Understanding the Farmers Insurance Claims Process
So you’ve been in an accident. Don’t panic. Reporting a claim with Farmers Insurance is easy, and dedicated staff will assist you the whole way. Determining insurance claims can be complex and what you’re expected to provide during the process can vary. However, all claims follow the same basic, five-step process.
Step One: Assignment
After making sure you and others at the scene of the accident are safe (and calling emergency services if necessary), your first step is to report your claim to get the car accident settlement process started. The Farmers Mobile App is typically the easiest method, but you can also call 1-800-435-7764 or visit Farmers.com.
Before or immediately after reporting your claim, gather your thoughts and collect information about what happened. Take pictures and video if you can and form a consistent and clear story. Have this story ready to explain over the phone or to type up for digital submission. Don’t worry if some of the details are hazy; your claim representative knows what questions to ask you.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, do not admit fault. Conversely, if you are obviously not at fault, you should still file a claim; obtaining compensation directly from the at-fault party can be time-consuming and difficult. Farmers acts as a middleman in this situation, taking the burden off your shoulders.
You should also be unafraid of premium increases when filing a claim. Your rates will not always increase, and the decision to do so relies on your history, fault, and local laws. Either way, the damage covered by your insurance will usually offset any increases to premiums. Policies are very rarely cancelled for filing claims, and only for extraordinary or reckless circumstances.
Step Two: Initial Contact
Shortly after reporting your claim, you will be contacted by a claim representative. This trained professional serves as a go-between with others involved: a damage assessor, mechanic, car rental agency, and the other party’s insurance company.
In your initial call, the representative will listen to your story and provide some initial recommendations. This may include tips for mitigating further damage (such as covering a broken window) and an explanation of your insurance policy and what they expect to be covered. They can also provide preliminary predictions of who will be determined at-fault and how much you can expect to pay, if anything. It is important to note that such conversations are preliminary, and the outcome can change after damage assessment and reviewing details of the claim.
The claim representative will also advise you on next steps: where to have your car towed, who will inspect it, getting you a rental car (if you purchased rental coverage), a projected timeline, and more.
Step Three: Evaluation
Evaluation is the stage where after speaking to you, your claims representative may reach out to police, witnesses, and other involved parties. They will also likely inspect the damage and provide a repair estimate, comparing it against your coverage. Farmers strives to provide an estimate on their first viewing of the damage, but this can be difficult for certain accidents.
Damage is evaluated based on the value of the vehicle versus repair cost. In most cases, a vehicle is considered a “total loss” if the repair cost is between 70 and 80% of the car’s value.
To ensure accurate resolution of your claim, evaluation can take anywhere from several days up to several weeks. It’s important for you and Farmers that the right call is made.
Step Four: Resolution
After all evidence is gathered and your vehicle is inspected, your claims representative will reach out to you with the outcome of your claim. Before anything happens, you may be asked to pay your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you are responsible for before Farmers pays for damages; for instance, if your bill is $3,500 and your deductible is $500, you would only be responsible for paying $500 of the total cost. You may have to pay a deductible even in a no-fault scenario, but Farmers will usually recover that deductible from the other party and repay it to you. Be warned that the recovery time for deductibles can vary significantly.
If your vehicle is repairable, Farmers pays the repair shop after receiving your vehicle, and work begins. From here on, the timeline is up to the mechanic: they may have to special order parts and prepare complex body repair work. Replacement parts are warrantied according to federal laws.
If your vehicle is considered a total loss, Farmers will cut you a check for its total value before the accident occurred. Note that if you lack gap insurance, you may be responsible for paying off the remainder of your vehicle loan if it exceeds its total value. For instance, if you owe $10,000 but your car has depreciated to a $9,000 value, you will still owe your lender $1,000.
If for any reason damages are not covered by your policy, Farmers will explain why.
Step Five: Closure
Your claim is closed after all conditions are satisfied and payouts are made. Should you have further questions or need to revisit the claim for any reason, you can contact your claim representative or visit the claims portal online or in the Farmers Mobile App.
If your premiums increase, you will typically be notified on your next renewal cycle. The amount your premiums increase, if at all, is determined by factors including (but not limited to) the nature of the claim, frequency of claims filed, and who was at fault. If the other party sues you after the claim has closed, contact Farmers immediately with a copy of the court summons, or try an alternative method such as going through the Farmers insurance arbitration process.