Wednesday, June 5, 2013

State Farm Is Awesome

Usually people complain about their insurance companies.  I love mine.

I have had State Farm auto insurance since at least 1988.  Possibly longer.  When we bought our home, I insured our home through State Farm as well.

Yes, I am a lawyer, and I have read the "bad faith" insurance cases with State Farm as the defendant.  But either they have learned their lesson, or they reserve their alleged "bad faith" for people other than me.  State Farm has always treated me well. They have never denied a claim, and I have had my fair share of claims -- windshields that needed replacing, fender benders, vandalism, theft, lost a part of our roof in a storm once...  State Farm always just pays the claim, quickly and generally without any hassle.

Recently I was in a fender-bender in my 1998 Lincoln Town Car, which I basically inherited when my grandmother died.  It is a beautiful car, silver gray, with only about 45,000 miles on it (35,000 when I got it last year).  It is truly a luxury vehicle, with all the "bells & whistles" including heated front seats and a sun roof; it is soooo comfortable with its smooth, cool, thick and soft leather seats; it is in near mint condition; and it handles very well, too.  I love it.

(I got rid of my beloved Chrysler - my first new car ever! - last year when I got the (practically antique) Lincoln, because even though I loved the Chrysler, it seemed foolish to keep making car payments when I could drive the even-more-luxurious-if-somewhat-older Lincoln for free).

The fender-bender caused an estimated $3500 worth of damage to my beautiful car (estimates at three shops that I went to ranged from $2700 to $4000, with an average of $3500).  It doesn't take much damage to total $3500.... a broken headlamp, dented hood, dented bumper, and dented front grille did the job....

The bluebook value on the car is somewhere around $4000.  State Farm initially said they intended to "total out" the car because the cost to repair it was higher than the book value would justify.  They explained that this meant they would give me the money for it and I could still keep the car (and repair it or not, my choice), but that I would then have a "salvage" title.  So I could continue to drive the car, but likely would have trouble selling it if I ever wanted to, and they would provide liability insurance if I wanted them to, but no more collision or comprehensive coverage.  Ick.  I did not want a "salvage" title.  I was starting to fear my first ever hassle and/or denied claim with State Farm.  (I looked it up later, though, and this is pretty standard operating procedure for insurance companies, so they weren't doing anything unusual.)

I explained the car's sentimental value and the fact that it had only 45,000 miles on it -- years of usability!  -- and the fact that it is a beautiful car with all the luxuries and I love it.

They said, "OK, take it to the repair shop of your choice, and let's see how much it actually takes to repair it.  If it goes over about $2800 (70% of the value), the presumption is that we are supposed to total it out, but before we make that decision, we'll look at it more closely to determine value, and if the cost to repair is only a few hundred over the value we determine, we will consider your desires and the sentimental value of the car, instead of just setting an arbitrary "kill" number."

Well, the $3500 estimate was pretty accurate.  It was $3600 to repair.  But State Farm paid it and did not "total out" my car.

But wait!  There's more!

While the car was being repaired, I was scheduled to go on vacation, so I took advantage of the rental car coverage I maintain on my policy, and took the rental car on vacation.

The car was ready on Monday.

I was not scheduled to return from vacation until late last night (Tuesday) / early this morning (Wednesday).  In fact, I arrived home around 2 a.m.

State Farm initially had covered the rental car through Monday, which meant I would have had to pay for yesterday and today.

I called and asked if they would cover the extra two days for the rental car since I had been in California and unable to pick it up on Monday, and they said yes.  Just like that. Not even a moment's hesitation.

I love State Farm.  If you do not have State Farm insurance, you should!


Janie Junebug said...

That's great. Favorite Young Man has State Farm and is a satisfied customer. I've been with Allstate for years. Favorite Young Man had a little accident with my car a couple of years ago. It was serious enough to total out the car, but FYM spoke to the Allstate person who looked at the car and pretty easily convinced him to pay the maximum amount allowed, knowing that FYM would perform the work himself. I love Allstate.


Scope said...

Glad you were able to save that classic and all the memories that it holds.

SkylersDad said...

Sounds like everything worked out great for you, congrats!