Farmers has been providing insurance since 1928 and now offers everything from car insurance to life insurance. It has been highly rated by credit rating agency A.M. Best, so it is definitely a financially strong insurer. It provides an excellent 24/7 customer support service, but on the flip side it came in at the bottom end in the J.D. Power 2014 Insurance Shopping Study so its overall customer experience, particularly how it manages claims, has not been great. But there are a lot of benefits that Farmers offers, such as online claims reporting and bill payments, a broad network of agents, and numerous discount possibilities. Here I list the types of coverage offered and the benefits of each so you can form your own opinion about this major insurer.
Features We Like
Online quotes make shopping for insurance savings a lot more practical. The last thing most of us want is to get a half-hour sales pitch when all we wanted was a quote.
Online claims reporting means you can report whenever it is most convenient for you. You can also report a claim instantly from your internet enabled device.
Rental car reimbursement. With this optional coverage, if your vehicle is damaged in an accident for which you are not at fault, you can get reimbursement when you rent a similar vehicle to keep you mobile. In most states you will get your deposit waived, as well as free pick up and delivery.
Local agents. A local agent has to keep a good reputation in the community if he hopes to stay in business. This gives you some extra leverage when working to get a claim paid out.
Car insurance. Farmers is a strong provider of low-cost insurance for automobiles, with some of the lowest quotes for experienced drivers (+25 years old). It also offers specialized insurance for off-road vehicles. While its standard policies provide the same coverage you would find on most car insurance policies, it offers some interesting optional coverage. New car coverage lets you get your totaled car replaced within the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of purchasing it. Roadside assistance and towing services are a nice plus and can help you get moving again, or take you to a qualified workshop. Customized equipment coverage insures your audio devices and media, as well as other gadgets. You can save a lot of money on premiums by taking advantage of Farmers discounts, and in most states you should be eligible for the majority of these:
- Multiple policy discount. If you also get your homeowners, life, motorcycle, RV or boat insurance from Farmers, you can get discounts on all policies.
- Alternative fuel. If your car runs on electric, hybrid, natural gas, methane and propane energy, you can get a discount.
- Anti-lock brakes installed in your car let you get a discount.
- Install an anti-theft device.
- Eligible business or professional group or association members and retirees may get a discount.
- ESC (Extreme Steering Control) devices in your car entitle you to a discount.
- B-average students can get a good student discount (I guess being smart does pay). You can also get this discount if you rank in the top 20% of your class, have an average of 3.0 in all subjects or made it onto your school's honor roll.
- Get more than one car insured with Farmers and you can get discounts on all of them.
- New car. If you get insurance for a new car (current model or next year's model) you will get a one-time discount in the form of a credit towards your premiums.
- Air bags and automatic seat belts can earn you a discount.
- If you are over 65 years old (55 in some states), you can get a discount when you complete a driver's education course approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- If you have a clean driving record, you will be able to get a discount in most states.
Remember that when you are involved in an accident, you should always get a police report. And if you are not at fault, make sure the police report states that clearly. Don't forget that insurance companies work for a profit, and you should take every precaution to make sure you get the payouts you deserve.
Classic car insurance. This insurer provides coverage for classic cars and modified cars. You get agreed value compensation, which means you get to specify what your car is worth. You can also get covered when you take your car outside of the US, for example for a motor show.
Motorcycle insurance. With Farmers, you can get year round coverage for your bike when you pay your yearly policy upfront. Some other insurers will only provide cover in the riding season. It offers a first accident waiver program, which means your rates won't go up after one accident. Here I list some of the best ways to get discounts on Farmers motorcycle insurance:
- Wearing a helmet approved by the Department of Traffic can help you get additional medical payments in case of an accident.
- Install a LoJack® system or other approved vehicle recovery devices could help you get $500 of your deductible waived if your bike is stolen.
- Pay your policy for a year upfront to get a discount on what would be monthly payments.
- Get anti-lock brakes or an airbag for solid discounts.
- If you get another policy from Farmers (homeowners, life, boat, etc.) you can get a discount on your motorcycle insurance.
- Get a discount if you renew your coverage without a break.
- Get more than one bike renewed with them and you'll save on all your bike insurance.
- Take an improved safety course for further discounts.
Boat insurance from Farmers offers a broad range of coverage and optional benefits. They offer one of the most complete sets of boat insurance packages that I've seen so far, so you will probably find one that suits your boating needs. You can get discounts for taking a boat safety course, paying your premiums in a lump sum upfront, storing your boat safely for part of the year, or installing a safety device. Depending on the policy and optional coverage you choose, you could get exceptional benefits like:
- Hurricane haul-out coverage which reimburses you for the cost of hauling your boat away from a danger-zone ahead of an oncoming hurricane, tropical storm or tropical depression.
- Coverage for Mexico and the Bahamas
- Trip interruption and emergency travel coverage. This can save you a lot of stress if your boat breaks down or is held up and you have to pay for accommodation or airline travel.
- Pet coverage up to $1,000. If your pet is injured while aboard your watercraft, at least part of the veterinary bills will be covered.
- Coverage of up to $10,000 if your dinghy is damaged or sunk.
- Boat life, cradle and hoist coverage up to $2,000.
- Total loss coverage means you'll be reimbursed for the entire value of your loss. This coverage comes with some policies. If you have a low-value boat, you can also get policies that pay you cash-value benefits, meaning just the amount that the boat is worth on the market at the time of the incident.
Note that engaging in competitive racing may void your coverage (except for sailboats). Before signing a policy, make sure to take a good look at exclusions to find out what other activities could cause you to lose your coverage in case of an accident or loss.
Homeowner's insurance from Farmers covers all the basics like fire, wind, theft damage, and liability. It also gives you the option to get cosmetic damage coverage, which will cover the cost of cosmetic repairs to your home up to a certain amount. Regardless of whether you are liable, the medical coverage you get will cover the cost of physical injuries to visitors who get hurt on your property. You can also get additional coverage for valuable items like art, antiques and jewelry. Some exceptional benefits this insurer offers to homeowners are:
- You get worldwide coverage for your personal property, such as a laptop or clothing. If eligible possessions are stolen or damaged by covered perils when you are outside of the US, you can get a benefit paid out up to the policy limit.
- Contents replacement cost will cover the cost of actually replacing your furniture and other goods instead of just paying out an approximate benefit.
- Identity theft protection covers you with up to $28,500 in expenses and $1,500 indemnity costs if your identity is stolen and used fraudulently. You also get 24/7 access to an advocate at Identity Theft 911® who can guide you through the legal process. You can get this coverage for an extra $65 per year.
Renter's insurance. With this insurer you get liability coverage for injuries to visitors and damage to their property, including legal coverage. You also get flexible personal property coverage which you can raise or lower to match the value of your possessions. Note that coverage is on a named-peril basis, meaning you are only covered for perils that are stated clearly on your policy. Make sure that all perils that apply to your place are listed so you'll be covered if something goes wrong.
If you have to rent temporary housing due to your home being damaged, your policy will cover the rental costs up to the amount stated in your policy. In addition, you can get optional identity theft coverage that offers assistance and covers the cost of repairing damages due to stolen identity. Another optional benefit is replacement cost coverage, which covers the actual cost of replacement, rather than paying out an estimated cash value for an item, which is almost always much less than the actual value.
Term life insurance by Farmers offers level insurance (rates stay the same) in terms of 10, 20 or 30 years. Let's have a look at the different types of term life policies on offer and their benefits:
- Simple Term offers coverage as low as $75,000. If you need life insurance at a low cost, this is a good option. It doesn't require a medical examination, so it's quite quick and easy to get. You pay a guaranteed fixed premium for the full term of either 10, 20 or 30 years. You can save up to 6% on your policy if you have car or homeowners insurance from them. You will also get a discount on your homeowners and car insurance policies. Optional coverage you can get with your simple term includes terminal illness coverage, which lets you receive part of your benefit (up to 50% of your death benefit, max. $150,000) while you're still alive if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. You can also get an optional accidental death benefit, which will be paid out if you die in an accident when under a specified age. Another option is the waiver of premium feature, which covers you if at some time you are unable to pay your premiums due to becoming disabled. Probably the best feature of Farmers simple term is that you can convert it to a whole life policy if your situation changes. This must be done within 20 years of owning the policy, and you won't be able to change over after you turn 65. If you smoke, you will only be eligible for certain whole life policies.
- Decreasing term is a good option if you want coverage for a mortgage or payment of a loan. Your benefit actually goes down every month, meaning that with every month that passes, you will be paid out less if you pass away. Since you will be paying off a mortgage or a debt slowly, your life insurance coverage goes down to match. Benefits start at just $50,000 and the rates are very affordable. This coverage can give you a lot of peace of mind while you pay off a loan or mortgage. You can convert this policy to a whole life insurance within the first 10 years of getting the policy, until you turn 65 years old. You can also get optional first to die coverage, which is held by you and a second person, such as your spouse. You will then be paid out when either one of you passes away, so this can provide the loved one you leave behind with a mortgage-free home. However, I would recommend you also take a look at a more flexible term life policy such as simple life, which provides benefits that can be used in many different ways.
- Value term offers a guaranteed death benefit, starting at $150,000. It gives you fixed premium rates for either 10, 20 or 30 years, and you can convert it to a whole life insurance within 20 years of owning the policy (until you turn 65). This insurance is cheaper than simple term if you need a large death benefit.
Whole life insurance. Farmers offers a number of different whole life policies, so you get a lot of flexibility in choosing the right coverage for your needs.
- Simple whole life comes with guaranteed level premiums. This means you will pay the same amount for the entire time you have this coverage (up to 100 years old, after which it may increase). The death benefit you receive will also remain fixed. For example, if you have a benefit of $150,000, then $150,000 will be paid out. You get a discount for multiple policies. If you want to know exactly what you're getting, this is a good whole life insurance for you.
- Premier whole life offers a fixed benefit and you pay fixed premiums. The best features of this type of policy are the credits you can earn based on your life expectancy, and dividends earned on your premiums. You can either receive these credits in cash, or use them to pay future premiums. This type of policy also gives you a lot of options for additional coverage that can be added at a cost.
- Graded death whole life will benefit you primarily if due to your insurance history, you find it difficult to obtain life insurance. If you want to build up cash value like you would in a universal insurance, but prefer to pay a fixed premium, then this is a good option. No medical exam is required to get a policy, and you will receive a benefit from $5,000 to $20,000 plus. You can apply for this insurance if you're between the age of 45 and 80. Foreign nationals who have been residents in the US for at least 12 months may also be eligible. Although the benefit paid out is small, this low cost life insurance can provide some immediate help to your loved ones after your death, especially in covering expenses related to your passing.
Universal life from Farmers, like other universal life insurance policies, offers a lot of flexibility as you decide how much you will pay into your policy, and when you will pay it (within broad limits). You also have a lot of flexibility in choosing the amount of your death benefit. This is a good option for people with flexible or irregular income, as you'll have a lot less worry about losing your life insurance by not paying regular premiums. It's important to note that you may only earn the minimum guaranteed interest on the cash value of your policy. You may be quoted a high interest-earning rate based on current dividends, but I recommend you only count on the minimum guaranteed amount, and look at added earnings as a bonus.
Umbrella insurance. If you take out a car, motorcycle, boat or homeowners insurance with Farmers, you should consider getting their umbrella coverage as well. If you already have umbrella insurance but aren't entirely satisfied with it, you may want to get a quote from them anyway since it may be cheaper if you get this added insurance along with your other Farmers policies.
Farmers is a financially strong insurance provider that provides a broad range of insurance coverage. It offers a lot of optional features as well as opportunities for discounts on almost all policies. This car insurance lets you get some of the cheapest coverage available to drivers over the age of 25. Since it provides many different types of insurance, you have the chance to get multiple policy discounts if you take out more than one policy. Farmers provides excellent customer service, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of the way it handles claims. This provider has one of the poorest ratings among major insurance companies in this regard. So if you want to enjoy its low premiums, be ready to put in a bit of extra effort when it's time to report a claim. On the whole, this is a solid insurance provider that gives you broad coverage at very reasonable rates.