State Farm Property Damage Claims – In the early morning hours of May 28, severe storms and tornadoes across western Ohio affected several communities. One person was killed, many were injured, and homes and businesses were left in their path. Our hearts go out to those affected by these devastating storms. Safety is paramount as residents assess their damages.
State Farm encourages customers to start the claims process as soon as possible and take steps to prevent further damage. Consumers can initiate the claim process by contacting their agent, calling 1-800-SFCLAIM, using the State Farm mobile app or by reporting. Claim at www.statefarm.com/claims.
State Farm Property Damage Claims
State Farm responds to storm-hit areas. We will be here to assist customers with their claims as we begin the recovery process. State Farm agents, agents’ staff and local employees are available to assist customers with their claims. Our claims disaster response team is deployed in high impact areas to assist. Our customers.
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As a reminder, insurance only covers tree removal that affects your home, building, other structures, or fences. Coverage limits may apply to debris removal coverage. Tree removal is now very expensive as resources are spread out.
For more than 100 years, State Farm’s mission has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, overcome the unexpected, and achieve their dreams. State Farm and its subsidiaries are the largest auto and home insurance providers in the United States. 19,400 agents, 67,000 employees and 91 million policies and accounts available, including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm ranks 44th on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com .State Farm told the Kansas Department of Insurance last month that it will instruct third-party claimants to obtain an estimate from a select service repairer, but the claimant is “not obligated to use that repairer.”
An Illinois attorney reported Wednesday that third-party claimants have been told to seek estimates in State Farm’s Direct Repair Program network.
“It’s picked up here in the Chicago area as well,” said attorney Patrick McGuire, who is among the collision repairers. (Note: Nothing in this article is intended as legal advice. Please consult with qualified attorneys in your state.)
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Beyond the obvious steering concerns, such incidents seem to impose an obligation on third-party claimants that does not exist under the contract. Unlike first-party motorists who have a contractual relationship with an insurer, third parties typically do not exercise any rights.
An unjustified demand by a third-party claimant to suffer the inconvenience of an estimate at a shop that does not require it is bad enough. But such an initiative can be exacerbated if insurer representatives or third-party claimants mistakenly believe that the actual repairs should be done at the DRP facility. This will certainly override shop-choice laws across the country.
“When discussing a claimant’s desire to secure vehicle repairs, we offer our Select Service program as an initial option if we have Select Service repairers in the claimant’s geographic location,” State Farm Auto ILR Manager Jeff Avery wrote to the Kansas Department of Insurance on April 15. Response to a public complaint. “We direct them to these repairers to secure an initial estimate for the repairs. We will make the payment once we receive this estimate. Customer is under no obligation to use that repair. Consumers can use their claim settlement payment as they see fit, including deciding where to have their vehicle repaired. …
“If a customer has already dropped off their vehicle at their chosen repairer, we will work directly with that repairer to arrive at an agreed repair amount.”
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“As noted earlier, there is no legislation addressing your concerns about specific repair shops,” Kansas Department of Insurance customer assistance supervisor Karen Wallace wrote April 24 to Tony Adams, vice president of the Kansas Auto Body Association. Adams had submitted a public inquiry into law changes that could have led to State Farm’s response.
“It seems from the response that State Farm people want to use specific shops for estimates, but not necessarily use those shops for maintenance,” Wallace continued.
We asked State Farm several questions about reports on third-party claims behavior from Kansas, Illinois and North Carolina:
State Farm’s official policy for third-party claimants, a possible source of interpretation that a new requirement exists, state filing requirements to change the treatment of third-party claimants, why State Farm can impose liabilities on third parties, and how claims worked when a third-party claimant also held a first-party State Farm policy.
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“Thanks for reaching out,” State Farm Public Affairs Senior Specialist Tammi Estes wrote on April 28. “We have nothing to share with the RDN.”
Adams said he’s faced inquiries from KABA members about third-party behavior at State Farm and experienced what a similar situation could be at his own shop.
Adams said a State Farm representative insisted a longtime Weaver’s customer — a third-party claimant — bring his vehicle to a DRP shop for repairs. Ultimately, Adams’ shop asked for a State Farm supervisor, who immediately confirmed that the customer had the right to have his vehicle repaired anywhere, Adams said. Weaver kept the keys.
Adams said he thought it was a simple error on the part of the subordinate, but now wonders if the incident was part of something wider.
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In Illinois, “a third-party claimant has no liability,” McGuire said. According to McGuire, they can repair the car and have a bill in hand before taking up the incident with a first-party claimant.
An insurer that files a third-party claim may not be obligated to use the terms of their first-party contract, says McGuire. The consumer can choose whether to redress the loss as a first-party or third-party claimant.
But while filing a first-party claim in a total-loss situation may have benefits for the victim, according to McGuire, “it’s a rare instance where you’re in a better position as a first-party.
“Even if they share the same insurance company, there is no obligation on a third-party claimant to pick up a vehicle to get an estimate at the location of the insurer’s choosing,” Eversman said.
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Unless the claimant is an adverse third party, and language in a first-party contract does not require the consumer to waive third-party rights, “that insurer has no right of action against the third party,” she said.
Attorney Erica Eversman of Vehicle Information Services said she is not familiar with Kansas law but doubts any insurance commissioner would allow a carrier to make such a requirement on a policy.
Allowing an insurer to participate in the repair process may avoid the need for a third-party claimant to sue a policyholder. But that doesn’t mean the insurer has any right to control the process, according to Eversman.
“As a general principle,” third parties have no obligations to insurers – “period”. It is “inappropriate” for an insurer to attempt such a restriction, she said.
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State Farm did not respond to follow-up requests for comment about the Illinois allegation and the carrier’s training for adjusters, select service shops, and outsourced estimating (such as an A.I., desk reviewer or independent appraiser) of writing discrepancies by a third party. and first party sheets.
“Some states have laws that prevent the insurance company from having the first or third party claimant travel unreasonable distances, or establish other guidelines for vehicle inspections,” APCIA vice president of auto and claims policy Bob Passmore said in a statement. “However, in most cases the claimant and insurer can work together to find the most efficient and effective way to inspect the vehicle, assess the damage and pay the claim.”
According to Eversman, insurers can commit insurance fraud by understating claims. They suggested that the repairer could be liable for “insurance fraud and understatement of claims” if used by the insurer as a body shop agent.
Eversman noted that using a third party with an interest in the claim to write an estimate “favors the insurance company,” with the understanding that the shop can write a higher estimate after the claim is seized. That’s the “whole game” of a DRP repairer writing an estimate, she noted.
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Hiring a body shop to outsource a claim was an “incredible conflict of interest” when the “clear intention” was to capture DRP shop repairs, she argued.
Eversman said it would be one thing if the DRP shop did a “good overall initial repair analysis with no vandalism,” but the estimate made it very clear that it did so without the necessary disassembly to properly determine the claim amount. It had to be stated “in writing, in bold” – that this was the “most accurate estimate that could be generated” without disaggregation.
“That would be a different story,” Eversman said. However, this may not get rid of the shop or eliminate the conflict of interest issue, she said.
So we suggested