The "Farmers Insurance News-Alert" website is dedicated to providing the consumer and general public with detailed information concerning the Farmers Insurance Group. This includes fraud reports, consumer complaints, lawsuit's and other legal actions taken against this company. All information contained herein is for educational purposes only. Original sources, when known are sited.
Another Farmer's horror story.
On June 5, 1996 our house burned to the ground destroying the house and everything we owned. Farmer's Insurance is denying our personal property claim. We had full replacement cost coverage.
Our Farmers adjuster came to the site two days after the fire. She asked us to tell her everything we owned that was over $200. What it was, where we bought it, when we bought it and how much it cost. She put this information on a form and explained that she would now go to the office and call stores to find out replacement cost, depreciate it and arrive at a "cash value" amount. Then we would get a check for that amount and when we replaced the item we would send the receipt and get the difference between the cash value and replacement cost. She then told us to make an inventory of the rest of our possessions and send it to her which we did. Every month or so after that she would call and say she needed more detail or information. We were NEVER told to include a depreciated or actual cash value amount. We NEVER received a depreciation schedule or instructions. We have ended up doing about 5 lists for them with various details. After seven months had gone by I called asking when we would get our check for the cash value amounts and was told by our adjuster that she hadn't received our latest list but it wasn't a problem because she was so busy with all the winter storm damage claims she hadn't gotten to ours yet anyways. I then contacted our state Insurance Commissioners office to find out how long was reasonable to wait. They suggested that I file a complaint which I did. Nine months after the fire we received a letter from Farmer's Attorney saying we would have to undergo "Examinations under Oath". Which is like a deposition with a court reporter and their attorney. We thought maybe they were going to suggest it was arson or that we started it. (We didn't and could prove it so we weren't too worried) But that wasn't what it was about - he said we hadn't put the actual cash value on our inventory list as our policy required. We didn't because no one had ever asked for it and in fact our adjuster had stated that was her job! A few weeks later we received a letter saying they were denying our claim. We called the attorney asking why now that we knew what they wanted they wouldn't let us provide that information and he replied "Why did you call the insurance commissioner"? This was a week before the one year anniversary of our house fire. Under our policy we could only bring suit within one year from the date of loss. Luckily we found an attorney to file suit within the week. After we filed suit their attorney said we could provide the actual cash values. We provided that list in the summer of 1997. They then said they would give us a ridiculous amount (Less then 1/4 of what we lost) without ever saying what it was suppose to be for.
Then they asked for a list that not only showed What, Where, When, How Much and Actual Cash Value but also for Replacement cost which is not required in our policy but we did it anyways. They have never challenged our numbers - we would be happy to back them up - they just flat out don't want to pay. We have incurred attorney's fees and our once perfect credit is shot because we started to replace things thinking we were going to be reimbursed by Farmers and because we were not we weren't able to keep the payments up. We were suppose to go to court in October 1998 but Farmers said if we dropped the suit they would fulfill our policy. That was in August 1998 - it is now January 1999 and we still have not seen a dime and I feel that Farmers uses this delaying tactic to beat people into accepting less than they deserve, expect them to forget about it or just plain give up.
From Day one they have done things to prevent us from doing our part of fulfilling the policy so that they would have a loophole. We received a letter and a proof of loss form dated 8/5/96 - exactly 60 days from the date of the fire. In our policy it states that the proof of loss form has to be returned WITHIN 60 days. I had read that and not realizing there was an actual form I typed a letter in July with all the information required in my policy and sent it to them. If I hadn't been on top of that I'm sure THAT would have been their reason for denying the claim!
Our agent has never explained any of our resposibilities either before or after the loss. He never met with us after the fire. He went to the site a few weeks after the fire then stopped by my office and said "Had a little fire?" and chuckled. (My 17 year old dog also died in that fire!) When I told him to cancel the homeowners insurance because there wasn't anything left it insure he said no because that might make the company mad and not pay my claim! I had to call my old agent to get it canceled. There's plenty more but this is already a very long story. If you want to get a hold of us. E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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