On December 1st 2018 a freak warm front swept through the area bringing with it 29 Tornados. One of those Tornados was a devastating EF3 Tornado that completely destroyed many houses in my town. Over 400 homes were damaged by this Tornado which had wind speeds estimated at 155mph and was a 1/2 mile wide. Our house was in this Tornado’s direct path. We were fortunate enough that when the Tornado reached us it had lifted off the ground but the official storm track still put it coming right over our backyard. As a result we had extensive shingle and siding damage done. No face of the house was spared and we took damage from the extreme winds and flying debris on literally every side. My daughter and I were home at the time and ran to the basement as soon as we realized there was a Tornado nearby. We both suffer from PTSD from it to this day, with Tornado sirens setting off a near panic-state in her, and having adverse effects on me as well.
I had been a client of Country Financial since the day I turned 16 and got my license, only because that was who my Dad used at the time. As I grew, I continued to use them for multiple vehicles, multiple life policies, and our home policy. I had made some small auto claims in the past, none my fault, and had always been satisfied with how it was handled. I wish I could say the same for the Tornado damaged to my house, but my experience was the exact opposite. Country Financial weaseled out of tens of thousands of dollars in necessary repairs and stuck me with the bill.
They paid to fix both of our cars which had hail and tree limb damage, and they paid for our roof damage, but the siding was a different matter. The siding on our house was very old and brittle, which was probably why we had damage on every side. Because of how old the siding was there was no replacement available any more. We searched dozens of manufacturers and every one said nope, we don’t make anything compatible with that any more. Therefore, the only way to repair every side of the house was to replace all of the siding. Country refused and cut me a check for 1/5th of what would end up being the final repair cost. I received multiple quotes from various well-respected repair companies and their quotes put me any where from $15,000 to $20,000 short of being able to actually fix my house.
Country financial drug out the claim process for months, claiming they were reassessing (lies), and telling me they would make it right (more lies). I even tried to file a complaint with the state of Illinois Department of Insurance, which was a massive waste of time. The IDoI put zero time or effort in to investigating the case and just closed it based off what Country said. Country’s line was “we don’t pay for matching”. However, as I already explained, this is not matching. There was literally no siding for me to purchase with the mere pittance they had wrote for me. There was absolutely NO WAY for me to fix my house on their claim money. I was offered multiple straight up INSULTING solutions such as “Move the undamaged siding all to one side of the house and reside just one or 2 sides of the house”. Yes, Country Financial actually expected me to have 2 different types of siding on my house. I even asked a contractor about this and they told me they would refuse to do that because the siding was too old and too brittle. They said any attempt to remove it and re-nail it to the house would just shatter it, which I feel was the honest truth.
I held 8 various auto/life/home policies with Country and been a customer of theirs for 19 years. What I was asking for was a reasonable amount of money to properly fix my house and restore it to the condition it was in before a Tornado did severe damage, after all that is the point of insurance, isn’t it?! To return you to the state you were in before the claim occurred? The amount I was asking for was just a couple of years worth of premiums, of which they had 19 years out of me. They stood by their refusal to fix my house and drug out the claim a full year until the case was automatically closed and I had zero recourse left. So, I closed out all 8 policies and moved my business elsewhere. I told myself if they didn’t make this right they would never see a single red cent from me again, and that is what has happened. I ended up having to come out of pocket well north of $10,000 to repair all of the damage on my house from the Tornado. This has left me in an extremely poor financial situation that will take me years to recover from and has set back our plans to buy a new house by a similar amount of time. I thought I was being a responsible adult. I had all of my things insured through a nation-wide company and expected them to have my back when a natural disaster struck. Unfortunately I was mistaken. Country Financial ripped me off, lost a customer of 19 years, and burned every bridge with me and anyone who will listen to my story.