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Posted: 6/10/2001 3:37:07 AM EDT
State Farm Insurance Anti-Gun Hunter? Shooter? Who Is Your Good Neighbor? State Farm Insurance Cancels Homeowner over Private Shooting Range on Rural Property. By GrassRoots South Carolina (To subscribe, unsubscribe to this invite list or unsubscribe to this list but remain on the invite list see the very bottom of this post.) [Note: This story originally broke when we were busy with the elections. At that time, the concern of Second Amendment activists involved in the research of this article was that if allowed to go unchecked, situations like this would spread industry wide. How long before simple ownership of firearms would be considered cause for termination of insurance coverage? This is how incrementalism works and why we must be ever vigilant to stop It in its tracks!] Gary Atkinson is a good neighbor, even though his nearest neighbor lives hundreds of feet away. He makes his home in rural Chapin, South Carolina on thirteen hilly, mostly wooded acres, along with his wife Lisa, sons Tom and Yates, two horses, three yard dogs, and "too many cats to count" as Gary puts it. "Somebody's got to take in homeless animals" he explains. "If not, well. " His voice trails off. No need to describe the fate of stray animals in a sparsely populated area. Gary's job in heavy equipment sales brought him from Illinois to South Carolina in 1985. He promptly fell in love with the area, and bought Acreage 25 miles and a culture away from the state capitol in Columbia. Gary and Lisa bought a second, adjoining parcel in 1988, and began building their dream house in 1990. "We moved into the house in 1992" Gary says with a laugh, "but we never stopped building. A barn. Outbuildings. A pool. A pond. There's always something going on at our place". When the time came for Gary to change jobs, he stayed in South Carolina. Gary admits his rural homestead isn't as rural as it once was. Fifteen families now live along his dead-end country road, and more are discovering this long-forgotten corner of Richland County every year. But it remains a close-knit community, where everybody knows everybody else. The kids play together, the adults are good friends, and the entire neighborhood gets together several times a year for a massive "block party". But being a good neighbor involves more than holding block parties and swimming in each other's pools. It involves being there when people have a need. For example, Lisa prepares meals for shut-ins, and Gary uses his tractor and chain saw to help around the neighborhood. Sometimes he cuts grass for people who can't do it themselves. When Mike, their neighbor across the street, broke his back in a fall from a deer stand, Gary built rails on Mike's front steps so that Mike could get in and out of his house. And when there was a loud explosion in the woods behind another neighbor's house, she immediately called Gary and asked him to investigate. Gary found a tree had fallen across a power line in a right-of-way, and started a fire. He fought the fire himself while others summoned help. By the time trained firefighters arrived, Gary had brought the blaze under control. The firefighters' main job was to put out the still-burning debris. That's the kind of "good neighbor" Gary is.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 3:39:53 AM EDT
For 34 years Gary bought his insurance from State Farm, a company that claims it's a good neighbor. Gary's father got him started with the company when he began driving at 16. Gary later bought homeowners insurance from State Farm, and eventually added an umbrella policy to protect the assets he had accumulated. Gary was happy with State Farm. And State Farm should have been happy with Gary, because he has an excellent claims record. True, his car was broken into several years ago. Hurricane Hugo blew down a tree. And a pipe burst, causing damage in his basement. Not bad, for 34 years of State Farm coverage. Gary's rosy relationship with State Farm came to a screeching halt a few months ago, when he casually mentioned to the local State Farm office that he had been shooting at a range he built in a ravine back in the woods behind his house. The local agent, who he regarded as a friend, didn't like that, and questioned Gary closely. Shooting? With guns? He answered all of her questions, and even took her through the woods to the ravine so she could see the area for herself. She wasn't happy. Neither was the home office. State Farm promptly cancelled Gary's coverage for what the company called "the operation of the shooting range on your property". Hunting and recreational shooting are a way of life in rural South Carolina, and in much of the rest of America. Gary has enjoyed these activities since he was seven years old, when his father started him with a .22 bolt action rifle. It's a tradition Gary is passing on to his two sons. Still, Gary tried to appease State Farm by offering to limit his shooting. Would they ever let him shoot on his own property, or did the company insist on a total ban? "Maybe once in a Blue Moon" the agent told him. "What about giving permission to a neighbor to hunt regularly on my property?" Gary asked. "It's just too dangerous" she replied. Gary next offered to protect State Farm from any liability for his shooting. The ravine was on a parcel of land separate from the house, so what if State Farm just insured the parcel with the house? Gary went out and bought a million dollar liability policy from an NRA- endorsed underwriter to cover his shooting activities. Would State Farm be willing to exclude all shooting activities from his homeowners policy? Sorry, no deal. So, what did State Farm want from him? Gary asked State Farm's agent to point out the fine print in his policy, or to show him something in writing, so that he could keep the company happy. She conceded there was no fine print, nothing in the policy, and nothing in writing anywhere. But the company regarded his shooting range as a "factor of increased risk" she told him, and as reason for terminating his coverage. State Farm's agent claimed that it was unlikely any other National Insurance would cover him. Another State Farm agent was consulted who said there was little that could be done. All insurance companies had similar rules. But Gary shopped around, and he quickly learned that other companies were more than happy to insure safe shooters. Gary now has all the insurance coverage he wants. From companies that are happy to have his business. At prices lower than he was paying to State Farm.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 3:40:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/10/2001 3:44:06 AM EDT by GUN N 4FUN]
Gary still shoots in the ravine behind his house. And he's still a good neighbor. But he's really, really disappointed with State Farm. "This never was about risk" Gary concludes. "Its about guns. State Farm just didn't want me shooting. Ever." * * * * * ACTION - GrassRoots South Carolina, [url]http://www.scfirearms.org/[/url] urges all policy holders with State Farm to contact State Farm and voice complaints regarding their decision to cancel policies based on discrimination of lawful use of firearms when there is no statistics to show increased risk. Voice your protests and concerns directly to them or else find yourself facing increased guidelines in the future -- like possible non-coverage of firearms owners. To contact State Farm call (309) 766-2311. Members of the media may call (309) 766-7550. Further contact information is: Mr. Edward Rust, President State Farm Companies One State Farm Plaza Bloomington IL 61710-0001 309-766-7554 Gary's Former State Farm Agent is: Renee Wilder 120 Columbia Avenue Chapin, SC 29036-9420 Phone: (803) 345-3135 Fax: (803) 345-6700 Online, you may contact State Farm at: [url]https://sfinsguides.statefarm.com/insur/Forms/Comments.asp[/url] GrassRoots South Carolina has placed the above article with photo's of Gary's range, cancellation letter from State Farm, FAQ section, and further supporting information at: [url]http://www.scfirearms.org/garya.htm[/url] After reading the complete article you may wish to contact Gary directly at: pcsport109@aol.com Permission to reprint or forward this is granted as long as the above article is maintained as written with no changes.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 3:47:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 4:53:09 AM EDT
They are good about settling claims promptly, gotta give them that. I while back a State Farm policy holder rear ended my truck, his fault totally. I went to the branch office his agent was at. On the door, "NO FIREARMS ALLOWED INSIDE", obviously directed at CCW holders. The agent asked if I wanted to go to one of their affiliated body shops, I said no, I'll take the check, I knew right where I was taking the truck. They gave me a check on the spot for over $1300, after estimating the damage. I took the truck to work, put a pallet on a forktruck, ran the pallet under the bumper and raised. Got on the bed, extended the taligate and jumped up and down. Hey, there is a bumpersticker "Reloaders Love a Good Piece of Brass" on that bumper, I had to save it! I wish I could say I bought a gun with that money, but I don't remember. I know I must have bought something gun related!
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 5:36:54 AM EDT
State Farm SUCKS. Big time!! They will pay out small claims immediately and handle the run of the mill stuff without hassle, but get a major claim and they will turn on you with all kinds of dirty tricks. This Gary guy should consider himself lucky that he is now insured somewhere else. My wife has made a career in the insurance business ( 16 years ). She BREIFLY, very BREIFLY worked for State Farm ( 3 months ). Generally they will have the lowest rates, but you get what you pay for! Being anti-gun is just another reason to avoid them.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 6:01:00 AM EDT
I am bummed over this. I have been a State Farm customer for many years. Unlike VoodooBadger's expierience mine has been good. I have been a major claim to State Farm since Christmas morning of 1995. Crushed my spine in a car accident, State Farm paid everything from the AEROMED chopper ride, ICU, 2 major surgeries, lengthy rehab hospital stay,(where therapists told me they switched to state farm after seeing how well they paid claims) lost wages for almost 2 years, medication and Dr. visits to this day. Never have they kicked about a cost of any treatment. I have actually regained my ability to walk, I was told not to expect to. I do not walk nearly as well but I am up and around. Tuco
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 6:44:12 AM EDT
I use USAA. Recently called them to increase the coverage on my guns(bought a few more). The agent I spoke to seemed very helpful and wasn't phased when I asked for 2000 more in coverage.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 7:06:40 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 11:36:21 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 3:35:53 PM EDT
I'll tell you something that is funny I live in Bloomington IL right across from the State farm corporate building and at the local gun range they have the State Farm shooting team for shotgun and ISPA shooting and just so you know this is mostly the suites that are in this that was what I was told. So I really think this story is funny because State Farm has is own shooting team around here and there head shooter I was told was the ECO now maybe where this guy lives it's different and there anti-gun but here there not because the gun range they go to and also insure is a family owned business thats right in there back yard.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 4:09:03 PM EDT
State Farm sucks... I had their piss poor insurance on my Jeep when I was in the Marines and all I ever had was grief when calling about my account. As long as you are paying them money and staying out of their hair, of course, all insurance companies are probably this way!
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 5:06:43 PM EDT
Sounds more like a bad agent who probably exaggerated things to the home office. My state farm agent is quite pro-gun, see him at every gunshow and we BS. Mentioned that I built a range at my folks' place (who get their insurance through State Farm) and all he said was 'sounds like a good setup'. He also subscribes to the 'what the home office doesn't know won't hurt them' when it comes to the speeding ticket every so often.
Link Posted: 6/10/2001 10:09:04 PM EDT
Strange story, since I have State Farm insurance for my property and run a range on it where we do training, shoot matches regularly, and people just come out to shoot. Only thing my agent said they were concerned about was the safety, and after checking the place out and seeing that a round couldn't get out of the range and hit a neighbor State Farm was perfectly happy.
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