Farmers Insurance FAQ’s
How to Deal with Farmers Insurance for your Fire Damage Claim
Current News from Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance’s web site, in light of Northern California wildfires, notes that catastrophe claims representatives have been dispatched, on site, to the affected areas in Northern California in order to help customers impacted by wildfires.
Customers can file a claim in person, and receive local assistance, at these locations:
- Napa Valley College Gym, 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa CA 94558
- Elks Lodge, 1200 Hastings Road, Ukiah CA 95482
- The Home Depot, 4825 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park CA 94928
Customers can also file a claim by contacting their agent, visiting the web site, using the mobile app, or calling the 24-hour claims center at 800-435-7764, or for Spanish assistance, 877-732-5266.
More about Catastrophic Claims from Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance indicates that, for the most part, the claims process is essentially the same during a catastrophe as during a smaller event causing property damage The biggest exception is that they will respond with urgency because the entire community has been affected. The Farmers Catastrophe Corps – or the CAT Crop, takes over. On-site service (at the locations listed above) might include anything from in-person claims investigations and estimates, rapid handling of claims, and an initial payment for emergency expenses, to news updates, meals, access to internet and phone, help with housing and more.
First Things First – What Farmers Insurance Recommends Immediately After a Catastrophe
- Make sure your family is safe; get medical care if necessary: click here to view our list of shelters ready to assist those in need.
- Call Claim Services at 800-435-7764 or visit one of the Farmers CAT Corps mobile centers (see above for list of locations)
- Seal up broken windows, if necessary or possible
- Put tarps over cracks or openings in walls or your roof, and do whatever else you can to prevent additional damage, Keep receipts for materials, as these expenses may be part of the claim, depending on the type of policy you have
- If possible, begin to organize an inventory, going room-by-room, of damaged property and lost property. Include manufacturer, model number, purchase price and date, if possible.
Next Steps, According to Farmers Insurance, of the Claim-Filing Process
Call 800-435-7764, or visit the CAT Corps mobile personnel in your area. Let them know you need to file a claim and arrange an initial appointment.
Though of course you are eager to begin putting your home and your life back together, it is best to wait until after Farmers had done its initial on-site inspection, to do anything more than the prevention of further damage (covering broken windows, covering gaps in the roof or walls). This makes it easier to get you everything to which you are entitled, because Farmers will have had the chance to identify all damages that might be covered by your policy.
The length of time it takes to process a claim depends, of course, on the size and reach of the catastrophe and the number of Farmers customers affected. Farmers does promise to bring as many representatives to the on-site locations as possible, so that it can investigate, estimate and process all claims as quickly as possible.
To monitor your claim status, you can contact your Farmers representative. Farmers will also be in touch periodically if there is an issue to discuss or a question to ask of you.
Locating and Researching Contractors
Farmers Insurance does not provide or recommend a contractor. It suggests that you look for a contractor with a good record in your area. Click here to read our tips on how to hire a contractor.
Common Additional Questions and Concerns After a Customer Receives the Estimate
- I don’t think this estimate is adequate: Estimation involves judgment; therefore Farmers may have different opinions on the required work and the cost of that work. Please call your Farmers representative if you have concerns about the estimate; he or she may be able to resolve an differences by phone, or a representative will meet with you to discuss, and determine how to move forward.
- I have “replacement cost” coverage yet depreciation is shown on the estimate anyway: Farmers makes an initial payment based on current value; once you have repaired or replaced the item in question, Farmers adds the difference. Your Farmers agent or claims representative can go through specific detils about this.
- I have identified additional damage, after I have met with the Farmers CAT Corp: Contact your Farmers claims representative or call 800-435-7764, to discuss.
- The contractor identified additional damage once he or she began repairs: Contact the Farmers claims representative to report the additional damage; Farmers may re-inspect and make a determination as to whether or not the damage is indeed covered by your Farmers policy.
- How does Farmers Insurance handle the personal property aspect of the claim? To process your personal property claim, if you have that coverage, Farmers will need a detailed list of all damaged property, complete with descriptions. Your Farmers representative will help catalog all of these items, and will help evaluate it to determine what is covered, and what the value of each item is.
- I have a deductible — to whom to I pay it, and when? Your deductible is subtracted from the amount of the total loss on the estimate, before Farmers makes the settlement payment. Once the repairs are completed, you may pay the amount of the deductible directly to your contractor.
- How long will it take to receive Farmers’ settlement check? Farmers may be able to complete the estimate during its initial meeting with you, and Farmers may be able to process a check for you at that same time. If this is not possible, if Farmers needs to perform additional inspection, investigation or evaluation, Farmers pledges to get you the estimate and settlement check as quickly as possible.
- Why is the check made out to my mortgage company as well as to me? The mortgage companies require this on properties they mortgage; contact the mortgage company to learn how to get their endorsement.
How Does Farmers Define Fire Damage Coverage?
Farmers Insurance offers Homeowners Insurance Coverage for damage to a home and separate structures such as a garage. Fire and smoke damage are two of the damages covered; others include water or steam, lightning, wind or hail, explosion, riot, falling objects, aircraft, vehicles, vandalism, theft, weight of ice, snow or sleet, artificially-generated electrical current, and frozen plumbing, heating, air conditioning, fire protection systems or appliances.
About Farmers Insurance
Founded by John C. Tyler (whose father was a farmer-turned insurance salesman) and Thomas E. Leavey (raised on a dairy farm in California) in 1928 in downtown Los Angeles, Farmers Insurance’s original goal was to insure the vehicles of rural farmers. Farmers’ philosophy is that they are dedicated to restoring the lives of customers to order, should unfortunate events happen. Farmers Insurance Exchange – the largest of the three insurers comprising Farmers Insurance, is on 2017’s Fortune 500 list.
Preparing your Home an Yard to Survive a Wildfire: Tips from Farmers Insurance for the Future
1) Try to create a zone around your house to slow the wildfire, and possibly direct it around (not toward) your home.
Think of your yard as a potential source of fuel for the fire, and a fire needs fuel to burn. Fuel around a house might include landscaping, wood piles, decks and more.
- Plant native vegetation
- Give trees space, at least ten feet from each other
- Get rid of dying or dead trees and shrubs
- Prune trees and shrubs often. Make sure branches are at least six feet from the ground, and make sure shrubs under trees are no taller than 18 inches.
- If you have a lawn, mow it often, and dispose of cuttings and debris right away
- If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is well-maintained
- Clear debris often from the roof, eaves and gutters
- Remove branches that extend over the roof or near a chimney
- Remove pine needles from the ground
- Store flammable liquids securely, in approved metal cans
- Store firewood away from the home
- Put storage tanks at least 50 feet away from the home, and clear areas at least ten feet around them
- Keep wooden fencing separate from your home, not connected directly to it
2) Attempt to build or retrofit using non-flammable materials.
- Use non-combustible roofing material, and box-in eaves, soffits, fascias and subfloors with treated wood or other fire resistant materials
- Use ¼” non-combustible screening on vent and eave openings
- Use spark arresters in the chimney
- Enclose deck undersides with fire-resistant materials.
- Avoid vinyl siding, which can melt, in favor of stucco, stone or brick — or at least cover vinyl with stucco, brick or stone
- Choose double paned or tempered glass for windows
- Ensure your street address is visible from the street
3) Have a plan
Know your community’s plans for disaster preparedness, and, using it, develop a plan for your own family. Note escape routes from your home and also from your neighborhood. Agree on an emergency meeting place (and a second and third choice, if the disaster prevents you from going to place #1) if the family becomes separated in the disaster.
Build a kit including first aid supplies and basic tools, flashlight, work gloves, fresh batteries for all tools that use a battery, and a portable NOAA weather radio. Add clothing, blankets, baby supplies if you have a baby, prescription medications and extra eyeglasses if anyone in the family needs them, spare keys for cars and the house, credit cards, cash and important documents including insurance policies.