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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several weeks ago a car backed into me on my bike while we were stopped at a traffic light. The bike fell over on its right side, causing minor damages. Also, my helmet, jacket, and boots sustained minor damages from me falling to the ground. I got checked out by a doctor that day for some mild pain; there were no significant injuries and no follow-up therapy required.

I contacted 2 law firms that specialize in motorcycle accidents. Once I shared that my injuries did not require any additional care, they both declined to represent me (not enough money to be made).

So I began the claim process myself. I have been in contact with the insurer, who has been relatively responsive and OK to work with. At their request I submitted a list of damages and costs associated with repair/replacement, medical costs, and lost income. My total came to around $4000.

The insurer replied with a request for information on the age of some of the items, which I sent.

Today I received their payout offer...around $2700.

For items they were not offering to cover at 100%, they provided their reasons. For example, my Shoei Neotec 2 helmet struck the pavement, causing scrapes to the face shield and outer shell. Their note indicated, "Item still in relatively good condition based on photo." There were similar notes for my rashed Klim jacket and rashed/mildly torn Aerostich pants. For my heated grips, which stopped working after the accident, they said, "Only one damaged, thus only owe for 1".

I am not in agreement with their assessment of most of these reductions. The helmet, for instance -- I can provide a lot of supporting documentation that indicates that, once a helmet sustains any damage in a drop/fall, it should be replaced. And the heated grips -- I can't just buy one, they're both part of one system.

I've never gone through this process before and had to negotiate with an insurance company. Does anyone have any advice on next steps? I want to be reasonable (like, I can accept they're not going to buy me a new Klim jacket because of some scuffing on the elbows). But I also want fair compensation for damages that I had no responsibility in causing.
 

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Do you carry full coverage? If so deal with your insurance and let them subrogate the claim.
 

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Never accept the first offer. You've got a strong counterargument to each one of their responses, so you'll probably be successful - you just need to be relentless. Adjusters assess accidents with dollar figures 10-50x yours, this is small potatoes by comparison and they'll want it off their plate fast.

I got rear-ended by a taxi once. Their insurance was actually in the process of folding and going into receivership, so it took a lot of follow-up to get the claim paid. It was about two years before I got a check.

Most important thing is that you're okay.
 

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I was in an accident recently. Didn't have any of this shit. Here a damaged helmet is a write off.

Insist the insurance company PROVE the helmet is not damaged, which can be done - with a very comprehensive and expensive ultrasound check, oh and you still need a helmet while yours is away. More expensive than a new helmet.

Grips is reasonable IF and ONLY IF you can buy individual heated grips.

One of the reasons I didn't have grief is that I used the insurance companies preferred repairer rather than doing it myself - they did the assessment and just replaced the damaged items.

I suspect insurance companies here are more reasonable.
 

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Is this your insurance company, or the other party's insurance company? Yours is slightly more likely to pay you without you having to remind them 82 times.

Insurance and insurance laws vary dramatically from one place to another. Even if it is "your" insurance company, they are not your friend.

Just assume they are trying to make it difficult and complicated for you to get the full and proper amount of compensation. If it goes better than expected, then count your blessings.
 

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Is this your insurance company, or the other party's insurance company? Yours is slightly more likely to pay you without you having to remind them 82 times.

Insurance and insurance laws vary dramatically from one place to another. Even if it is "your" insurance company, they are not your friend.

Just assume they are trying to make it difficult and complicated for you to get the full and proper amount of compensation. If it goes better than expected, then count your blessings.
My only 2 experiences with my insurance company ( 1 car and a roof claim) were that they wrote out checks that were for far more than I ever thought they should pay ;) So it may be who you are insured with.
 
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Sorry, I cannot really give any negotiating advice. My insurance company which is Progressive, gave me full value for the helmet, saddle bags, & jacket no questions asked. These items all cost more than they did when I bought them and Progressive gave me the current value. The dude even asked me if I needed my boots replaced. My 2019 HD Low Rider which was totaled was a couple thousand dollars less than what I saw on Cycle Trader but I was pretty content with the money I got.

After this ordeal, I recommend the OP find another insurance company...or is this the other driver's insurance company that's being dealt with?
 

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Email the helmet manufacture and ask if the helmet is okay to Use. They are the experts.
Get a quote from a dealership on what they would charge to replace the grip and any other repairs.
Get a quote form a seamstress shop of repair costs.

Send that to the adjuster and see what happens.

I had a very large claim 20 years ago on a thrift, they offered 1/2 of what they finally paid but it took several weeks. If you can afford to be patient you will end up being made whole.
At least I hope so.
 

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Forget about lost income, rarely is that paid. A dealership can provide documentation about the grips only coming in pairs. If they are aftermarket and you installed them yourself, produce the receipt. Clothing is different. To be replaced, you will probably need to prove the damage was a direct result of the accident. Good luck with that. My last claim as north of 200k. Can't count the hours I spent on the phone.
 

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Just came here to say [any] insurance is a scam. Think about that for a moment - the party that has to pay you, decides how much to pay you. Absolute non sense.

I dream the day I am rich enough, to afford not paying a penny for insurance of any kind. No insurance should be for profit, if it is to be fair.

P.S. frustrated human who has dealt too much with non humane insurances.
 

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I assume you are dealing with the other person's insurance company.

There are two parts to your claim: personal injury and property damage.

In any settlement you reach with the insurance company, it is going to want a release. For the personal injury part, the release will probably include all present and future injury arising from the accident. If you are confident that your injuries are minor and unlikely to include future injury, then settle for the medical expenses and lost wages that you have incurred. If you're not sure whether you will experience future injury arising from the accident, then tell the insurance company that you are only settling the property damage part of your claim and that you will get back to them for the medical expenses/lost wages part when you are confident that your medical situation is stable. In that latter case, make sure that you get back to them well within the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in your state because they won't pay you after the statute has expired.

As for property damages, your reasons for them paying full cost of the helmet and heated grips sound reasonable to me so I would insist on them paying for that. Also, remember that if you have to take your bike to a shop for repairs, you are also entitled to "loss of use" for the time that your bike is in the shop. Loss of use is typically measured by the reasonable rental value of your bike. So if your bike is in the shop for a week, then you are entitled to the reasonable cost to rent a replacement bike for the week. And remember, that you do NOT have to actually rent a replacement bike to get loss of use. The reasonable rental cost is the MEASURE of your damages, NOT a prerequisite to recover those damages. You are entitled to those damages whether you rent a replacement or not.

Read any release documents carefully and make changes if it's not right.

If the insurer won't budge, your options are either settle on their terms or sue their insured. It doesn't sound like you have a huge claim, so you may be able to sue in Small Claims court. Insurance companies don't like it when you sue their insureds, especially if your claim is reasonable and within policy limits. In a case where I got rear-ended, the insurer tried to nickel and dime me on loss of use. It took a while for the shop to get parts; the insurer wanted to pay me for a week and I insisted on payment for the entire time the bike was in the shop. They said that they'll just send me a check for what they'll pay. I said I'll send it back and sue their insured. They paid me what I wanted.

As in all things, your results may vary. But if you're reasonable and can document your claim, then you should advocate for what you are entitled to.

Good luck.
 

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I deal with insurance companies almost everyday and find that 95% of them are extremely fair in making things right again. The big thing to remember when shopping for insurance is that you need to actually look at and understand the policy before you commit. Sure the annual or monthly premium should be a consideration but you will find that when you buy cheap insurance, as soon as something happens and you need to use the insurance, you will quickly find out why it was the cheapest and be out more money than just a deductible. Cash value vs replacement cost for instance. Ask some questions and do some research first. My riding buddy just started his claim process 2 days ago since a truck pulled out in front of him. Waiting to see how it goes for him. If you have issues with the insurance company, go to your local agent. They're your first line of defense and can get things done since they have to deal with you face to face. As a last resort, mention your states insurance commission, that gets their attention. Last resort would be litigation. As soon as you mention lawyer to them they will probably shut down and no longer talk to you, and will only talk through your lawyer.
 

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I've been in this position twice (unfortunately) dealing with the at-fault party's insurance. Once with serious injury, once with no injury.

In both cases, all the gear I was wearing (boots, pants, jacket, gloves, helmet) was automatically considered damaged and I received replacement value. I did have to provide receipts or at least links or printouts to replacement costs. IIRC, I received a pro-rated amount for some of it. The overall amounts were fair.

We don't know what bike you have, but as far as damage to the bike, I received fair offers totalling the bikes. It doesn't take much to total a bike that's more than a year or two old. In both cases, I chose to keep the bike, so I received a check for the offer (which was fair) minus salvage value.

It sounds like there's an issue with the damage claim as well, so make sure your bike is evaluated by a motorcycle shop, not an adjuster who only has experience with Chevys and Fords.

In my first case, I knew I would come out ahead by harvesting the upgraded parts I wanted for the next bike and selling off the rest. In the second case, the damage was 90% cosmetic (I actually rode the bike home without issues), and I was back in business mechanically with new handlebars and a fresh brake lever. Since the bike was more than seven years old at the time, I didn't have to change the title to salvage in Indiana (but of course YMMV... do your local research!)

In both cases, the adjusters involved simply had little or no experience with motorcycle claims. One said his office had never handled a motorcycle accident where the rider was wearing gear or a helmet, so he had to check up the chain to find out how to handle a rider claim that included more than a black t-shirt and jeans.

Another said he'd never even heard of a motorcycle accident that didn't involve serious injury or a closed casket funeral (no helmet laws in Indiana). I had to educate him about how armored gear and helmets work by essentially sacrificing themselves, so they must be replaced after doing their job even if they look OK. Again, he did some checking and found the correct policy to apply.

They also expressed some surprise at what safety gear costs; they often don't understand at first that it's not just clothing and a fancy hard hat.

So yeah, saying "eh, that helmet doesn't look that bad" betrays complete ignorance, but not necessarily a desire to lowball you over a measly couple hundred bucks (it costs them time and money to let claims sit in limbo; they're usually very interested in getting it all over with quickly).

Don't accept the lowball, but you might find it more productive to approach it from the angle that the adjuster just doesn't know, and is treating it like a strictly cosmetic claim for a scuffed purse or a damaged clothing item.



And yes, it's correct that getting a lawyer involved will usually be counterproductive and costly unless there's serious injury. In my serious injury case, the at-fault moron had the state minimum coverage, so her company didn't argue too much about sending a check for the maximum of that part of the policy. My lawyer took her 1/3, but warned me to put a chunk of my portion into savings. (The driver literally didn't own a pot to piss in, so that was all we could hope for.)

Sure enough, a few months later, my health insurance company sent a very nasty letter demanding the whole settlement. That's when my lawyer finally earned her commission, by negotiating a proportional settlement with my health insurance. Basically, I only received less than 1/10 what I should have for my injuries due to the stupidly skimpy liability minimums, so the health insurance is also only entitled to a similar small proportion.

Anyway, she called and told me how much I needed to send the health insurance company, which was a fairly small amount, and that she had also negotiated a payment plan...

She laughed when I said I would send a check that day; in all her experience, I was perhaps the second who had actually followed her advice and not rushed out and spent every dime of the settlement.

Finally, one last bit o' advice: if you are ever seriously injured and you do find you need a lawyer; one uncommon way forward is to pay a young lawyer to do a few hours of research to find the best old lawyer with a record of good results. A friend of mine was fairly fresh out of law school at the time, so I offered to pay him to do the research, and it was very much worth the small investment. Plus, he ended up negotiating some sort of commission for the referral so I didn't have to pay him after all. The firms that advertise the most are never, ever the best at service and results.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all of the great advice.

I guess I never mentioned it in my original post that I am dealing directly with the other party's insurer. FWIW, the vehicle that struck me was owned by a municipality, and our state has laws that limit how much they can be assessed for a payout. That's not likely to apply here, because my requested amount is well below the max.

I haven't reached out to my insurance company yet because I was concerned that would count against me for future premiums. To date, I've never had a claim with my current insurer, so I get a special discounted rate.

Assuming I'm going to continue doing this on my own, would I be better served reaching back out with a counter-offer (including my documentation to support the disputed amounts) or should I say something like, "Thanks for the offer, I'm not in total agreement on this and want to check with my personal insurance agent/an attorney for advice." to see how they respond?
 

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My only 2 experiences with my insurance company ( 1 car and a roof claim) were that they wrote out checks that were for far more than I ever thought they should pay ;) So it may be who you are insured with.
Glad your experience turned out great. A lot of it also depends on the particular agency, or even which agent at that agency works on your case. And just as you suggest, some companies are better than other companies. Insurance of every flavor is also heavily regulated at the state level, so which state you live in can have a big effect as well.

My personal experience with my own insurance stuff has not been terrible or awesome.
But I also deal with insurance professionally every day. They are not your friend.

I found this little paragraph interesting:

14. Questions you’ve asked your insurance agent
Merely asking your insurance agent about a possible claim can affect your rates, even if you decide not to file. Such inquiries, especially if you tell the agent about damage, could be recorded in a database that many insurers use when evaluating risk. That might count against you when you shop for new insurance. If you’re simply wondering whether the repair costs exceed your deductible, it’s better to check your coverage information on the declarations page of your auto policy.
 

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Don't know what the law is in Wisconsin but out here in California you have to jump through several hoops before you can sue a governmental entity. The most important of which is that you have to file a claim with the entity within a certain period of time which is usually much shorter than the statute of limitations that would apply if you were just suing a private individual, and if you don't file that claim timely, you are barred from bringing a lawsuit. You may want to circle back with one of the attorneys you talked to and make sure that you are aware of what you need to do to protect yourself if you have to go that route.
 

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Email the helmet manufacture and ask if the helmet is okay to Use. They are the experts.
Get a quote from a dealership on what they would charge to replace the grip and any other repairs.
Get a quote form a seamstress shop of repair costs.

Send that to the adjuster and see what happens.

I had a very large claim 20 years ago on a thrift, they offered 1/2 of what they finally paid but it took several weeks. If you can afford to be patient you will end up being made whole.
At least I hope so.
This!

It will take a while. The adjusters job is to minimize payout, not pay you what it will take to make you whole. Knowing this you can negotiate like a tiger and you will need quotes from shops, manufactures (helmet specifically....guessing they will say it must be replaced after striking the asphalt). Document, document, document. I have yet to have an easy time with payout on insurance.
 

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Was there a police report documenting the collision? I may have missed it but I didn't see that mentioned anywhere.

If the other party is documented to be 100% at fault, I don't know why one wouldn't use one's own insurance. After that idiot ran into me head-on last year, I did not see an increase in my insurance rate. Maybe my case is special, or it's due to my state of residence, I'm not sure.
 
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