Like a Good Neighbor?

…Would State Farm be there?

When I am poorly treated by a corporation, I make my complaints known, loudly–a trait I inherited from my father (for example: UPS, United Airlines, Exxon, PS: I’m still mad at all of them.) I’ve been hoping that this would not be the case with my homeowner’s insurance policy, which I have dutifully paid for 31 years and never used.  So, after my Christmas disaster, I called and left a message for State Farm Insurance.  Very quickly I received a call back from—I swear I am not making this up—“Jake, from State Farm.”  He says that some people hang up on him because they think it is a prank call.  Jake was very friendly, sympathetic, and helpful and said that I would shortly be hearing from Stacy, the claims adjuster assigned to my case.

Flashback to 40 years ago, when I finished grad school and took my little 1973 VW Beetle and moved to Texas, I was no longer eligible to be on my parents insurance.  (Whoever their insurance company was had been decidedly UNHELPFUL after Mom’s catastrophic 1982 car accident, so I knew I wanted a different company.) I looked up insurance in the Longview phonebook yellow pages and I remember that I liked the State Farm logo because it reminded me of road signs I’d seen while growing up in Indiana.  Not having anything better to go on, I called them and took out a very cheap policy for my very cheap car.

When I moved back to Western NY seven years later, I found a State Farm agency in Olean and transferred my policy there.  In 1992 I expanded that coverage to include homeowner’s insurance on the Fillmore house.  Around that same time, I had my first reason to use my automobile insurance.  I was attending my doctoral program at UB and one December afternoon, an undergraduate student–having just failed a final exam–came barreling through a UB parking lot like a bat out of hell and slammed into the passenger door of my little Honda.  Neither of us were hurt, but both cars sustained damage.  She hung around only long enough to trade names and insurance companies. It seemed entirely obvious to me that it was her fault, but a couple of days later I got a threatening phone call from her father, a Long Island lawyer, trying to pin the crash on me!  Shaken, I called Marcella Smith, my agent in Olean, and told her my tale of woe.

Marcella, God bless her, was indignant and exclaimed, “Well, you tell Mr. Hotshot Long Island Attorney that you have ALL OF STATE FARM STANDING BEHIND YOU and that if he has anything else he wants to say he’s to SAY IT TO ME AND NOT TO YOU!” I knew in that moment that I would never change my insurance company and I never have.

Still I felt vaguely nervous about the frozen pipes and my coverage in the face of some staggering repair costs.  So, all of that build up to say, State Farm has proven to be true to their motto.  Stacy called me today to say that they have approved all of my repair costs and that I won’t have to pay anything after my deductible.  Further, that they will cover to have the house professionally cleaned afterwards and that if I need to stay in a hotel they will cover that and she included extra money to more than cover all of the groceries that were ruined in the pantry.  She went on to say that if I incur additional expenses related to the mishap anytime in the next two years I can also send her receipts from those as well.  (And then within an hour, all of the money for the repairs was deposited in my checking account!)

So, since I squawck when things don’t got well: I want to give credit where credit is due:  State Farm IS there like a good neighbor. Thank you Marcella, and Jake, and Stacy, and all of you reading this, for being so wonderfully concerned and supportive of me and my dear old house!


Published by timnichols

First and foremost, I’m a dad. After that, by day I am a professor of Education at Alfred University, by night I'm a dog lover, a cancer survivor, and a daydreamer. Here are some thoughts and lessons learned from my journey…

4 thoughts on “Like a Good Neighbor?

  1. I loved hearing this and am so glad your Christmas House is loved by you and State Farm. They should put you on an advertisement for State Farm.
    I too subscribe to the theory:
    When treated well tell everyone!!


  2. That is so wonderful. I somehow missed the story where something obviously went awry, but it’s good to see you had people helping. And your house is gorgeous!


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