of rural crime, protection of farm property and equipment has never been more urgent

£40.5m was estimated to be the bill for rural theft in 2022 – targeting expensive equipment, vehicles and livestock.*  Even fuel has become a target, given the costs of red diesel are almost double what they were the previous year.

Farmers also have to contend with a surge in prices right across essential elements of farming such as electricity, fertiliser, water, animal feed and veterinary bills – making additional costs due to theft, disastrous.

It’s important farmers take all precautions to protect this crucial industry and safeguard their livelihoods.  Research by the farm insurance comparison site, Quotezone.co.uk, reveals agricultural equipment is vulnerable to theft.  Less than half of those sampled, 41%, actually keep their items in a locked garage or barn.

The research, based on a sample of over 6,000 farm vehicle insurance policies, shows that nearly 20% of farmers don’t lock their garages or barns, and 15% of vehicles are left out on unsecure driveways.

The farm vehicle data, which was compiled nationwide across 2022, also shows the average cost of a farm vehicle in 2022 was £13,250, so well worth protecting.

Quotezone.co.uk provide some top tips to help increase security, and also try to lower insurance premiums by:

  • Add and maintain alarms, CCTV and security lights, and keep gates locked/vehicle keys with you
  • Restrict access to yards, installing sturdy gates fixed in concrete or a metal post
  • Paint equipment in distinctive / corporate colours
  • Consider investing in security devices such as Datatag marking or vehicle trackers
  • Note serial numbers, register and take photographs of expensive items
  • Be on the lookout for breaches – checking fences, hedges and walls
  • Join farm and Neighbourhood Watch schemes

Agriculture in 2021 contributed around 0.5% to the UK’s economy, that’s £11.2bn – providing half of the food we eat and employing almost half a million people.

Responding to the findings, Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “Agriculture is an integral part to the UK economy, bolstering employment and providing vital food supplies.

“It’s disappointing to see rural crime rates are on the rise after the pandemic.  I think many would assume that due to the rural location of farms and the size and complexity of the machinery in question that theft would be unlikely, but it appears farms continue to be a target for specialist thieves.

“That’s one of the reasons why an insurance policy is so important.  It not only protects farmers’ valuable assets and provides financial security – it also supports their livelihood.  That’s why we’re extending our range of farm insurance products, customers will now be able to compare farm insurance as well as farm vehicle insurance – giving them the tools to compare products and save as much as possible.

“Additional security measures are obviously ideal to help keep the farm safe but they can also save money, keeping vehicles in a locked barn or garage and off the driveway can bring the premium price down significantly, so well worth investigating.”

5 Watch Out Tips from Quotezone.co.uk;

If you drive your farm vehicle on the road at any stage, it will be required by law to have insurance

If you have a mortgage on the farm, the provider may insist on farm insurance to protect their investment

Vehicles on the road must not use red diesel, as this could invalidate the insurance

If your farm has a farm shop or is an open farm that is visited by members of the public you may need to include public liability cover as part of your farm insurance policy

If your farm employs staff then employers’ liability insurance isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a legal requirement in the UK

Quotezone.co.uk helps around 3 million users every year find savings on household bills and essentials farm vehicle insurance, tractor insurance and has just launched a new product, farm insurance.  

Farm insurance is a type of insurance policy that bundles together a wide range of different coverage options to ensure specific cover to protect each individual farm or smallholding – including livestock, farmhouse, outbuildings, farm equipment and farm vehicle insurance.