Research has revealed that farmers are leaving their farm machinery unnecessarily vulnerable to theft.

After studying 10,000 insurance policies, Quotezone.co.uk, an insurance comparison website, found that more than 20 per cent of farmers keep working vehicles in unlocked garages overnight and more than 15 per cent are left out on unsecure driveways.

However, in more more encouraging news, locked garages, which are considered the safest place to keep agricultural vehicles, are the most popular storage option and account for nearly half of responses.

The NFU Mutual Crime Survey has reported the cost of farm related theft across the country to be £54.3million in 2019. This included £9.3million worth of farm vehicles, up from £7.4million the year before, and £3.1million worth of quad bikes, up from £2.6million.

Quotezone.co.uk suggests the following measures could help to increase security, and in turn might also lower some premiums:

  • Restricting access to yards, installing sturdy gates fixed in concrete or a metal post
  • Painting equipment in distinctive / corporate colours
  • Investing in security devices such as Datatag marking or vehicle trackers
  • Registering and take photographs of expensive items and equipment, noting serial numbers
  • Checking fences, hedges and walls regularly for breaches
  • Adding alarms, CCTV and security lights, and keeping gates locked and vehicle keys on your person
  • Joining Farm Watch (Neighbourhood Watch) schemes

Responding to the findings, the website's founder Greg Wilson said: “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 as the statistics show, farms have become 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. If items are stolen or damaged it could be very difficult to afford to replace them - causing knock-on effects to the running of the farm itself until a replacement vehicle is found.

“If the vehicle in question needs to be on a public road at any stage, it will need at least third-party insurance. It could also save money to insure all vehicles under the same policy – including other transport used on the farm such as quads or 4x4s and even a car which can be classed as business and social use – as long as any vehicle on the road does not use red diesel, as this could invalidate the policy.”