Battling State Farm

I was traveling home on the I-96 interstate. Just past Grand Rapids, at around 71 mph, the front driver's side tire blew, and shredded, dropping the front of my car to the pavement as I immediately began braking, and pulling off the road. I was next to where an entrance was merging onto the highway, so l was in the left lane, and pulled off on the median side of the road. After taking a breath, my first call was to State Farm Insurance. Prior to my 29 years as a domestic missionary, I had been a State Farm agent for twenty years, and had now been a policyholder for nearly half a century. So, it seemed the logical place to start, and knowing what coverage I had, and the procedures, I expecting things to go relatively smoothly. It did not quite work out that way. After the experience with Comcast (Battling Comcast) over a year ago, I decided to go right from the start with a webpage, saving me the expense of printing multiple documents for communications. I am beginning the chronology with a June 9, 2023 letter I am composing for the State Farm corporate offices, since I am getting nowhere with the claims representatives.       

June 9, 2023

Office of the President
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710

Dear State Farm,

On the evening of May 30, 2023, I called State Farm to report a comprehensive claim. It was the very first call I made after my driver side front tire blew, and shredded, while I was coming home on I-96. I was just beyond the Grand Rapids, Michigan exits, and could see the sign for exit 46 ahead of me from where I sat at the side of the road. I called my agent's office (517 627-8600), expecting that consider the time of day I would be redirected to an after hours number. I was. I followed all the automated prompts until the nice sounding female voice told me she was sending a text to my cell phone, and I needed to tap it. I have a flip phone. It is impossible for me to tap a text. I thought if I just waited on the line I would surely be redirected to a real person. Not so, as your automated system just kept telling me I did not tap the text, so she was resending it. After her fourth text, I discerned I was never going to get past this dead end. Praise God, I had an actual State Farms Claims (855 341-8184) number in my phone, and using that number I was able to eventually reach a real person. She took my claim, gave me a list of body shops, from which I selected Gerber in Grand Ledge, and called a wrecker service on my behalf. She provide me "good neighbor" service. The tow company called me shortly after we hung up, and let me know they were 55 minutes away. I share this part of the story only because your CCC MVR shows the "Claim Reported" date as 06/07/2023 which is clearly false. You might wish to make sure all of your other records show the claim was reported promptly as Consumer Cellular records will bear out. 

While I was waiting for the tow truck, I took some pictures, then I called a personal friend, whom I had spoken with earlier in the day, to tell him how things had taken an unexpected turn. After hearing about the damage, he cautioned me about State Farm, saying you would low-ball the value of the vehicle to deem it a total loss, as you had done to him recently. I assured him that with my having been a State Farm agent for twenty years, I understood the process, and expected a true evaluation of the value of my car. Twenty-nine years ago, he was a policyholder of mine in the days I would explain to a customer that the market value of a vehicle was what you could realistically have sold it for one second before the claim occurred. However, as it turned out, he was quite prophetic, and that is what this letter is about. 

I do not have Internet at home. After 30 years with Comcast, I got fed up with their games and bullying of customers who pointed out errors (info at titled Battling Comcast), refusing to just accept their perspective as gospel, and I terminated all my connections with them. I go to a local church to use their Wi-Fi to upload my picture of the week onto my website. That is also when I check emails (every Thursday). When I checked my emails on June 1, 2023 I had four emails from State Farm. The first two from 5/30/23 basically acknowledge my claim, the one from 5/31/23 says the estimate was done, but it was the email dated 6/1/23 that is most pertinent to this letter. All of the original emails are saved as PDF files. In order to keep the file size reasonable for display on my website, I cropped that PDF message, and saved it as a jpg file. I wanted you to see exactly how it showed, bold print and all. On the original, it is clearer that the word repair in the list is also in bold print.    

I thought that message was pretty straight forward. At home, I printed a copy of it, and took it to the body shop on Friday for their files to show you had authorized them to begin repairs. I even saw my friend on Sunday, and told him his concerns had been appreciated, but unfounded, since State Farm had already approved repairs. Paul Harvey, a radio broadcaster, used to say, "and now you get the rest of the story." There is indeed more. 

On Wednesday, June 7, 2023 my wife phoned me from up north to say Miles from State Farm claims was trying to reach me. I needed to call him back at 855 231-1590 ext 711. The automated phone system did not seem to offer me a prompt for an extension, so I simply put in 711 after it answered. A young woman answered. When I told her I was trying to reach Miles at extension 711, she said it was what I had reached, and she could help me. I called where a pencil and paper were not handy, so I do not know her name. As she explained that the car was being declared a total, I said I had an email that had already authorized repairs. I talked about the unusual value of the car. But, because I had mentioned it had been my dad's, she started most of her rhetoric with "I understand the car has sentimental value to you." I kept interrupting her, because apparently she thought I was stupid, even after I told her I had been a State Farm agent for twenty years, and already understood the process they used to determine their position. I did not say it, but I had to explain years ago to my policyholders, that market value was not impacted by any sentimental attachment to their vehicle. She did not like my interruptions, and I did not like her wasting my time telling me things I already knew, so I asked to be transferred to a supervisor. She said one would call me back. 

Around noon, Monique (claims supervisor) called me. Her dog was barking in the background, so it was clear that she was working from home, wherever home might be. I knew I had already talked with Texas, and Colorado, because I simply asked. She was not as condescending as her underling, but it was easy to realize from the start she was going to be protective of the person under her, and I would be wasting my time with her, as well. After she started to tell me what I already knew, and I interrupted her to say just that, I finally said I would be challenging your determination, and to start whatever process was necessary. She said she would send me the market value report (CCC MVR mentioned earlier) by email, and did give me one piece of information I was not familiar with. She said that, in Michigan, a car could be declared a total loss if the cost to repair it was 75%, or higher, of the stated market value. She also told me that the email I received the previous week authorizing repairs was irrelevant because it was generated by your computers. Nobody I have showed the email to since our conversation has thought that hers was a legitimate excuse. Most remarked, then they should not be letting their computer send out such an email in the first place. 

I tried to call the body shop to alert them State Farm was changing their tune. No one answered, and I declined to stay on the line for redirection to a national call center. My wife had already informed them that I would be fixing the car regardless, when she picked up a copy of the estimate the previous week. They told her then if State Farm declared it a total they would not do the work. I completely understand why, and that was not a problem at the time. 

On Thursday afternoon (6/8/23), I uploaded my picture of the week, and checked emails. Two had arrived from State Farm. They were both sent 6/7/23. Each had an attachment. One was the vehicle evaluation, and another State Farm claims telephone number. The other said "Please open the attachment(s) for more claim information or next steps." Beyond my basic responsibilities, I am the primary volunteer for two struggling small non-profits that grew out of my mission activities this past 29 years. My time is usually jammed with stuff waiting for my attention. So, I simply saved them all to my USB drive as PDF documents, to look at later. Plus, I do not have time to listen to people trying to justify something that is simply not true, so I knew I would not be calling anyone. 

That evening, at home, I opened the PDF files. The one that stating it had claims info said this:

So, on Friday (6/9/23) I took a copy of the email over to the body shop. They looked at one another, then said, we are not charging storage fees on your claim. I asked if they would be willing to put the spare tire on so I could drive it home, since I did not know how long this battle with State Farm was going to take. They did not have a tech person to do that until Monday, so I asked if they thought I could get it to my house with the remaining rubber on the wheel, considering their estimate indicated the wheel was already damaged. Aaron said we should go out in the yard, and take a look. Upon inspection, Aaron said he would not chance it if it were his car, and explained why. I suggested we should check to be sure there actually was a spare. Aaron helped me move stuff from the trunk to the back seat, and there is indeed one they can put on the car Monday. In the course of conversation, Aaron said he understood why I was insisting I would fix the car, because he could see it was in really good condition. I shared with him that the 20 year old driver of the tow truck, on the drive back to Grand Ledge, had told me that when he saw the great condition, and how clean the underside was, he put on a special bracket so his chains and hooks would not scrape up, or potentially damage the car in any way. Aaron indicated that was very thoughtful of the young man. Aaron also offered he could put in writing, and sign, a document stating I would not be charged any storage fees relating to this claim. (online see addendum) Your email, in all honesty, felt more like a tactic to rush a policyholder into accepting your determination. After discovering that the email was also a lie with regards to storage charges, it looked more like big corporation bullying. 

The market valuation report was fifteen pages long. No doubt, it was supposed to impress me with how thorough it was by its sheer length. It did not. Every one of the ten categories deemed my car to be "average private." I will include some pictures later that will refute that. But first let us look at the most basic aspect of the report. 


If you take $3,797 and multiply it by .75, the result is $2,847.75, a figure $38.66 above your body shop estimate of $2,809.09 which is only 74% (in fact slightly less than that) of your determined value of my car. No one ever told me you could randomly ignore the percentage, and decide a lower one is close enough if it suits your fancy. I am sending a copy of this to the Michigan Attorney General Consumer Complaints department, and the Michigan Department of Insurance, because if you can legally do this, it is simply wrong, and Michigan needs better laws to protect against such random abuse of its citizens. If an independent appraiser, which I know I may get at my own expense and time, were to find the value of my car was closer (which is quite likely) to the list price of $5000 on your "comparable vehicle number two," which had 20,000 more miles than my car has, what then? That would put my vehicle repairs at 56% of the market value. Do you get to declare 56% close enough to call it a total loss because you feel like it? 

This vehicle spent 21 years in Florida, with just one owner. I am 72 years old. Anyone with common sense knows that in Michigan, those two factors alone would increase the market price above any average car. But, just in case you still insist on ignoring the truth, here is a picture of the engine I took when my wife brought the car back to Michigan. I actually took fourteen pictures (see online addendum for additional photos) on May 21, 2021 because when the mechanic (now deceased) who took care of our cars happened to drop by our house, and I showed him the engine of our new car, he declared, oh my goodness, I have never seen an engine that clean, especially in a 21 year old vehicle. A year ago, even a dealer, who happened to be pumping gas at the same time I was, came over to my car and asked if I would be interested in selling it because he had never seen a 2000 Impala in such exceptional condition. He was not the first to ask, nor the last. 


Here is the last picture taken of the car. It was shot 5/30/23 two hours before the claim.

After my experience with Comcast, I am composing this letter as a webpage, and will be loading it along with other comments, and documentation, to my website on Thursday. I spent way too much money on printing and mailing costs doing battle with them. When I read the opening email to my wife, her comment was that she thinks it would be blatantly clear to a court of law. But, Scripture tells me to try to settle things without going to court, so I do not file lawsuits. I also do not have the time, nor care to spend the money, to prove your fancy market value report wrong. I will seek a simpler solution. 

We do have a problem here though, because apparently this is not the same State Farm of integrity that I became an agent for almost half a century ago. If it were, you would have stood behind your first email (above), and no other communication would have been necessary. Because of that sentimental value your claims person kept trying to focus on, I will be fixing my car, but not just because it belonged to my dad. I have first hand knowledge of how meticulous my dad was about taking care of his cars. Your modern fancy system filled with pages of digital documentation cannot begin to truly calculate an accurate value in such a circumstance. A local good neighbor agent (or adjuster) could have told you in a flash this was an unusual situation. Any of my real neighbors who have seen the car could tell you the car we brought up from Florida is in exceptional condition. You would be hard pressed to find any car this age in a Michigan dealers lot in as clean, and in good shape, as this one, even at their high prices. You are simply in the wrong. The bigger problem is I no longer trust you. I will not communicate with you by phone because it leaves me no written documentation. I will still communicate with you through my local agent Cheri Locker, since her office shows the desire, and understanding, of this plaque from my State Farm days, that I still keep hung on the walls of the Teaching & Sharing Center of Grand Ledge because of its universal message, and wisdom. 

Your claims person wanted to waste my time telling me about your buyback program. I am already familiar with it. You cannot sell back to me something I already own. Unless you are planning on stealing it by manipulating numbers, or ignoring guidelines as it suits your fancy, it is still mine, and I am not agreeing to anything which puts it into your hands, not even for a moment. I have been a policyholder for almost fifty years, and always carried no deductible comprehensive on my vehicles, even when they got older. I would have preferred to have paid all of those premiums and never had a claim using it. But, stuff happens. The only thing at this point which will prolong this battle, is if you continue to maintain your false claim that this qualifies as a total. That would preclude me from carrying comprehensive (and paying the premiums) on something I have deemed so important for so many years. By the time you get this letter, I will likely have my vehicle at my home. You will need to put something in actual writing, not another email you can claim was simply sent by your computer system, if you wish adjust your stand on my claim. Honestly, the only thing I see left to be determined is how much you believe you fairly owe toward the repair of a car under the terms of the policy for a claim submitted to you by a longtime loyal policyholder. Not a penny more. Not a dollar less. When you figure that out, you could simply send me a check. If I deem it to be reasonable, I will get my car repaired without any more involvement from State Farm.  If I should deem it to be unreasonable, I will still get my car repaired without any more involvement from State Farm. But, in that case, by this time next year, State Farm will not be receiving any premium dollars from me for anything. If you wish to communicate with me other than in writing, you may do so through Cheri Locker, my local good neighbor agent.

It is striking to me that most of the people whom I have encountered through this incident have treated me like a good neighbor, except for those who advertise the concept. 




(printed copy was signed by me)


William Gibbons Jr
(claim #22-50N1-78B)








Attorney General
Consumer Complaints
G. Mennen Williams Bldg
P O Box 30212
Lansing, MI 48909


Department of Insurance
530 West Allegan
Lansing, MI 48837


Cheri Locker State Farm Office
450 E Saginaw Hwy Suite 101
Grand Ledge, MI 48837


The State Farm total loss department called my phone on Monday, June 12, at 1:49 pm. I declined to answer it. So, a woman named Sue left a voicemail. Then someone, I presume it was Sue, called my wife. She answered, then kept asking me how to reply to what Sue was saying to her. It was clear that Sue was pressuring her by mentioning she had spoken with Kris (general manager) at Gerber Body Shop. Finally my wife got so frustrated with what Sue was saying, she put her phone on its speaker. I walked over to the phone, and told whoever it was [likely Sue], we were tired of the lies we were getting from the State Farm claims department. I had a written signed document from Gerber stating I would not be charged any storage fees. I had already written a letter to corporate, sent a copy of it to the Michigan Attorney General, and the Michigan Department of Insurance. Told her, I was not going to speak with claims anymore because of their lies, and that this conversation was ended. I was less than cordial. Which, as a domestic missionary, is a line I never like to cross. But, by that time they had pushed me enough, I could scarcely believe I was speaking with the same company I had been an agent for (1975-1994). 

Later that afternoon we went to the body shop to pick up my car. On the way, I went into Cheri Locker's office (my local State Farm agent), and dropped off a copy of the corporate letter. Aaron admitted he had forgotten, but found someone, and helped them put on my spare, and they zip tied up the lower front panel so it would not drag on the ground. When I brought up Sue's call, I was told it was State Farm who insisted all their claims would be charged no storage fees. Aaron had previously told me it was their policy to help however they could. I am not sure if he was speaking of the local body shop, or the Gerber corporation nationally, but here in Grand Ledge they have completely treated me with good neighbor service. I am very grateful to them for both their help, and their honesty. 


On Wednesday, June 14, 2023 I got a call from my agent, Cheri Locker. She had been out of town, and this was her first day back in the office since I dropped off a copy of my letter to corporate. She had reviewed it, and was asking questions electronically with a longtime State Farm employee in the claims department as we spoke. I will not get into all of the details of the conversation, but she said it looks like much of the problem has been a communications issue, and assured me that she believes no one at State Farm would intentionally lie to us. I told her the car is mine, and I would not be surrendering the title, not even for a second. She asked Jake (not the TV Jake), if any settlement would require me to bring in the title, and he said no. I told her to have State Farm put in writing how they are offering to settle the claim, and I will get it from her office, then give them my reply back through her office. 

Cheri closed with the following statement. "We have been friends a long time. I assure you State Farm has not changed, or I would have already retired. Systems have changed, and the challenges have changed. But, our core values have not changed. I have not lost my faith in the core values." 



On June 16, 2023 at 7:30 a.m. my wife received a text message on her phone saying State Farm had paid the towing bill. I presume that was paid under our road service coverage.* When I was an agent, the road service limit was based on "the amount it would have cost to have the car towed to the nearest facility where repairs could reasonably be expected to be made." When I first called in my claim from the road, the claims person gave me three options for body shops, all between Grand Ledge and Portland. I told her Grand Ledge would seem the logical choice since it was not even two miles from where I live. She never hesitated. She said she would immediately call to have my car towed to the Grand Ledge shop. That tow bill was over $400. That was truly Good Neighbor service. It is important for people to know State Farm had their moments where the light shined through. 

* When I saw the actual check, it was paid under comprehensive coverage, not road service.


On June 19, 2023 my State Farm agent called to see where I was in my thought process regarding the claim. We spoke for a lengthy time going over various points, but if I am not in a spot where I can immediately write down the main points of a verbal conversation, I prefer not to reconstruct it later on. Nonetheless, as I pondered what she said, I wrote the below letter which I delivered to her office June 20, 2023 to be forwarded to the appropriate people. 

June 20, 2023

Claim Number 22-50N1-78B

Dear State Farm,

It appears we will simply need to agree to disagree. Neither of us has the time, nor the inclination, to prove the other wrong. You think you are right about the value of my car, and the total loss determination, because you have (or someone has) a computer that spits out 15 page reports about car values. I think I am right because I have over half a century of practical experience, including 20 years as a State Farm agent, working directly with State Farm field adjusters, who taught me what pertains, and what does not, when determining the value of a vehicle. 

If I were to turn out right, you are overpaying the claim. I do not believe it will cost me that much to repair my car. However, as my State Farm agent has amply explained, from your perspective, you are paying exactly what you owe because you still maintain the car qualifies as a total loss. 

I will not sign anything that would even imply that I agree with your assessment the car is a total. Nor, will I ever refer to such a thing as “buying back” my car. As I have clearly explained, you cannot sell back to me something I already own. I have already been promised by State Farm claims, through my agent, you will not attempt to impugn my title in any way. 

Whether or not you choose to let me keep comprehensive coverage is up to you. Repairs are already underway, and I would be surprised if I would have any trouble finding a company who will let me pay them extra premium dollars to have comprehensive coverage on a car in such good shape. After having four new tires put on the car (4/19/23), I drove it directly to my State Farm agent’s office to let them see firsthand what I have been talking about. I suspect it is likely the first time anyone fully connected with State Farm has ever seen my car. 

Beyond the value issue, I still think your system is broken. Relying on automated electronic communications that are later retracted, or turn out to be completely false, does not put you in the best light. Out of a relatively small circle of family and friends that I have spoken with, two different people recently had similar experiences with State Farm. One is already looking for a different insurance company. The other, a friend I had as a policyholder when I was an agent, is still with you, but pretty disgruntled. Yet, it is not my place to tell you how to run your business. 

So, if we can agree to disagree, just issue your payment, and we will be done with this matter. I have provided my agent with a voided check along with this letter, so she may provide you with my credit union routing information. 

God’s peace,
(printed copy was signed by me)

William Edward Gibbons Jr
419 South Bridge Street
Grand Ledge, MI 48837




Challenging big corporations when you think they are wrong can be a daunting task. Documentation is a key component. Always speaking the truth, and not trying to twist the truth to your advantage is also essential. Once you know there is an issue, you need to stop talking with them on the phone, because (unless you are recording the conversation) you are left with no documentation of what was said, or promises made. You need to make it clear that communications with you need to be in a written form you can save. You need to be willing to involve government agencies, or elected officials, if needed, and provide them with factual documentation. You especially need to get your information into the hands of someone with authority in the corporation. Front line people seldom have authority. It is okay to say how you feel about something, but do not confuse feelings with facts. Finally, when you have done everything you can, you need to be willing to leave outcomes in God's hands. And, of course, if you were really treated badly, do not continue doing business with them, if possible. The Peace Pilgrim materials I use give some pretty good advise about resolving conflicts. Of course, her basic message is good across the board.

Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.

I do not like it when I am less than civil to someone. Yet keeping your cool can be difficult when you are in the midst of conflict. Still, it is good to remember that all negativity on our part, like anger, hate, or retaliation, will harm us more emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically, than others. We live in impersonal corporate times where technology, speed, and efficiency have replaced relationship. Service has been replaced with putting the burden onto the consumer. Frustration and anger can become just natural byproducts if we let them. My only real solution is focusing on God. Keeping God in the center of what I do. Turning back to Him if I get sidetracked.    


As a domestic missionary who promotes using the question "what would Jesus have me do?" in all decisions Christians face, I must take His advice in Scripture seriously. Yet forgiveness clashes with one of my favorite admonition sayings, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." As I look back on this journey, I am reminded of a State Farm automated phone system that takes people to a dead end if they do not have a smart phone. And, that in an unrelated claim, it took my wife fifty-five minutes on her phone before she could reach a real person. In my day everything started at the local office, but things change. I do not like that I have to deal with people in Texas, and Colorado, or wherever else, just referred to as "claim team" who have no real knowledge of me, or my property they are making decisions about. I remember I tried to explain to Monique the true exceptional condition of my car by comparing it to those you might see in a classic car show. She sarcastically remarked I do not own a classic car. No, I do not, but I have photographed hundreds of cars at many shows, and the above photo bears out my claim. I remember how it felt when she was justifying their decision, and telling me their email a week earlier which had said I should begin repairs was irrelevant to the circumstance because it was an automated email sent out by their computer system. Why send it at all if you are not going to stand by it. Then the fact that the repair estimate was below the threshold they should have been using to determine a total. They blew that one off by saying there could be more damage. Yes, that is possible. But, it is also possible there is no additional damage underneath. Especially since I was able to bring my car to a rolling stop with what rubber was still on the wheel. Once they declared my car to be a total loss, nobody was going to look. It is all supposition still. But, it made my life more complicated, because the place they had it towed to would no longer repair it. Right from the start, I have told everybody I would be fixing the car regardless of what State Farm does, because of its exceptional condition. Instead of working with me to determine the truth, State Farm just dumped me into their system, then took the path of trying to justify their position without all of the facts. Add to that the lie about storage charges, made more than once. Everything can be explained away piece by piece, but as a whole it is pretty sloppy work for a corporation that has remained among the top of the "good guys" list consistently throughout its history. It was frustrating, and disappointing, to experience this process, but even more so to hear the excuses. Years ago, an advertising agency person was sent by State Farm to interview me as a possible candidate for one of the real agent commercials State Farm used before TV Jake. One of the questions the interviewer asked was why I chose insurance? I said I did not choose insurance. I came to a job interview, and was so impressed with State Farm as a company, I chose State Farm. It just happened to be they were only in the insurance business. We did not always see eye to eye, but when I left them for the path I felt God was calling me to, I still believed they deserved to be among the top on that "good guys" corporations list. Even now, if State Farm can find a comp three car in the same exceptional condition as the car I own, and could actually buy it in today's economy for the value they have placed on my car, I would relent, and say they are right, I am wrong. But, that is not going to happen. No insurance company has that kind of time, or the inclination. They just play with the numbers, which may, or might not, reflect the real world, or the truth. Plus, such a comp car might not even exist. But, my car does exist. And, I can prove with photographs, and the undamaged rest of the car itself, that when I use the words unique situation, and exceptional condition, my position is closer to the truth, than State Farm's. But, even if they sent someone once to look over the vehicle, they cannot know that from Texas, Colorado, or who knows where else, for a car now parked back in my driveway in Grand Ledge, Michigan. And, just because their numbers come from a computer program, does not mean they reflect reality. 


After my conversation with Cheri, I was trying to give State Farm the benefit of the doubt. On my cardiac walk, I stopped in at a non-profit arts place I have been a part of for a long time. In the course of conversation it turns out the woman behind the desk went through almost the very same experiences with State Farm recently, including the whole "storage charges" thing while her car was at Gerber. She pushed the issue, and when the State Farm claims person checked into it, they came back and said, you are right. Gerber does not charge us storage fees. So, are we, the mass of State Farm policyholders (who by the way are the owners in a mutual company) supposed to feel better because such things stem from ignorance, or incompetence, instead of intentional? It does not inspire confidence. In fact, the lady I was speaking with has already begun arrangements to move her insurance to another company. When I mentioned to Cheri the remark from the fellow now doing the body work about not being able to find a decent used car for less than five or six thousand dollars, she misinterpreted it as my claiming that to be my car's value. I explained to her I do not wish to take advantage of State Farm, just like I do not want them to take advantage of me. I just want my car fixed. I could not even do that at Gerber once State Farm declared it to be a total. "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me," or forgiveness? It is a really good question. 


The founder of State Farm did so because he thought the insurance companies of his day were treating him unfairly. They told him if he did not like it, then go start your own insurance company. He did. Historically, it has been a great company. In these highly competitive times, with new alternatives arriving regularly, consumers have more power than they realize to stand up to businesses they believe are mistreating them, including the big corporations. Even State Farm. The penny and dollar reference in the closing of my letter to State Farm comes from my days as an agent of theirs. We were told the State Farm philosophy was to pay every dollar we owed under the terms of our policies. Not a penny more. But not a dollar less.      

This letter is now a part of my Newsletters, Letters, & Emails archives. It will remain here in perpetuity. If someday it should help another State Farm customer find relief, or even restitution, for wrongs they perceive are being perpetrated against them, that would not hurt my feelings at all. State Farm has a strong foundation of doing right. If they happen to forget that, maybe a little nudge will help them to remember those words of Adlai H. Rust. He was one one of the earlier presidents of the company, before my time with them, but I still display his words of wisdom. 


With all the demands on my time, one might wonder why I would spend so much of it doing this? The last line in the Cherokee Bill's Teaching & Trade Center Mission Statement reads, "To heighten awareness of historical and present injustice and prejudice." I do not see State Farm as a company who shows prejudice. And the word injustice might be a bit strong, but if I get the impression that a big corporation is trying to run rough shod over me, I see it as fitting in as a part of my mission. 

I originally dreaded having to find the time to write to State Farm stating I was challenging that my car is a total loss. Then, I woke up one morning seeing it as a teaching and sharing opportunity if I did it as a webpage. It went from dread, to making it a top priority of my mission, something God would have me do. Putting God in the center changes how I perceive anything. 


This is not the same as the Comcast situation. There, I could decide to simply do without cable TV, and the Internet connected to my house. I have found, that while sometimes inconvenient, my life is actually better without either of those. In this case, I am required to carry insurance on any vehicle I own that is driven on public roads. Therefore, the main decision I have yet to make, is do I believe State Farm still provides this service better than, or at least as good as, any other company in the insurance business I could go with. At this point, it is not as easy a question to answer as it would have been before my claim experience. 

Hard as it might be for some people to understand, this has never been about money. It has always been about the truth. I have believed now for many decades that the paramount goal in life is to learn, and live, the Truth. That journey can also be a daunting one. 



Battling State Farm Addendum


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