BrianM (Jolly Mean Giant) View all posts in this topic  
Tue May 28, 2013 8:57 am
First off, you don't *HAVE* to accept the insurance offer as they present it        

What I mean is that it's a negotiation and YOU are in charge here. The end result can be neatly summed up by the statement "Make it right". Meaning that you need to be offered compensation to either put your bike back to the condition it was in or put you on a replacement in substantially similar condition (meaning all taxes/DMV fees too). Same goes for anything that was damaged, your gear and stuff you had with you. And that's completely ignoring all the Medical (which should be all expenses you've incurred plus a good bit for pain and suffering).

Now, you're going to have to fight for all of this. It's a PITA and if you have full-coverage insurance it will be FAR easier on you, not to mention faster, to just make the claim through your own insurance company and let them go after compensation. I'm sure there's one or two examples out there where dealing with your own insurance company ISN'T the best idea, but those are by far the exception. I'll go ahead and assume you're like most kids and only bought the bare minimum insurance, in which case you do the "fighting" with paperwork. First, start finding ads (Craigslist, eBay ~ especially old auctions, local) for bikes that are Substantially similar that are for sale/sold. I like to stick with a 10-year window (5 on either side), within about 10k miles (again, 5 on either side) and within 2 hours drive as my "core" for pricing. Start going outside of either of those and you'll have to make adjustments to the valuation to compensate. Now, there aren't a lot of bikes that'll be exact matches, so just grab all of them that are even close, save to PDF or print and make physical notes on price adjustments with your reason why. This is all in anticipation that the insurance company will total the bike (if there are scratches on the engine, swingarm, or most of the bodywork is broken, it'll be totaled). If it *IS* totaled, you may be tempted to buy it back, but I'll warn you against that. You don't have the knowledge or skills to properly asses the bike to know that important bits aren't tweaked/a major safety issue. You may even live in a state where "salvage" titles aren't legal for re-registration, perhaps it takes a cumbersome paperwork process. If that title stays labeled as salvage or rebuilt, the vehicle is only worth 1/2~1/3rd what others are when it comes time to sell, Plus you'll have a Drastically reduced pool of potential buyers (all meaning it'll take way longer to sell).

For your gear/stuff, start collecting receipts for their purchase (or credit card statements, any proof of purchase). You need proof of price paid and when it was paid. Pretty much anything within 1-year old should be replaced outright, and they'll only offer partial payment for things older than that.

Now, every time you deal with the insurance company/their agents, take detailed notes. Day, time, person, any promises or timelines made, a brief synopsis of what was said. This is important if they start dragging heels or changing things up. It's ammunition for moving up the chain of command within the company, and for going Outside the company should they try to really screw you over. You see, you have an advocate, every state has a State Insurance Commissioner ~ they regulate the insurance companies within your state and can REALLY get things moving in dire circumstances. But that's a last line of defense.

There's a reason insurance agents still exist and everything isn't online-only. They are your front-line when it comes to things like this (it gets more important when you have something substantial insured, like a house). Besides often being able to offer cheaper coverage, that person would be an EXCELLENT source of information at this point in time. Someone who knows the industry, goes through what you're dealing with on a frequent basis, may even have contacts within the other insurance company who can cut through a lot of the BS. Can't tell you how nice it is to have a person to deal with, face to face, who you can track down thanks to office hours, when things get frustrating.

Good luck,

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