Insurance Claims FAQ
Who should I call to report a loss?
You can let your Farmers agent know, but to get the claims process rolling fast, call Farmers Claim Services at 1-800-435-7764 (English, Spanish and hearing-impaired). One of our customer service professionals will ask you a few questions to get the information we need to start the claims process.
What does Farmers Claim Services offer?
Our award-winning Farmers Claim Services team is staffed with caring professionals, available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you through the claims process.
How long will it take to handle my claim?
It depends on how complex the claim is, how serious the damages or injuries are, and how willing other involved parties are to cooperate. Farmers claims representatives always work toward prompt resolution of every claim. If a claim requires follow-up work, we'll be there with you every step of the way - no matter how long it takes. And, if your claim has been concluded and additional damage or injuries are identified, we'll reopen the claim and determine if your policy provides coverage for the additional expense.
How do I know if my claim will be covered?
A good place to start is by reviewing your policy. You also may want to ask your Farmers agent or the Farmers claims representative assigned to your claim to help you understand what coverage you've purchased and how it applies to your particular claim.
Will my premium increase if I file a claim?
It depends in part on the terms of your policy, how many claims you've filed in the past and insurance regulations in your state. Your Farmers agent can discuss the answers to these questions with you.
Will my policy be cancelled if I file a claim?
To help keep rates affordable for all Farmers customers, we must occasionally cancel a policy if a policyholder becomes a high risk - for example, by filing multiple claims within a brief time period, causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or taking unnecessary risks (careless use of flammable liquids, reckless driving, etc.). Your Farmers agent can discuss the answers to these questions with you.
I'm not at fault. Why do I need to file a claim on my Farmers policy?
You may have a hard time recovering from the at-fault party; they may believe that they're not at fault – or they may not have auto insurance. So, by filing a claim with Farmers, we may be able to help you recover your costs – including your deductible – from the insurance company providing coverage to the at-fault party.
What's a deductible?
It's the portion of a covered loss that, according to your policy, you've agreed to pay before Farmers starts paying for costs of the loss. For example, if you have a covered loss of $2,000 and your policy carries a $500 deductible, you'll pay the first $500 and we'll pay the remaining $1,500. In exchange for agreeing to pay a deductible, you pay lower policy premiums each year.
Will I still have to pay the deductible if I wasn't at fault?
No matter who's at fault, you may still have to pay a deductible for certain coverages. We'll try to recover that cost from the responsible party or the insurer of the responsible party, and we'll return your deductible to you if we succeed.
I don't think my losses will exceed my deductible. Should I still file a claim?
You may want to, just in case you discover additional injuries or damages later on that take the value of the claim over the deductible amount. Talk it over with your Farmers agent.
Should I file a police report for a loss or theft?
We recommend filing a police report immediately any time you experience an auto accident, property theft, or vandalism to your property.
What if I think the other party is filing a fraudulent claim?
Let us know. Your Farmers claims representative may ask our Special Investigations Unit to investigate your claim if potential fraud may be involved. Most states have laws against fraudulent claims; your Farmers claims representative will be sure to report relevant information to the proper authorities.
What if the other party sues me? What should I do?
If you receive a legal summons and/or complaint, alert your Farmers claims representative immediately, and forward a copy of the summons and/or complaint, along with any other letters and documents you receive to the Farmers claims representative who is working with you on your claim.
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It is insurance offered in some states that pays for each driver's own injuries, no matter who is found to be at fault in an accident. Ask your Farmers claims representative if you live in a no-fault state and, if so, how it might affect your claim.
What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?
It typically provides coverage for your bodily injury caused by an uninsured (a person who does not have insurance) or underinsured motorist (a person who does not have enough insurance to compensate you for your damages). In some states, this coverage extends to your vehicle damage, as well. Ask your Farmers claims representative how this coverage may apply under your policy.
What if my vehicle is "totaled" in an accident?
We look at the type and extent of damage, vehicle age, state law and other factors to determine whether to repair or declare a vehicle a total loss.
Who pays the loan balance if my vehicle is "totaled"?
We pay actual cash value for covered losses, up to the limits of your policy and excluding your deductible. You may be responsible for any loan balance above that amount. If another party is at-fault for the accident, you may be able to recover the amount of the loan balance that you are responsible for.
What's a Guaranteed Repair Program shop, and why should I consider taking my vehicle there for repairs?
Auto repair facilities in Farmers Guaranteed Repair Program provide Farmers policyholders with best-in-class repairs and exceptional customer service – repairing your vehicle quickly and professionally. Repairs completed at a GRP shop are guaranteed against defects in quality and workmanship for as long as you own the vehicle.
If I take my vehicle to a GRP shop, should I get an estimate from another repair facility?
No. That's one of the key benefits of the GRP program – you aren't required to obtain multiple estimates. The GRP shop will write an estimate and provide copies to you and to Farmers.
Do I need to be at the repair shop when my vehicle is being inspected?
No. Although the repair facility will want to go over the estimate with you and explain the repair and claims process, that can be done by phone.
What if the repair shop finds additional damage that wasn't covered in the first estimate?
If you've taken your vehicle to a Farmers Guaranteed Repair Program shop, they'll take care of the damages, if they are part of the original loss. If you've taken it to another shop, ask the Farmers claims professional who wrote your original repair estimate, to contact the shop and determine whether the additional damage is covered by your policy.
What if I need a rental vehicle while mine is being repaired?
If you've purchased loss of use or rental reimbursement coverage, the cost of a rental vehicle will be covered according to the provisions in your policy. Those coverages vary by state, but the covered loss must exceed your collision or comprehensive deductible.
Do I need to purchase the rental agency damage waiver or other insurance?
It's your decision, but the cost of additional insurance is not covered by your loss of use or rental reimbursement coverage.
If repairs take longer than the loss of use or rental reimbursement coverage in my policy provides for, what happens?
Unfortunately, your coverage cannot be extended beyond the amount you purchased in your policy.
How long will it take to repair my car?
It will depend on the amount of damage, availability of parts, whether hidden damage is uncovered during the repair process, and repair shop scheduling. The repair shop will give you an anticipated completion date.
How often will the repair facility update me on the status of repairs?
You should let the repair facility know how often you'd like to be updated, so they can meet your expectations.
If my vehicle is repaired with aftermarket parts, will those parts void my warranty?
Federal regulations protect you in this situation: if a repair facility restores your vehicle with an alternative part and that part fails, the parts vendor, repair facility and Farmers will back up the part as long as you own the vehicle.
Why do I have to pay my deductible to the repair facility when I'm not at fault?
Your auto policy requires that you pay a deductible for certain types of claims; if we succeed in recovering those costs from the at-fault party, you will be reimbursed.
If I'm not at fault, how long should it take to recover my deductible from the at-fault party?
It's hard to provide a precise time line, but we will attempt to get your deductible and any other expenses you incurred back from the at-fault party. Timing depends on how cooperative the other party is, whether they seek legal counsel, and other factors.
If I'm involved in an auto accident in another state, what happens?
We'll assign your claim to a Farmers claims professional who is familiar with claim handling laws and procedures in that state, and we'll arrange for vehicle inspection in the state where the accident occurred or in your home state – whichever is most convenient.
If property is stolen from my insured vehicle, is the loss covered by my auto policy?
It depends on what was stolen – if its vehicle equipment for which you've purchased coverage, the loss is covered. But if it's something you've placed in your vehicle – your computer or a set of golf clubs – theft of that property from your vehicle is not covered by your auto policy but may be covered by your homeowners' or renter's policy.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is an alternative way to resolve disputes outside the courts. An insurance company that has made a payment on a claim may initiate arbitration against another insurance company in an attempt to recover what it has paid on the claim from the other insurance company. Arbitration is commonly used to resolve disputes about who was legally liable to pay damages for a loss, the amount of damage sustained, or coverage issues. The arbitrator is a third party who reviews the evidence in the case and reaches a decision. The initiating and responding insurance companies are bound to the decision made by the arbitrator.
Is it common for arbitration to occur?
Yes. Insurance companies commonly use arbitration to resolve disputes when they cannot reach agreements with other insurance companies. The arbitration process may help resolve disputes quickly, avoid litigation, and control cost.
What happens in arbitration?
The insurance companies involved in the dispute provide their supporting documentation to an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator will review the documentation provided and then render a final and binding decision regarding the matter in dispute.
Is arbitration something I have to attend?
No. You are not required to attend an arbitration as the dispute is between the initiating and responding insurance companies.
What are the qualifications of the arbitrator?
An arbitrator often has several years of claims experience. The arbitrator is a neutral party and is not affiliated with any of the companies involved in the dispute. The arbitrator has nothing to gain from the outcome of the arbitration.
I do not want my claim in arbitration. Can I do anything to stop it?
No, because the dispute does not directly involve you. If the insurance companies who are parties to the arbitration have mutually agreed to resolve their disputes through arbitration, then the arbitration will proceed.
Is our position in arbitration weakened because I did not have my vehicle repaired?
No. There is no preferential treatment given by the arbitrator to those who repair their vehicle versus those who do not.
How will I know what was decided by the arbitrator?
Customers are notified of arbitration decisions as a courtesy. It can take a few months or longer to receive the decision outcome. The time it takes for arbitration to conclude can vary depending on the number of parties involved and the complexity of the case. You can contact your claim representative at any time for a status.
What if I don't agree with the arbitration decision?
There is no appeal of the arbitrator's decision. Insurance companies are obligated to honor the decision of the arbitrator.
I paid some expenses myself that were not covered by my insurance policy. How can I pursue these expenses?
Out of pocket expenses cannot be included in arbitration. You can pursue out of pocket expenses from the responsible party's insurance carrier. If their insurance carrier denies your request, then you have the right to file an action against the responsible party for the out of pocket expenses.
Will my policy or driving record be impacted by the arbitration outcome?
Not necessarily. Questions or concerns regarding your insurance policy or driving record can be directed to your Farmers' agent.
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Will my claim be covered?
It will depend on a number of factors: what coverage you purchased in your Farmers policy, what caused the loss or damage, and what property was lost or damaged, to name a few. If you're wondering if a particular loss or damage would be covered, contact your agent or Farmers Claim Services at 1-800-435-7764.
Can I choose who will do repairs to my property?
Yes. Your Farmers claims representative will work with your choice of vendor or contractor.
Will repairs be done properly and workmanship guaranteed?
By choosing your own contractor, you manage their work and ensure that the repairs meet your standards. If Farmers sends a vendor to your property to do specific work (for example, emergency services after a house flood or fire), we assure you that their work is done to appropriate standards.
Do I need to file a police report for property damage or loss due to theft?
Yes. Reporting losses to the appropriate authorities is required by your policy.
My home was damaged by burglars. Is the damage covered?
If you purchased dwelling coverage as part of your policy, the damage would be covered. To confirm this coverage, talk to your Farmers agent or your Farmers claims representative.
My home was damaged by a flood. Is the damage covered by my Farmers policy?
Farmers policies do not cover flood damage. If you also purchased flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, the damages may be covered. Please speak with your Farmers agent to obtain more details.
If a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, forest fire or other natural disaster has damaged my property, is the damage covered by my policy?
Hurricanes, tornados and forest fires are typically covered by your Homeowners policy. To respond to these types of losses, we typically send the Farmers Catastrophe Corps – also known as the CAT Corps – to any large-scale natural disaster, to quickly assess damage and help our customers through the claims process. See the FAQs section on catastrophic claims for more information.
Because of the damage, my home isn't safe to live in. What do I do?
Your safety is priority number one! If you purchased additional living expenses coverage as part of your policy, and a covered loss makes your home uninhabitable, your policy will cover a reasonable increase in living costs to maintain your normal standard of living. Some restrictions and limitations apply, so please consult your Farmers claims representative.
What if I don't have all the information about my loss right now? Should I wait to file a claim?
No. File your claim as soon as possible after your loss. Then, if you come across additional information that would help your Farmers claims representative with the claim, provide it to him or her at that point. We can even reopen a claim after it's closed if you obtain information that might result in an additional payment to you.
What do you need to show proof of ownership for stolen property?
To prove that you owned property you are claiming as stolen, you may provide purchase receipts, owner's manuals or product packaging, appraisals, or photographs of the items in your home.
My tree fell on my next-door neighbor's roof. Does my insurance pay for the repairs, or does my neighbor's?
You and your neighbor should both file a claim with your own insurers. We will investigate your claim and determine who might be responsible.
Do I need to hire a public adjuster?
If you've suffered a major loss, you may be contacted by a public adjuster. These are independent claims adjusters who will charge you a fee for their services based on the total value of your claim. That fee is not a covered expense; you cannot seek reimbursement for that cost from Farmers. We're confident that your Farmers claims representative will investigate, evaluate and settle your claim fairly and efficiently, so that you do not need to hire a public adjuster, but the final decision is yours to make.
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Will you handle this claim any differently because the damage to my property was caused by a catastrophe?
We'll respond with great urgency, because we recognize that when a major catastrophe strikes, an entire community is affected. The claims process is essentially the same, but the Farmers Catastrophe Corps – or the CAT Corps, as we call it – takes charge. That means on-site service, which might include everything from hot meals and access to phone and Internet lines; help finding temporary or long-term housing; news updates and "found" pet broadcasts; in-person claims investigation and estimating; an initial payment to cover emergency expenses; and rapid handling of your claim…to help you and your community get on the road to recovery – fast.
If yours is a smaller-scale situation, members of the CAT Corps will provide a comparable level of focused, intense service to help you and your neighbors recover – even if one of our mobile command centers isn't dispatched to the scene.
What should my first step be?
First and foremost, make sure everyone in your family is safe, and get medical care if anyone has been injured. Then, call Farmers Claim Services at 1-800-435-7764, or visit the Farmers CAT Corps mobile command center if it has set up operations in your area.
Protect your property by sealing broken windows, putting tarps over cracks or openings in exterior walls or roof, and doing whatever else you can to prevent additional damage. Keep receipts for any materials you buy; those costs may be reimbursable.
What else can I do if I have time before my first meeting with a Farmers claims representative?
If you can, start preparing a room-by-room inventory of damages and lost property. If you have the information, or remember it, include manufacturers' names, model numbers, and purchase dates.
When will someone visit my property and evaluate my claim?
If we've set up a CAT Corps unit in your area, let the staff know that you need the services of a Farmers claims representative. Or call Farmers Claim Services at 1-800-435-7764, to open your claim and arrange your initial on-site appointment.
Should I start making repairs before you inspect the damage?
We know you're eager to start putting your home back together, but it's best to wait until we've conducted our first on-site inspection. The only thing you should do is protect your property from further damage, by covering broken windows, or gaps in the roof or exterior walls. That way, we can identify all the damages that may be covered by your policy, ensuring that you receive everything you're entitled to.
How long will it take to process my claim?
It depends, of course, on the magnitude of the catastrophe and the number of Farmers customers who have been affected. But you have our promise that we will bring as many people to your community as we can, and move as quickly as is possible to investigate, estimate and process your claim. We know how important it is for you to start the recovery process, and we'll be there to help.
How can I monitor the status of my claim?
Feel free to contact your Farmers claims representative when you need a status update, and let that person know how often, or at which points in the process, you'd like to be updated. We'll be in touch at other times, too – whenever there's something we need to discuss.
How should I choose a contractor? Will Farmers recommend one?
We suggest that you seek out contractors who have a proven track record in your area. To help ensure that you choose a reliable contractor:
- Talk with friends, neighbors and relatives who have hired contractors.
- Get references from any contractor you interview, and check them.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau for information about the contractors you're considering.
- Don't sign a contract until you've reviewed it carefully and have agreed to payment terms.
- Verify that the contractor has an active license in your state. In many cases, you'll be able to check right on your state's website.
- What if my contractor's estimate is higher than Farmers'?
- Deliver a copy of your contractor's estimate to your Farmers claims representative, who will review it, and connect with your contractor to discuss any differences and make any appropriate adjustments. Our estimate will be based on typical labor and materials rates in your community.
What if I don't think Farmers' estimate is adequate?
Because estimating involves judgment, there can be differences of opinion about what work needs to be done and how much that work should cost. If you are concerned about the estimate we've provided, contact your Farmers claims representative to discuss the issue. We may be able to resolve any differences by phone; if not, we'll meet with you to review your concerns and determine how to proceed.
I have replacement cost coverage. Why did you show depreciation on the estimate?
If you purchased replacement cost coverage in your policy, we will cover the actual cost of repairing or replacing damaged, destroyed or stolen personal property with property of like kind and quality. We'll make an initial payment based on the current value of that property; once you have repaired or replaced the covered item, we'll pay an additional amount, up to the actual cost to repair or replace. Your Farmers agent or claims representative can give you specific information about your claim.
What if I identify additional damage after the Farmers CAT Corps leaves my community?
Just contact your Farmers claims representative or call Farmers Claim Services again, at 1-800-435-7764.
What if my contractor finds additional damage once repairs are underway?
Contact your Farmers claims representative and report the additional damage; we'll re-inspect and determine whether the damage is covered by your policy.
How will Farmers handle my personal property claim?
If you purchased personal property coverage in your policy and your loss involves personal property, we'll need a detailed list and description of all damaged, lost or stolen personal property. Your claims representative will help you catalog all items, and will then evaluate that information to determine what is covered and to establish its value.
When do I pay my deductible? To whom do I pay it?
Your deductible will be subtracted from the amount of your loss before we deliver your settlement payment. You will likely pay the amount of your deductible directly to your contractor once repairs are completed.
When should I receive my settlement check from Farmers?
If we can, we will complete the estimate during our first meeting with you, and process a check at that time. If additional inspection, investigation and evaluation are needed, we will prepare an estimate; and deliver that estimate and settlement check to you. We pledge to move as quickly as possible to deliver your settlement check, so you can start putting your property back where it belongs.
Why is my settlement check made payable to both me and my mortgage company? How do I get it endorsed so I can cash it to pay for repairs?
When you have a mortgage on your home, settlement checks typically are made payable to both you and your mortgagee, as required by the mortgagee. You'll need to contact your mortgage company to find out how to obtain their endorsement on the check.
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How do I notify Farmers New World Life Insurance Company (FNWL) of a claim?
Please use the following e-mail link to notify us of a claim involving a life insurance policy: email@example.com. You may also call the FNWL Claims Department at 1-800-435-7764 to report a claim or to speak to a life claims representative.
Please have the following information available, or include as much of the following information in your e-mail as possible:
- Insured's Full Name
- Insured's Date of Birth
- Insured's Social Security Number
- State of Residence
- Policy number(s)
- Type of claim (death, disability, accelerated benefit, etc.)
- Your name
- If the claimant is someone other than you, please include the name of the claimant and your relationship to the claimant
- Daytime and evening phone numbers
- Additional information/Comments
*This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not a contract or a policy of any kind. All coverages are subject to the terms, conditions, special limits, and exclusions of your policy and all applicable endorsements. Please contact your assigned claims representative for further information regarding your claim.
What is personal injury protection?
Personal injury protection – or PIP – usually covers an insured person, covered family members and other covered individuals for reasonable and necessary expenses for bodily injury caused by a covered accident. It covers such expenses as medical and hospital care, income continuation, child care, loss of services, and funerals. It's not offered in every state, so ask your Farmers® claims representative if PIP coverage is included in your policy.
How does medical payments coverage work?
If you've purchased medical coverage in your auto policy, it typically provides payment for reasonable and necessary medical treatment for you, covered family members, and passengers who are injured in an accident in your insured vehicle. It may cover expenses for ambulance service, emergency room or hospital care, physicians, X-rays and other diagnostic services, surgery and funerals. Your Farmers claims representative can explain this coverage in more detail.
How does bodily injury coverage work?
This coverage protects you up to your policy limits from liability claims that may arise when you're involved in an auto accident, in which another person is injured. Your Farmers claims representative can explain this coverage in more detail.