As spring is approaching, American farmers and ranchers are preparing for the crop-growing season ahead. For those who want to effectively manage their risk by protecting their annual spring crops with a Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) policy, March marks the deadline for their application and a very busy time for the 14 USDA Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) and their Agents, who collectively, sell and service over 1 million policies nationwide. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what the sales closing date means for farmers and its impact on the wider agricultural industry.
What is the ‘sales closing date’?
This is the last date to apply for crop insurance coverage for any of the various Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) policies or to make changes in coverage from the previous year. Growers need to decide by this date on the type of policy and the level of protection they want. The sales closing date varies by crop and state, but for most spring-planted crops such as Cotton, Soybeans, and Corn is usually March 15.
How do farmers and ranchers apply for crop insurance?
The application for insurance is completed in an agent’s office and then submitted to an approved insurance provider (AIP) electronically. All applications must be with the agent by the applicable sales closing date.
What happens during the application process?
Growers will decide which crops to insure and what level of coverage they need. If the grower chooses to insure a crop (e.g. corn) in a county (e.g. Clark County, Kansas), they have to insure all of their acres of corn in Clark County. Insurance coverage automatically renews each year, unless the policyholder or the AIP cancels it by the specified cancellation date, which is usually the same as the sales closing date. This period is also the time for policyholders to review their coverage, make changes or cancel the insurance coverage. Any changes the insured makes must be submitted by the crop sales closing date. If changes are not submitted prior to the sales closing date, the changes won’t take effect until the following crop year.
What are the next steps?
The insurance provider will accept and process an insurance application that has been duly completed and submitted in a timely manner unless the applicant is found to be ineligible under the terms of the contract or a Federal statute or regulation. The applicant will get the relevant policy documentation as well as a summary of coverage from the insurance company. After the application has been approved, the policyholder cannot revoke coverage for the first crop year.
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