State Farm and My Tornado Damage

Mother Nature doesn’t want us to have this…

Let me preface this post by saying that we far more fortunate than others here in Tuscaloosa. We escaped the devastating tornado that hit Tuscaloosa on April 27th without any damage. We did get hit by the tornado on April 15th with some roof and fence damage as well as destroying my son’s batting cage and swing set.

So, we got hit on April 15th. That evening, when I got back from work, I assessed the damage and immediately called State Farm to file a claim. A little more than a week later, we finally got a call from State Farm to set up a date for the adjuster to come out. This adjuster was out of Texas. This call was prior to the April 27th tornado and the appointment was set for 7AM on May 2nd. Despite the April 27th tornado, the adjuster showed up a little after  7AM.

During the week or so that I was waiting to hear something, anything from State Farm, I left all my damages alone for the adjuster. When I found that he wouldn’t be there until May 2nd, I started some with some clean up and repair. The day after the tornado, I went to Lowe’s to get some tarps to cover the exposed wood on the roof. Lowe’s was completely out of decent sized tarps. A couple days later, I returned to Lowe’s and found 2 small sized tarps and bought them. I had to do this because rain was coming the next day. It was getting close to dark when I got home to put the tarps up. They weren’t enough and a roofing crew working down the road noticed and offered to set me up. The charged an overpriced fee and got me protected from rain. I disassembled the mangled batting cage, cut up and disposed of the trampoline, and cleaned up the yard. Now, all there was to do was wait on State Farm.

Let me interject this into the story. During the time between getting hit and the adjuster finally coming out to assess our claim,  most of my neighbors with other insurance companies had already been taken care of and several of them already had their roof replaced.

May 2nd, the adjuster showed up and spent about 30 minutes going over the damage. Most of his time was spent on the roof taking photos and documenting the damage. He comes down and prepares his paperwork in his vehicle. He goes over the claim gives me a stack of paper work and a check. He explained that State Farm wasn’t going to replace the roof by comparing it to a car repair. He said, something to the effect of, “If the fender on the car is damaged in a wreck, we’re not going to replace the entire car”. Sure, I buy that, but you are going to make sure the fender’s paint matches the rest of the car right? I wasn’t pleased with this at all, but I didn’t have time to argue, I was already late for work.

I got to work that morning and started calling roofers. I found out from my real estate agent that a lot of homeowners in Tuscaloosa were having some problems with State Farm. I tweeted about this and believe it or not, someone from State Farm’s Social Media team replied pretty fast on Twitter that someone would look into my complaint. A few days later, I got a call from someone at State Farm asking me what my issue was. I explained and to sum it up, he told me to go ahead and get roofers out to take a look and if they felt that a) the patching of the roof wouldn’t look good or b) the color shingle was discontinued, that I should call into their Catastrophic Services group.

I ended up calling calling several roofers.

  • 1 roofer never called back
  • 1 roofer heard State Farm in my inquiry and said, “No thanks!”.
  • 1 roofer said unless it was a complete roof, they didn’t want the business.
  • 1 roofer came out and said that a patch wouldn’t do, it would look bad and he’s not putting his company’s name on the job.
  • 1 roofer came out and said about the same as the other, but he was willing to give me and estimate on a complete roof and advise (on the estimate) that it be replaced based on the age of the roof and color. He said if I patched it up, it would look like leopard print.
  • The last roofer I called didn’t return my call.

For the last 3 weeks, we’ve had 5-6 roofers from other towns and states stop by cold asking if we needed their services, but I sent them on their way. I don’t trust out of area companies. I’ve heard horror stories about contractors starting and leaving town without finishing, cash in hand. I don’t want to have another story to add. I’d rather keep the money in our town, Tuscaloosa could use it for sure.

I called State Farm’s “Catastrophic Services” group to share with them what I found with the roofer search. The nice lady I worked with reviewed my claim and the photos and told me to fax an estimate for the complete roof and they would go over it and see where we were. I called Bama Contractor’s up and asked if he could write me up an estimate. This was the company that made the leopard print comment. I faxed the estimate in on May 13th. I called later that morning to make sure it was received and the guy I spoke with said it takes about 24 hours for them to get into the system. I let the weekend lapse, but was too busy to follow up Monday. I did call in Tuesday and confirmed it was received. The man I spoke this time said he’d call the contractor to go over it.

I called back in on Thursday, and apparently he never got a hold of the contractor. The lady I spoke with this time was singing a whole different tune than previous calls. She said that if the roof won’t match, that I would be responsible for the additional cost. WOW REALLY? Using the adjuster’s analogy again- If my fender is replaced, but the paint doesn’t match up, the body shop is going to file a supplemental to have the cost of a complete paint job added in or maybe just one side to blend in, but they aren’t going to put you into a two-toned car are they? We ended the call with her promising to call the contractor to discuss the job.

I have already priced out switching to another company for my cars, motorcycle, and home. So far, Allstate is looking best, but I am still waiting on a few quotes. I just switched my cars and motorcycle to State Farm a month before all  this too. We have had State Farm for homeowner’s since we’ve owned a home. I don’t want to switch again, but if this turns out bad, I have to do what I have to do. If State Farm isn’t there we we need them, why have them.

I just hope for others that State Farm doesn’t drop Alabama like they did Florida. Kudos to Florida for not allowing State Farm to quadruple rates like they wanted to for Florida.

I have already decided not to rebuild Brett’s batting cage since I will use the replacement money to cover our $1,000 deductible since I can’t cover that right now.

Anyhow, this is where it stands and I will update this post with how this all turns out, good or bad.

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