Should you have insurance for your apiary?

Here are some questions/thoughts to consider.

1. Does your current homeowner’s general liability insurance policy cover your hives at home?

If you don’t know, then you can call the insurance company’s general customer service # and ask if their homeowner’s policy covers beekeeping.  You do not need to identify yourself as a current policy holder, but ask the question as a potential customer.  If you don’t want to ask about beekeeping, then ask about ponies or dogs or rabbits or birds.  Then ask the same question about ponies or dogs if you have them on a different property 3 miles away.

2. If you do not currently have coverage at home, then you need to consider whether that is acceptable.

3. If you do have coverage at home, and your policy also covers the same type of animal or livestock at a different location three miles away, then you may not need to spend additional funds.

4. If your homeowner general liability policy does not provide coverage for the out-apiary, then you need to consider whether coverage is needed to protect the land-owner, whether it is needed to protect yourself for incidents while at the property, or whether it is needed to deal with risks while you or the bees are in transport?

5. If there is an extra-ordinary level of risk at the out-apiary site (is it next to an elementary school playground?), and you still want the site, then you may want to seriously consider insurance for you and the owner.  I have a liability policy for my apiary operations and it costs over $600 per year despite zero accidents and zero claims.

6. If the risk is transportation, then you may well find that you are already covered by your auto liability insurance.

7. If you decide to obtain insurance for your apiary operation, do not be surprised if you are required to form a business corporation or other business entity to hold the policy, as some insurers require this.  Other insurers will sell you a rider on your homeowner’s policy.

8. Also be aware that some homeowner liability carriers in Virginia have cancelled policies after receiving inquiries about beekeeping coverage from identified policyholders.

John Fraser


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