The Good, The Bad & the Ugly: State Farm, A Crash & The Black Hole Known as DJI Service

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I became a proud owner of a Phantom 4 Pro in late December. In early January I bought a State Farm Policy for $60. Between December and early May I flew 550 successful flights. And then, two weeks ago, in a flyover of my sailboat anchored in a small bay, I clipped the rigging and it went straight to the bottom in 15 feet of fairly cloudy, 48 degree (F) water. Recovery was impossible.

I filed a claim with State Farm and the representative told me to first file a warranty claim with DJI, which I did. That's when I got sucked into The Black Hole. Among other things, they have asked 4 times for the flight records, craft details, receipt, and flight record. 4 times I started over!

Then, yesterday, I got a letter from State Farm saying that I had apparently dropped my claim and they were closing it. I immediately called them and told my story to the representative. Within 10 minutes the representative had approved my claim and authorized payment for the cost + sales tax for a new P4P.

So today I am happy man. I am a retired teacher and haven't missed having to put grades on things, but here are my final grades for the parties in this saga: State Farm - A- (only because of the inadvertent belief that I had dropped the claim); The Pilot - F (but I'm failing forward); DJI - F. The P4P gets an A+++. It is an amazing machine.
 
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It's not clear to me what you blame DJI for here. You flew your aircraft into rigging. How could that possibly be a warranty issue?
I'm not blaming DJI for my crash nor was I expecting a successful warranty claim from them. Perhaps my post makes that unclear? It was State Farm that asked me to file the claim with DJI even though I told State Farm that there was no evidence whatsoever of a faulty craft.

What I am unsatisfied with DJI about is that after 8 days and 4 attempts, they still haven't done their flight analysis because they seem to keep losing or ignoring the information they are repeatedly asking me for. In fact the 3rd time I submitted my information I said that what they were doing was a formality for the insurance company and that they should expect to find that the crash was due purely and simply to pilot error and could they get a report in writing to me saying that? After that, though, they asked me for my information all over (for the 4th time).

Maybe my experience with DJI service is unique and I'm being unkind in giving them an F?
 
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I should have said that the reason I am posting my experience here is to tell people that State Farm covered the claim on the policy but before doing that they asked me to confirm through DJI that their warranty will or won't cover the crash. That is certainly fair. I learned much from this episode but frankly I am still scratching my head over how I could have approached DJI Service differently. Maybe I should have tried calling them instead of using their online claim process?
 

sar104

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I'm not blaming DJI for my crash nor was I expecting a successful warranty claim from them. Perhaps my post makes that unclear? It was State Farm that asked me to file the claim with DJI even though I told State Farm that there was no evidence whatsoever of a faulty craft.

What I am unsatisfied with DJI about is that after 8 days and 4 attempts, they still haven't done their flight analysis because they seem to keep losing or ignoring the information they are repeatedly asking me for. In fact the 3rd time I submitted my information I said that what they were doing was a formality for the insurance company and that they should expect to find that the crash was due purely and simply to pilot error and could they get a report in writing to me saying that? After that, though, they asked me for my information all over (for the 4th time).

Maybe my experience with DJI service is unique and I'm being unkind in giving them an F?
DJI customer service is certainly a bit variable, but I'm not sure it was reasonable for you to expect them, promptly and at no charge, to do a forensic analysis of your flight records for a non-warranty claim. You could have done that analysis yourself.
 
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DJI customer service is certainly a bit variable, but I'm not sure it was reasonable for you to expect them, promptly and at no charge, to do a forensic analysis of your flight records for a non-warranty claim. You could have done that analysis yourself.
I did the analysis myself. No hardware malfunction. I even had a video of my AC flying in good weather towards my boat and then clipping the rigging. State Farm saw that and I provided it to DJI as well.

Simply (and finally) put, State Farm wanted an official statement from DJI saying that it wasn't covered by warranty before they would process my claim. I'll have to admit that I'm a bit of a neophyte in all of this. Can I pay DJI to see if their warranty will cover a crash as requested by an insurance company? Frankly, since I made it clear to DJI from the beginning what I was doing, I would think they would have told me that they don't do a flight analysis for things like this. That would have saved me a lot of time and frustration.
 
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sar104

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I did the analysis myself. No hardware malfunction. I even had a video of my AC flying in good weather towards my boat and then clipping the rigging. State Farm saw that and I provided it to DJI as well.

Simply (and finally) put, State Farm wanted an official statement from DJI saying that it wasn't covered by warranty before they would process my claim. I'll have to admit that I'm a bit of a neophyte in all of this. Can I pay DJI to see if their warranty will cover a crash as requested by an insurance company? Frankly, since I made it clear to DJI from the beginning what I was doing, I would think they would have told me that they don't do a flight analysis for things like this. That would have saved me a lot of time and frustration.
If there is one thing that DJI is not good at (maybe even worth an F) it is avoiding frustration. They were founded by an engineer who cares little about anything other than the latest technology, and it shows in the company attitude.

Personally I think it is completely unreasonable of State Farm to require anything of the kind from DJI.
 
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Personally I think it is completely unreasonable of State Farm to require anything of the kind from DJI.
While it may be unreasonable, it is fairly standard practice for an insurance company to want to know who is at fault before paying a claim.

In all of this, I certainly can't fault State Farm. I bought a $60 policy, made a mistake and will be receiving a check for close to $1600. Frankly, I wonder if this is a sustainable model for State Farm? They made me jump through 1 hoop. DJI, on the other hand . . . . And since you seem to be defending DJI's service, I apologize if I'm stepping on your toes a bit. I'm not wanting an argument with anyone; I'm simply trying to inform others who have or may buy State Farm Insurance.
 
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sar104

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While it may be unreasonable, it is fairly standard practice for an insurance company to want to know who is at fault before paying a claim.

In all of this, I certainly can't fault State Farm. I bought a $60 policy, made a mistake and will be receiving a check for close to $1600. Frankly, I wonder if this is a sustainable model for State Farm? They made me jump through 1 hoop. DJI, on the other hand . . . . And since you seem to be defending DJI's service, I apologize if I'm stepping on your toes a bit. I'm not wanting an argument with anyone; I'm simply trying to inform others who have or may buy State Farm Insurance.
No apology needed - I wasn't really defending DJI except to note that you were expecting something from them that they are under no obligation to offer. I do fault State Farm for expecting DJI to analyze your flight logs, however. They should accept your analysis, analyze the logs themselves, or pay someone to do it.

Whether it is sustainable is hard to say - time will tell as they see what the payout looks like. It is very cheap compared to commercial insurance, which currently runs at around $800 per year.
 
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Well I for one who also has State Farm insurance I'm glad to hear they covered the claim. Thank you may be the first to post that the insurance was worth it.
 
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Sar104, what kind of policy did you get through State Farm. I also have them as my insurance company but I talked to my insurance guy and he has told me he has not heard anything about drone coverage. Did you get some type of separate coverage or what because he is going to call his underwriter people and see if there is something in there as far as drone coverage.
 
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Sar104, what kind of policy did you get through State Farm. I also have them as my insurance company but I talked to my insurance guy and he has told me he has not heard anything about drone coverage. Did you get some type of separate coverage or what because he is going to call his underwriter people and see if there is something in there as far as drone coverage.
It wasn't Sar104 who had the insurance, it was me. I don't have a regular policy with State Farm - just the drone insurance. When I walked into the State Farm office in January, they hadn't heard that they cover drones either and so they had to call someone to find out what was needed.

It turns out that the drone insurance is a personal property policy - the same kind of policy you might get for camera or other valuable equipment. The drone policy is not for professional use - recreational only. And it carries no liability insurance. But right now it does cover loss of any kind with zero deductible. $60 per year. I've read that they do check your insurance history (excessive claims) etc. This is the first property claim I've made of any kind in over 30 years. If I had all of the insurance premiums I've paid for homeowners, etc. I'd be a very rich man. But I guess that's how companies like State Farm can cover $1600 claims like mine for a $60 premium.
 
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My apologies sshephard. My agent said something about a personal property policy so maybe that's what I should look into thanks for setting the record straight. Happy flying.
 
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I know it's been two weeks, so this thread is a bit 'stale', but:

My apologies sshephard. My agent said something about a personal property policy so maybe that's what I should look into thanks for setting the record straight. Happy flying.
My advice: If the first one (or two) SF agents say 'no', call another one (or two, or three if necessary).

My local agent said "We've had some requests for that already, I've called my underwriter and they said 'no', so we can't."

Agent in the next town over said similar.

The third agent said he'd never heard of it, but would find out. Several phone calls and emails later (that same day) he called and said "Let's do it!" That fella worked his butt off for that $60!... he's been a SF agent for >30 years, and still hungry. -- so I asked him to give me a quote on Homeowners'... and if he's close to competitive on Auto, I'll move that over to him too.

This all happened yesterday -- and as of this morning, my P3S is insured.

Now I can run my first Litchi mission with a little more peace of mind. I'm new to quads, and even newer to Litchi, and have only used it for manual flights so far...but been on the Mission Hub making plans for ~a week.

IOW, I'm itchy to use Litchi. :)
 
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I had a pleasant experience at state farm a couple of days ago getting a personal articles policy on my p4. Its the only policy I have with sf but I will be switching my auto and motorcycle coverages as long as they are remotely comparable to GEICO. Just the fact that they worked their buts off for a $10 commission. I like having an agent. I like how easy it was to get the p4 covered. It is by far the absolute best thing out they're for drone coverage. No matter what happens its covered. Theft, fire, stupidity, whatever, it covered. I don't have to have the carcass to show and I don't get a refurb unit in a month or so if I can find my crashed p4 as per dji's refresh requirement and no deductible. Refresh is what, $235 or something? For $60 I get way better coverage and in a fraction of the time. I don't need flight loggs either.
 
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I had a pleasant experience at state farm a couple of days ago getting a personal articles policy on my p4. Its the only policy I have with sf but I will be switching my auto and motorcycle coverages as long as they are remotely comparable to GEICO. Just the fact that they worked their buts off for a $10 commission. I like having an agent. I like how easy it was to get the p4 covered. It is by far the absolute best thing out they're for drone coverage. No matter what happens its covered. Theft, fire, stupidity, whatever, it covered. I don't have to have the carcass to show and I don't get a refurb unit in a month or so if I can find my crashed p4 as per dji's refresh requirement and no deductible. Refresh is what, $235 or something? For $60 I get way better coverage and in a fraction of the time. I don't need flight loggs either.
I actually just switched from SF to Geico a couple of weeks ago. My auto policy with SF was literally twice what Geico quoted me for the exact same coverage, and homeowners was almost exactly the same. I have no idea why I never checked other companies in the past, but that's a TON of wasted money on my part. I'm an idiot. ymmv
 
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I actually just switched from SF to Geico a couple of weeks ago. My auto policy with SF was literally twice what Geico quoted me for the exact same coverage, and homeowners was almost exactly the same. I have no idea why I never checked other companies in the past, but that's a TON of wasted money on my part. I'm an idiot. ymmv
I was afraid of that! My motorcycle liability policy is $73 a year. I figured that would be hard to beat. One payment and I'm done for the year. I'll at least see what sf is offering. I have no tickets and Im a teetotaler so no dui's or anything like that. At my age (41) insurance sure gets cheaper. Its worth shopping around a little.
 

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