Wednesday, August 08, 2012

I have had State Farm Insurance for my home, auto, boat, renter, and life insurance for over thirty years. I have been fortunate enough to be able to live in the state of Alabama for most of those years and other than an occasional checkup left it up to my agents to take care of my insurance and advise me of any concerns they may have had regarding my coverage.

I have two sons age 20 and 18. They both started driving when they reached 16 years old and my wife and I have been fortunate enough with employment that allowed us to be able to afford to buy them both good used cars and maintain insurance on those vehicles as well as our own vehicles.

In 2010 I was laid off from my job at the Boeing Company in Alabama and was forced out into the job market. I was unemployed for several months but eventually was able to find work but the pay was less than what I was receiving at Boeing. To make a long story short, I changed employers three times trying to get back to the same level of pay that I had. My last change required me to relocate to South Carolina and we made the move in January this year. We are pretty much settled into our new lives here and things are going well.

We received a letter from State Farm a few weeks ago and they said that we would have to transfer our insurance to an agent in SC by September 8 or we would be dropped. I started looking on the web for a new local agent. The first agent I contacted took down my information over the phone and said that he would get it all worked out for us and may contact me for any additional information he needed to complete the transfer.

After a week or so, we received another letter from State Farm threatening to drop our insurance. At that time my wife and I decided that she would stop in the agents office and check on the status of the transfer. She later told me that the person she spoke to in the agents office did not have a clue as to what she was asking about and she became frustrated from trying to get information about our insurance. She left the office and called me and told me about her experience. I then decided that we would try another agent in the area.

So I made a call to another agent and explained our situation to her. She initially had the same personable attitude and came across as you would expect from someone you wanted to take your business to. After initiating the transfer she called me the day after and said that she had some documents to sign and she would fax those to me. She then stated that I should just sign them and fax them back. I agreed and asked her a few questions about my four auto policies and if there would be any change in the cost. I figured there may be differences changing to another state. She then replied that my insurance cost would increase over $150/month. I asked  why there was such a price difference and she stated that youthful drivers was costlier in SC. After hearing that I spoke to my wife and explained to her that our insurance would be costing us quite a bit more for the boys to drive and discussed ways that we could adjust our budget to cover the additional expense. The agent also required $450 dollars to initiate the transfer so I gave her my debit card over the phone.

A while later I received the emails with the documentation she had sent and started looking it over before signing it. Within that documentation she had added a coverage for each policy for underinsured motorist. Each policy had an increase of $40 dollars for this coverage. She had already answered yes to the question asking if I wanted to accept or reject this coverage. I then started researching this coverage and discovered that it was not required in the state and I had never had the coverage in Alabama. I then called the agent and asked about the coverage at which time she stated that she assumed that I wanted it due to the fact that many of her existing customers carried it. I then told her that she should have asked me if I wanted any additional coverage especially when I had asked about the significant cost increase.

She then became very offensive. She also stated that there was nothing she could do now that she had submitted my documents into the system and we would have to wait until the new policies went into effect, about a week, before we could make any changes. I had not even signed the document stating that I wanted the extra coverage.

Needless to say, I am very upset that this happened. Later that afternoon I called the original agent we had contacted and explained to him what I had experienced and he told me that he had all of our documentation worked out and our monthly payment would be approximately $300, which is what I was paying back in Alabama. I then mentioned then mentioned the underinsured coverage that the other agent had added to our policies and that had contributed to some of the cost. He then stated that he had also included that same coverage in the quote he had given me and he would have to remove it and update the quote to reflect the difference in cost.

Well, I am finding it hard to believe that both of these agents use the same tactic to add unnecessary coverage to a customer policy before discussing it with them. Very deceitful in my book. That is no different to me than shoplifting. It’s not a crime unless you get caught. Now I am upset with sort of behavior and just want to know how many have they done this to and got away with it…..

Thanks for listening,