My father-in-law left our house and a few minutes later had a heart attack while driving his car under 5 MPH. This happened Sept 26, 2012.
After the heart attack, his car hit my friend’s car – doing a grand total of $505 of damage.
State Farm was my father-in-law’s car insurance company.
I called State Farm….and they informed me that any claim from my friend for damage to my friend’s car would be denied (and it was) along with any other claims from any others resulting from the accident – as well as any personal liability claims for medical or funeral charges.
Their rationale? It was an act of God and not his fault for having the heart attack – which resulted in the accident, therefore they weren’t liable for damage caused by the accident. They went on to explain to me that if my father-in-law had not taken some heart medication he was supposed to, or was told not to drive by a doctor but had anyway, then it would have been his fault and the damage to my friend’s car would have been covered. This is the good neighbor company. I explained that in my business, one can do the right thing instead of reducing each letter of a contract to legal terms to benefit them. It’s often the best policy to do the right thing…..like say a good neighbor would. They refused….remained adamant and told me that my friend’s accident was no different than a tree limb falling on his car.
My friend called his company, Geico, who said (I’m paraphrasing) “you’ve got to be kdding. We’ll go after Stare Farm for they should definitely pay.” That process is under way… for the full $505.
My father-in-law moved across country 10 months ago and I asked if he wanted to shop around for car insurance, and he said no, State Farm had treated him well and even if he pays more, it’s worth it to work with such a good company. In looking through his records, I found no claims he had ever submitted with State Farm and I believe he was paying premiums to State Farm for at least 40 years.
If this hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t believe it. I have told this story to many friends, including lawyers and insurance folks, and no one can believe it. Also, many friends have told me how their insurance companies handled claims – many going well beyond the requirements…truly acting as a good neighbor.