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Negotiating with Insurance Company

Old 03-26-13, 05:02 PM
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Negotiating with Insurance Company

I was recently involved in a bicycle / automobile accident where the bike shop declared my carbon/steel framed bike "totaled". Now I'm negotiating (that's a nice way to say it) with the automobile driver's insurance company on the value of my bike. Any ideas on how to value the bike? It is a 2004 Lemond Zurich that was purchased new in 2004; to complicate matters, the bike is no longer made. Thanks for your appraisal and/or suggestions.
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Old 03-26-13, 05:14 PM
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You might need a bike shop appraisal - but I'd do the value of a similar replacement - something like a Gunnar with Ultegra. 2500ish i believe. It's expensive to get a high quality steel bike.
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Old 03-26-13, 05:57 PM
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No experience with bike/auto collisions that resulted in the bike being totaled, but have been in one single car collision and one auto/auto that resulted in my vehicles being totaled. My experience was that the insurance company will low ball you- they are essentially buying your ride in its post-collision state... scrap value.

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Old 03-26-13, 07:56 PM
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The advice I've seen here in the past was to get a bike shop or two to write up an estimate of the cost to repair or replace the damaged bike.
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Old 03-26-13, 08:33 PM
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1. Educate yourself on values. Research the same bike or as close to it as possible. The adjuster assigned most likely will not understand what your bike was so you may have to educate him/her. Ask if they are familiar with bikes. If they are not, ask if they have someone who is.

2. If you disagree that it should not be a total, you will have to have repair estimates. Different states allow property to be declared a total loss at different levels. Some are as low as 70% of the value, some are higher. Ask the adjuster what the state says.

3. Loss of use of your bike is a component of the value. Some states allow loss of use on totals, some do not. I live in Texas, loss of use is not owed on totals in Texas. It is also part of the value of the damages that can make it a total. What does it cost to rent a similar bike in your area? Something else to educate yourself and your adjuster on.

4. You love your bike or at least really like it. For the adjuster, it is a business transaction, a negotiation. Have a value in mind. If the adjuster offers more, accept it and walk away. If they offer less, be prepared with a counter and be able to support the cash value of it.

5. Once they pay for it, they own it. Sometimes, they don't know what to do with it after they pay for it. You can negotiate an amount that lets you keep the "salvage".

6. You did not say if you got hurt or not. If you did, they cannot lump the property damage claim in with the injury claim to force you to settle both.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-27-13, 05:00 AM
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If the bike is truly totaled, get a price for the current equivalent replacement. If they balk, suggest that you are retaining an attorney to handle the ENTIRE claim, then do so if necessary.

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Old 03-27-13, 06:47 AM
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I used to work in bicycle insurance valuation.
Look for a brand of similar prestige
Look for a similar frame material (Reynolds 853)
Make sure that ALL the major components match for grade (Ultegra)
Include all accessories and damaged equipment, and upgrades you have made.
Jamis Eclipse is probably the closest. The steel/carbon mix is really not made any more except by a few custom builders.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
If the bike is truly totaled, get a price for the current equivalent replacement. If they balk, suggest that you are retaining an attorney to handle the ENTIRE claim, then do so if necessary.
A bike is worth the original purchase price to the original owner for as long as they choose to keep it. Of course it is not worth that should they want to sell it but for them, other than perhaps the value of tires/tubes and similar wear items, it's worth full value every time it is ridden. The insurance company should pay a fair full replacement value for the bike. If not, the mention of a lawyer to get a fair settlement plus legal expenses may encourage them to go with the fair settlement.

You might want to get an estimate on 2 or 3 new bikes that are appropriate replacements that you'd be satisfied with and offer the list to the insurer saying they can choose which one and you'll take 90% of the purchase price. A new bike for only 10% of the purchase price seems fair and makes up for the wear on tires/tubes, brakes, chain etc. on your old bike.

Good luck with it.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by LDB
The insurance company should pay a fair full replacement value for the bike.
Agreed. And, read the above statment very carefully. "Replacement value" is just that. What would it cost to replace a 9 year old, used bicycle.

In general, claimants get confused with insurance claim settlements on goods can depreciate. The driver's insurance company does not owe you a 2013 bicycle. They owe you the current value of a 2004 make/model of what was totalled, not even what it costs new.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:07 AM
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Before making the lawyer threat, ask to talk to the adjusters supervisor, and let them know you are trying to make a deal before going that route.
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Old 03-27-13, 01:15 PM
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It's not worth involving lawyers unless there is an injury.
Have you checked around for a used one and found one? If so, that is a starting point as to it's present value. They may even buy the used one you or the adjuster found just to settle the claim.
Remember, the burden of proof is on you.
LKQ-- Like kind and quality-- Prior posters are correct. If there is no "benchmark" than we must look at something of equal like kind and quality to get a ballpark value whether new, subject to depreciation, or the actual used price.
After a value is established and all liability issues ironed out they will make an offer. If you are in a comparative negligence state and you are found partially to blame they may deduct a percentage of the payment.
Any adjuster with a big case load wants to get rid of the nickel and dimers asap.
They can be flexible with a case like yours to a point because again, no benchmark but they have bosses who review files and have to justify their actions.
Under certain cicumstances they may let you keep the bike because it is more trouble than it's worth to get bids on it for salvage.
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Old 03-27-13, 01:29 PM
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I was hit in the bike lane by an (your in good hands) insured motorist and it cracked my Raleigh frame but also damaged the components. I also had a police report that made it dang near impossible for the driver to say it wasn't their fault, in part because I was in a bike lane. I gave the insurance company documentation showing the price of a brand new Raleigh, pointed out that mine was 25 years old and couldn't be easily replaced. I gave a detailed list of components and showed receipts for upgrades I added and then showed a few active listings on eBay for 25 year old steel bikes that, according to me, were the equivalent as well as the components priced higher than what I had paid. I made a point to tell them that I was only interested in replacing damaged property and would not raise the issue of injuries, they sent me a check without any problem or hesitation.

I did call around to lawyers, none of them were really interested in my case. I was injured but not to the extent that I felt it was worth hassling with a lawyer, I only wanted to have my bike replaced. No lawyer I found was interested in that, they were all looking for large cash settlements, as in 5+ digits. I ended up coming out a little bit ahead.

Lawyers speak hassle. It's usually choose 'this' or 'that', but clearly 'this' is a better choice for you because it will be faster and easier. I did my best to speak to them in their own language and in my case it worked well.

Good luck to you, I wish you well.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:27 PM
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You're not entitled to the cost of a new replacement- just as if you were driving a 1987 car, you would not be entitled to the value of a new 2013 if someone totalled it. You're entitled to the market value of the bike you lost, or it's repair cost. Market value can sometimes be proven by what similar bikes have actually sold for on Ebay. And of course you are entitled to reimbursement of all other expenses/losses associated with the accident.

I was in one [car] accident in my life. I wasn't hurt (even though my head went through the side window- us Eye-talians have hard heads!]- all IO wanted was fair value for my totalled truck. Insurance co. made a RIDICULOUS and insulting offer and nothing more. I suddenly found myself going to a doctor. I never lied or said anything that wasn't true; never faked anything/ never insinuated anything...just went to the doctor, and let him do his thing and state his findings. I ended up with several times the valuer of my truck, after the lawyer's cut and doctors bills...... Sometimes you have to play hardball with these creeps if they refuse to be fair and accept their responsibilities. Had they merely given me the fair market value of my truck, I would have gone away and they would have saved a lot of money.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:59 PM
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Wtf. So I pay $3000 for my steed in 2013...and in 2019 I get creamed by some punk driver...and they cut me a $500 check because that is all my steed is worth? They need to replace full value IMO for all bicycles under $8k.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
Wtf. So I pay $3000 for my steed in 2013...and in 2019 I get creamed by some punk driver...and they cut me a $500 check because that is all my steed is worth? They need to replace full value IMO for all bicycles under $8k.
Why do insurance companies "need" to do that? Because you say so? What is so special about the $8k price?
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Old 03-27-13, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
Wtf. So I pay $3000 for my steed in 2013...and in 2019 I get creamed by some punk driver...and they cut me a $500 check because that is all my steed is worth? They need to replace full value IMO for all bicycles under $8k.
So if you cream my '02 truck today, you have to buy me a brand new one?

When it comes to liability (and it matters not whether an insurance company is paying, or the person responsible) you are only responsible for the market value of what you damage/destroy. There has been enough legal precedent over the past 100 years to easily prove that.

Fair? Doesn't seem so when it's your stuff that's destroyed.....but seems reasonable if your destroyer, doesn't it?

The one exception: If it is a rare item, the liable party/ins. co. can be responsible for the full cost of repair...even if that repair is very expensive- that is usually the best way to fight for a claim- not buy proving what something cost new; not by proving what something is worth today...but by getting estimates of what it would cost to fix it. Then it is often possible to settle for the cost of a modern new replacement- which is why sometimes, on lower value items, like bikes, insurance companies will pay for a new replacement.
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Old 03-28-13, 08:29 AM
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Spring of last year my bike (2009 Lemond Zurich) got totaled by an at fault driver. The adjuster was a bit out of his element with a bike appraisal. At first he was going to use a standard depreciation formula. I forget what it is exactly but it went something like 15% off each year (so 15% off the new price for the first year, then 15% of that price for the next year etc.). However, I think they reviewed the situation and came at a price that I considered very fair. I also think it helped that I wasn’t a dick to the appraiser and provided him with as much information as I had. Like original receipt, model comparisons from Craigslist and Ebay, etc. I also gave the value of every bit of damaged items that weren’t part of the bike this included my helmet, torn jersey and lights. Even my wheels and tires were upgrades so I let them know what they were worth. At least with this insurance company, their settlement was actually a purchase of the bike, so don’t be surprised if they take it away.
I also had a 2004 Lemond Zurich…great bike, I’m sorry for your loss.
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Old 03-28-13, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bikecrate
Spring of last year my bike (2009 Lemond Zurich) got totaled by an at fault driver. The adjuster was a bit out of his element with a bike appraisal. At first he was going to use a standard depreciation formula. I forget what it is exactly but it went something like 15% off each year (so 15% off the new price for the first year, then 15% of that price for the next year etc.). However, I think they reviewed the situation and came at a price that I considered very fair. I also think it helped that I wasn’t a dick to the appraiser and provided him with as much information as I had. Like original receipt, model comparisons from Craigslist and Ebay, etc. I also gave the value of every bit of damaged items that weren’t part of the bike this included my helmet, torn jersey and lights. Even my wheels and tires were upgrades so I let them know what they were worth. At least with this insurance company, their settlement was actually a purchase of the bike, so don’t be surprised if they take it away.
I also had a 2004 Lemond Zurich…great bike, I’m sorry for your loss.
It's nice when both sides can be fair and reasonable and honest...and arrive at a fair settlement that makes everyone happy. Unfortunately, it's also rare......
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Old 03-28-13, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MetalPedaler
It's nice when both sides can be fair and reasonable and honest...and arrive at a fair settlement that makes everyone happy. Unfortunately, it's also rare......
To be honest it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The lady who hit me insurance co. has a reputation for not being very helpful. She also decided to lie and tell her insurance I actually hit her! I have to thank BF since reading several “I got hit” stories I knew to take pictures, get witness names/numbers at the scene and a copy of the police report. Armed with these there was really no way to dispute what happened.
When the adjuster came to my house to look over the bike he seemed truly shocked when he saw the cracked in half bike, tacoed wheels, split open helmet and bloody jersey. Although I wasn’t serious hurt, I think he knew from an insurance standpoint they might have been on the hook for a lot more. We talked for awhile and he mentioned he knew some cyclist too, which probably helped. Anyways, he called back a day later and said normally they would have given out X amount of dollars, but he talked his boss into upping it by another $500. Might have been a BS tactic to make me think I was getting a better deal, but it was a fair settlement that didn't involve any bickering.
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