Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Please use my name only as "Tony" I fear retribution from State Farm.

ROB'S NOTE: How strange is it that Tony would have to fear retribution from "a good neighbor"? Amazing. But read on:

I really need your help. Recently my daughter was in an accident with one of State Farm's insured. Their insured was not driving the vehicle, someone else was, and they backed into my daughter in a parking lot. Police refused to respond because it was private property. Thus began the perfect storm.

By the time the dust settled State Farm claimed that their driver had produced a "witness" who said their insured was in fact the one driving and that my daughter had rear ended them and was at fault.

State Farm made the decision to deny the claim and never even spoke to my daughter until I had contacted them and yelled until they did. They would take the word of a witness that their driver produced after the fact but would not even speak to the two witnesses who were in the car with my daughter when the accident occurred. And to this minute they refuse to even consider allowing me to file an appeal or do anything to assist. What really stinks is I have had my home owners policy with State Farm for 19 years, and a good chunk of that time had two homes with them. The damage to my daughter's car is slight and it would have been much cheaper for them to pay my claim then to lose me as a client, but oh well.

Here is my real question. Who is the advocate for people in my situation? All State Farm has to do is say no and no one will help. This is an outrage and very unfair. State Farm has dared me, literally, to take them to court. I know that if on some technicality I lost I would be liable for their legal fees as well as my own. I am sure they bank on that. I have contacted my state insurance commissioner's office and they have had the case for nearly two months and I can't even get a call back. I am afraid being too aggressive with them will cause me to lose the one last hope that I have.

Do you have any advice? This could be your wife or your daughter that this happens to. Doesn't State Farm feel any responsibility to try and find out what really happened or is it truly just about money? They won't consider obvious witnesses because this would force them into a position where they cannot just deny, deny, deny. I guess this is just a small taste of what those poor people in Katrina felt like when State Farm was sticking it to them.

ROB RESPONDS: Tony, all you can do is go public and NOT be intimidated. I'm no expert, but I agree with you that intimidation is what they rely on. Persistence can wear you down, but it can ALSO wear THEM down. I'd keep sending the letters and if necessary, consider small claims court. In California, the limit is/was $7500 -- and they never LOWER the limit. Have you tried that? Small claims judges also tend to bend over backwards to help out the well-documented, polite little guy.