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Prepairing To Deal With Farmers

Posted by Mike 
Prepairing To Deal With Farmers
March 28, 2008 07:15AM
I recently went through a grueling homeowners claim with Farmers and wanted to share the lessons I learned in hopes that it may help someone else. As a disclaimer, everything in this and subsequent posts are my opinion and are intended for informational purposes only.

Before my claim, the extent of my knowledge of my insurer was a basic comprehension of the Declaration Page of our policy and knowing when the premiums were due. After seemingly countless hours of research, hours which Farmers philanthropically provided us by trying to screw us for six months, I believe we know a little more now.

We were fortunate in the respect that my wife has an extensive accounting and computer background and I have an extensive construction background. Were it not for these factors, we might not have realized the CRT (Catastrophe Response Team) estimate was 110% low.

So, what does one need to know, when entering into a negotiation with Farmers?

First I would like to suggest a small visual aid exercise. Walk outside.Turn back and look at your home longingly. This will help you get used to the fact that you will not have your home for some time to come. Next, find the smallest pebble on your property. Take your time and look well for the smallest one. This will teach you patience. You will need this, lots and lots of it. Take your pebble and walk to a point where you are in front of the hardest wall of your home. In fact, circle the house many times. This will prepare you for Farmers answers to your questions. When you are in front of the hardest wall, throw the pebble at the wall. Pick a wall that was not damaged in your loss, because your policy clearly states that Farmers Insurance group will not pay for any subsequent damage, such as rats getting in through blown out walls and chewing wires, mold grown because of time delays in getting fair compensation for the loss, walls dented from thrown pebbles…that sort of thing. Walk over and pick up your pebble. Walk back to the point where you threw your pebble from. Throw it again. Repeat this process until you are at a point of frustration such as you have never felt before. Walk over and pick up your pebble. Throw it at the wall again. Repeat this process until you ask yourself in your very soul ‘why am I doing this?’ Walk over and pick up your pebble. Farmers will not pay for any cleanup not Directly related to loss damage.

Second thing in your preparations, gather your family around you. Hug them with passion and deep feeling. Look each one of them in the eye and assure them that anything you will call them five months from now, you do not mean it and sincerely regret doing so. Kiss each one of them good bye, as you will now be busy. Don’t forget to wish little Suzy well on those extended 6th grade projects she gets in preparation for Jr. High, that your should be monitoring her weekly progress on. Your life will now become about numbers, lots and lots of numbers.

This brings us to the Third preparation. Buy new, or put fresh batteries into an existing fully functional calculator. You will need it. Farmers, and this is only an opinion, does not buy new, nor puts fresh batteries into existing calculators. Become more familiar with Excel. It will help. Buy extra ink cartridges. Better yet, buy a laser jet. I could go on here about ALE (Additional Living Expenses) Worksheets, Xactimate Estimates, Supplemental Worksheets etc., but they will be addressed in later posts. Suffice it to say; before it’s all over, you may look at your calculator as you do your spouse, in both the good and bad ways. If that happens do not feel ashamed or guilty. Those feelings will pass.

Fourth, go to your favorite literary purveyor, and purchase a copy of ‘R.S. Means Residential Repair & Remodeling Costs’. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, as you thumb through it in the book store, it may read like the Iliad in its native tongue. Trust me, it will help you. You can always put it out at the yard sale after your claim is settled. I guarantee you some small contractor will snap it up, after he gets over his disappointment that you don’t have any power tools for sale. Farmers will tell you their estimate is full, complete, priced for your market, compiled from the ‘industry standard in estimating software’, and that they love you and want to bear your children. It’s all bull. R.S. Means is and has been the construction industry standard for the past 60 years. Xactimate, Farmers estimating program is made up of imaginary numbers no honest, quality minded contractor could charge and sustain any longevity in the market. (The preceding statement is an opinion, and in no way constitutes an intentional threat to the Xactimate Estimating Program, its creator Xactware, nor Xactware’s parent company, Insurance Solutions Office)

Lastly, again go outside, if you have since returned indoors after your pebble exercise. Look up at the sky. Try to convince yourself the sky is green. Really work at it…no, really. Stop this exercise just short of having convinced yourself. We don’t want you to permanently go over to the dark side. This will greatly aid you in your future conversations with representatives of Farmers Insurance Group. It will help you understand what they are trying to tell you.

Completing these steps, you are now ready to learn the logistical skills needed to negotiate your claim to a fair settlement…

Although this was somewhat tongue in cheek, it is a fairly accurate portrayal of what it is like to deal with Farmers Insurance Group. Please do not be daunted by it. It is possible to get a fair settlement. You will have to fight for it. It will take you a long time. To be successful, you will have to put your normal life on hold. You will get frustrated, you will be demoralized. Your relationships will suffer. Farmers Insurance Group counts on these things. I can’t give you a date, but it has been a long time since Farmers, and several other major insurers have laid aside their responsibilities to policyholders and discarded fiduciary ethics. Until our national and state legislators pass the anti-trust laws necessary to reign in these obscene attitudes and practices, it is up to us as individual policyholders and contractors to fight for what is rightfully ours, to be treated fairly and with good faith.

I wish I could go back to when all I needed to know was when our premium was due. I can not. We are forced to buy insurance. We can not buy a home without it. We can not drive without it. We need to know that in our most trying times. When a loved one is injured, when the vehicle we use to support our families is disabled, when our homes can not be lived in, that our needs will take precedent over extra profit for a shareholder. What Farmers Insurance Group, and several other insurers are doing is wrong. Not a ‘little wrong’, not’ kinda wrong’, not ‘gee, this is pretty wrong’. It is WRONG. For a company, whose duty it is to ease the loss of one’s life, health , and or possessions that one has worked and struggled for, to add obstacles, stress, and heartache to what can already be a catastrophic, devastating, or even just a challenging event in a family’s life, simply to increase their financial portfolio is unconscionable.

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Re: Prepairing To Deal With Farmers
March 28, 2008 03:48PM
Mike,

Thank you for your story and advice for others. Farmers Insurance sure put you through the wringer. I feel your pain. In this day of age it is very surprising that a company can get away with what Farmers Insurance does. They tried to lowball me and make life tough, but I also fought back. We won in small claims court. Everyone needs to fight back with this company. I created this site to inform others of Farmers Insurances practices of lowballing, stonewalling and bad faith business practices. Once Farmers Insurance saw all this information that reveals how they really treat customers and their bad faith claim denying efforts on the web they unleashed the lion on me. You can read about it here:
[www.farmersinsurancegroupsucks.com]

Good luck getting your life back together! Your story will certainly educate other readers! Thank you!

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I was involved in a property damage accident at a resturant in Boulder City,Nv.A piece of steel rebar was sticking out of the top of a parking barrier and when I backed up it nearly tore my bumper shield.There is about $800 damage and now Farmers Business Insurance that insures the resturant is refuseing to pay.I have filed a complaint with the comission.What a joke.The rebar was bent over and it is clear this is not the first time it has been hit.So,I am taking them to court for a $800 claim.LOL!!!!

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Jeff,
As I understand your claim, you backed into a stationary object.

The greater liability lies with the moving vehicle, not a stationary object. While it may have been evident that there were prior hits, that does not change the facts of the claim as they were presented here.

As much as I dislike to side with farmers, I would come up with the same decision.

Good luck in court.

Ex Agent

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We were rear-ended by a man who is insured with Farmers. He hit us with significant force, however because my daughter's Toyota Forerunner had a heavy duty tow package, the damage to her car was not too bad, although he did crush in the bumper. Farmers sent a very young woman out to look at the back of her car, never put it up on a rack to determine whether there was damage to the undercarriage, then wrote her a check for $1000 and left. All four of us, who were in the car and suffered whiplash, were sent letters informing us that, because the damage was small, our claim for bodily injury was being denied. In just the three weeks since the accident, we have incurred $4000 in medical bills. My 64 year old husband has to go in for an MRI @ $650 next week and we are self-employed and paying for all of this on credit cards. What we really need help on, is finding a really competent attorney who works on a contingency basis and might have prior experience fighting Farmers. We are not out to make money, but merely want to be reimbursed fairly, for medical bills, our lost time and something for the distress and discomfort. If anyone can advise us with a reference in the Hollywood, CA area, we would be so grateful. We've never had need of hiring an attorney (thank God!) and frankly, it scares the hell out of us to make a mistake. Thanks so much for any help!

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Re: Prepairing To Deal With Farmers
May 08, 2009 02:55PM
Liz,
Make sure to see
[www.farmersinsurancegroupsucks.com]

Good luck!

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