Insurance Company Tells Woman Her Dog is ‘Totaled’

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.
Sasha recovers.

A Denver woman says she was shocked when an insurance claims rep offered to total her dog after it was hit by a van. While the term ‘totaled’ is typical industry speak, it’s a term usually reserved for objects – and not accident victims.

Marcia Pinkstaff and her dog were in a crosswalk in Parker when a minivan made a left turn, striking Sasha, a 9-year-old Lab mix. “She didn’t see us and she hit Sasha very, very hard,” Pinkstaff told “Sasha has tears in her lungs, a tear in her diaphragm and liver damage.”

Alluding to the fact that the cost of repairs would exceed the cost of replacement, Farmer’s insurance (the driver’s insurer) said it would cover a couple of trips to the vet, but that was it: the dog wasn’t worth additional work. “I was horrified,” Pinkstaff said. “They said they were totaling out my dog. It broke my heart because she is like a child to me.”

A spokesman for Farmers’ has since apologized for the unfortunate choice of words. “I’m very sorry about the circumstances,” said Farmers’ Vice President of Media, Jerry Davies. “I have a dog, too.” Farmers has assured Pinkstaff that they’ll work with her to cover future vet expenses for Sasha.

Pinkstaff says she’ll take them up on that offer. “She has to have more blood tests and more x-rays,” Pinkstaff said. “The vet will determine whether her injuries are healing or if she needs surgery. I would like to see the driver’s insurance company take care of the bills,” she said. “And if the insurance won’t, I would like the driver to take care of it.”

5 thoughts on “Insurance Company Tells Woman Her Dog is ‘Totaled’”

  1. They are Farmers…dumb da-dumb da da da-dumb! It breaks my heart to hear stories like this where these beautiful babies are treated as “things” you can just go to Walmart and replace when they break. A dog’s love is one of the purest love I’ve ever felt in my life, and it’s a shame for those who have clearly never experienced it.

  2. HERE is what I would say to that Insurance Agent – “WHAT?!?! Wait till You get hit by a car and I’m YOUR Insurance agent.” ? ? ?

  3. People need to remember one important thing about insurance companies: they are NOT your friends. You’ve all heard of adjusters – “adjusting” the claim is what they do. The insurance companies sign their paychecks. Their job performance reviews are solely based on how much money they save the insurance company by “adjusting” claims in favor of the insurance companies. One thing about Famers agents – they are required to almost “pre-adjust” who they sell policies to because the agents themselves have to rebate percentages of premiums back to the underwriter when there is a claim. So this dog mom might have had her chain yanked by the Farmers agent or by the Farmers adjuster, either way, it is not only unfair and unethical (the word ethical seldom modifies the phrase “insurance company” by the way) but probably actionable. “Totaling” is what happens when the repair job exceeds whatever the insurance company says is the value of the item including a life.

    I have worked in insurance litigation for 40 years and my mother was a Farmers agent. I don’t care how many touchy-feely-warm-n-fuzzy ads you see on television from cave men, ducks, geckos, tragically-sincere Hollywood types or even the comical fifties-waitress-style lady with the bumped-hair. Those ads are to deflect people from realizing that insurance is nothing but legalized gambling where the house always wins and conflicts of interest abound in the sleaziest manner possible.


Leave a Comment