Like many consumers, I’ve taken to doing most of my holiday shopping online. It’s more efficient than wandering the local mall waiting for commercial inspiration to strike and usually more economical.

But no matter how good of a deal I think I get, I’m always reluctant to spend the few extra dollars to insure the package. This is a lesson learned this season, as I had to eat the cost of a delicate gift that made it to my home in several pieces, instead of the one piece I was expecting. 

While I was only out the cost of a carton of egg nog, farmers can pay a steeper price if they don’t double-check their equipment coverage to include precision farming components. Obtaining the proper insurance protection for a tractor or combine is second nature for farmers, but less so when it comes to GPS and auto-steer systems.

“Honestly, it’s not always something that customers think about, especially if they don’t purchase technology with their equipment,” says Jason Pennycook, precision farming specialist with Johnson Tractor. “Their original policies won’t cover the cost of a guidance system or receiver because it wasn’t part of the initial sale.”

Pennycook has helped a handful of customer navigate through tedious insurance claims for precision technology, including a farmer whose combine caught fire. The original invoice didn’t include the GPS system, receiver or nav controllers that had been added to the machine. 

In order to claim the loss of his precision components, the customer needed to track down sales receipts to file with the insurance company.

This is gradually becoming a less common occurrence as more precision equipment comes factory-installed on new machinery, but Pennycook advises customers to make sure they have coverage in place to avoid disaster.

When spending six figures on a new combine, it’s worth the extra cost and effort to insure precision components as well. Losing a display, controller and receiver due to fire or theft can cost a customer upwards of $15,000. 

With all the emphasis these days on data collection, having a comprehensive insurance policy is one piece of documentation that farmers shouldn’t be without.