Farmers Insurance Group Summary
Farmers Insurance Group is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and employs over 20,000 people across the United States. Their insurance policies are sold throughout the nation, and are done so primarily through the use of third-party agents. That means the actual insurance agents selling policies are not employed directly by Farmers Insurance, but instead are independent contractors licensed to sell their products. Historically, anyone looking for insurance through Farmers would be required to work through a licensed agent In order to get a quote, however, they have recently added a feature on their website that allows prospective clients the opportunity to get an automated quote prior to talking with an agent.
Farmers Insurance is a division of Zurich Financial Services, and operates in the United States as their primary provider for auto insurance, home insurance and life insurance. While Farmers is the biggest brand state-side, there are also a few subsidiaries that are owned and operated by the company. Those include Foremost, Bristol West, 21st Century, Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, and Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC. Bristol West, 21st Century and Foremost primarily sell property and casualty insurance products, while Farmers New World and Farmers Financial Solutions act as the company’s life insurance and financial service arms.
Farmers auto insurance policies come with standard coverage types, including liability, comprehensive, collision, medical payments, uninsured / underinsured, and personal injury protection. (States have different requirements for what coverage types are mandatory, so be sure and check your specific regulations before purchasing a policy.) Farmers also offers their own unique add-ons that customers can attach to their policies. These are typically used as marketing tools to differentiate themselves from their competitors, so if they sound too good to be true, make sure and read the fine print.
- Accident Forgiveness – Drivers with good records can qualify (and pay extra) for accident forgiveness, which “forgives” one accident over a three year period. Essentially it will ignore any premium increase that would happen because of an accident. The details about this program are sketchy at best, so anyone considering adding it to their policy needs to read the fine print. It also may not be available in all states, so be sure and check with a licensed agent if interested in this program.
- New Car Pledge – New cars can decrease in value significantly in the first few years after purchase, and this optional feature claims to provide “non-depreciated” value in the event of a total loss. That means someone with this add-on to their policy would receive the entire purchase value of the car if it was totaled in an accident instead of the depreciated value at the time of the loss. It also claims that any minor repairs to a new car (two years or less) will only be done with original manufacturer parts. As with the Accident Forgiveness option listed above, anyone interested in this feature should pay close attention to the fine print of the policy.
Farmers home insurance policies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and offer protection for a number of different home types and perils. They include homeowners insurance, condo, mobile or manufactured homes, specialty homes, earthquake protection, and flood insurance. These are each separate policy types that can sometimes be purchased alongside each other. For example, a homeowners insurance policy is often combined with a separate earthquake policy to provide additional protection for the home. It should also be noted that these policies often carry different terms. As an example, an earthquake policy purchased in California will have different coverage amounts, deductibles and procedures for claims compared to the homeowners insurance policy because it is actually administered by the state, but sold through Farmers. It is important for homeowners to understand these differences so they can have a clear picture of what is covered in their home.
As part of a homeowners insurance policy, Farmers offers protection for the actual property itself, personal property located in or outside the home, and liability protection. You can also add additional coverage for expensive items not covered by the standard policy. This can include art, jewelry, and anything else of significant value.
Through the Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, Farmers offers a few different life insurance policies for consumers. They include term life, whole life and universal life. Consumers interested in purchasing life insurance need to understand that there are major differences between each type, and the costs can vary dramatically. Many financial counselors recommend term life insurance, and so do we in most cases. Be very cautious if a life insurance agent is pushing whole life or universal life and only purchase a policy if you fully understand what you are buying. The commission agents earn for whole life and universal life can often reach 10x that of a term life insurance policy, and unfortunately many agents push them because of it. We cannot comment on Farmers practices as a whole, since each agent is acts as their own independent business. Just be aware.
Farmers Insurance Price (Rates)
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According to our rate test for an auto quote, Farmers Insurance is slightly more expensive than the average. (5.74% higher, to be exact.) This pricing is fairly consistent with big-name companies that primarily use agents to sell their products. Their primary competitors, Allstate and State Farm, use a similar business model that is driven by these agents. Their pricing is often comparable during our tests. It is important to note, however, that each firm uses their own underwriting guidelines so if you are seriously considering an insurance company, be sure and get a customized quote for your situation. They can vary dramatically from our tests.
Farmers claim process is handled through their HelpPoint service, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event of an accident or loss, the first step is to contact Farmers. This can be done in one of three ways:
- Contact HelpPoint directly at 800-435-7764
- File a claim on the Farmers website
- Contact your agent directly and they can get the claim started
Once the claim has been started, you will be assigned a claim number and a claims representative. This will be the main point of contact through the claims process. They also work with the other people involved in the accident, if there were any.
A quick search of “Farmers claim process reviews” will turn up a lot of dissatisfied customers. It is important for anyone involved in an accident or loss to write down and document as much as possible, as well as take pictures when necessary. This will not only provide the insurance company with as much information as possible, but can also protect you against the insurance company itself in the event they start to give you the run around.
Consumer Research and Complaints
The consumer research and complaint reports we reviewed showed Farmers with below-average to average customer satisfaction ratings. Two separate studies done in 2012 by JD Power and Associates rated Farmers 3 out of 5 for both Auto Insurance Purchase Experience and US Auto Claims. A 2010 report by Consumer Reports rating the overall satisfaction level of insurance companies by its readers gave Farmers an 85 out of 100, which ranked it 17 out of the 22 organizations rated. The Better Business Bureau was going through an update at the time of this review, so we were unable to provide any up-to-date statistics from them.
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Farmers Insurance Group is a large national brand that can provide insurance for just about every type of need a person could have. Their product offerings are numerous, and they are located all over the country. They are not going to be the lowest price in most cases, and nearly all servicing of your account will need to go through an agent. Individuals that have complicated insurance portfolios who need the guidance of an insurance professional may find using an agent helpful. Cost-conscience consumers or those that are very knowledgeable about their insurance needs will probably be able to find a better price somewhere else. Overall, they are not bad, but they are not a standout organization either.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.
Best Insurance Quote Providers:Auto Insurance - Liberty Mutual
Home Insurance - Liberty Mutual
Life Insurance - QuinStreet Life
Health Insurance - eHealthInsurance
Business Insurance - Hiscox Insurance
About the Author
I am a former insurance agent turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.