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hit by car-insurance adjusters(24 posts)

hit by car-insurance adjustersjakerider
Jul 30, 2003 6:05 AM
Last week I did a header into the front windshield of a car.
Classic "little old lady" cutting a corner and did not see me. Impact was hard enough to crease her front quarter panel and crack her windshield. By the grace of god, I was physically unharmed.
Police report clearly states it was her fault. Question is, should I push for a complete frame and fork replacement? Frame and fork are new giant carbon. Rear wheel completely destroyed, alum ritchey bars kinked, seat destroyed. LBS has bike doing an inspection but what if no obvious external problems are visible? I know carbon fiber is tough but a big impact does reduce integrity, right? I don't have a warm, fuzzy feeling about riding around on a carbon frame and fork that could catastrophically come apart while riding.
Impact notes: I was traveling approx. 15mph uphill, and she had just turned, cutting a corner and hit me. I impacted the car head-on just above the passenger side front wheel, into the windsheild and over the roof, landing on my back beside the car.
What do you mean should?eschelon
Jul 30, 2003 6:14 AM
Would any intelligent person ever trust that bike going 30+ miles per hour? In a race? In any condition where your very own life depends on it? NO. You need to instruct the bike shop that they BETTER find the bike to be unfit to be used again and have them back it up in writing if need be for insurance purposes.

If the insurance "people" insist on not replacing the whole damn bike, have the bike shop and your testimony that the bike is a serious future liability for them should the bike fail and cause you injury because they insisted on you using a structurally suspect bike...hence, this is where your friendly LBS comes into play by stating that the bike is not fit to be ridden on...then you can go about in getting your bike replaced.

Like it or not, the insurance folks are gonna try to f#ck with you over dollars and sense on the matter, so get the bike shop to "inflate" the bike's value to full, and I mean full RETAIL value with no discounts involved because like it or not, you will end up taking some loss on the bike out of your own pocket if you don't play the same kind of games they do.
What I would do:pitt83
Jul 30, 2003 6:15 AM
Replacement for entire bike; case closed. Every component. Your shop can't x-ray foe damage and you know it took a hell of a whack. Include a new helemt and clothing if damaged.

Difficult for you to fight this since you're fighting her insurance company yourself. Somehow, company versus company makes things flow smoothly.

You have receipts for what you've paid for the damaged property? Get every nickel lost back in your pocket.

I'm not sue crazy and don't feel I'm unreasonabel, just that you shouldn't be out because of her inattentiveness. Big problem for you wil be the time without a bike. Rental bike? They'll cover a renatl car while repairs are in progress.
basically, she just bought your bikeDougSloan
Jul 30, 2003 6:28 AM
Her insurer or she should pay you the value of your bike (assuming it's "totalled"), which is not necessarily or likely the price of a new one. That's the law. If you were not hurt, even emotionally, then that's all you get.

You might start the bargaining with the price of a new bike, but understand that adjusters know full well you are not entitled to it. They might pay it to avoid costs of litigation, though.

I'd go to a bike shop and get an estimate for the price of a new, similar bike, as well as an estimate of the value of your bike before and after the crash. Call up the adjuster and tell him you'll send him the documentation for a replacement bike.

Jul 30, 2003 6:33 AM
i'd ask for a new frame and fork. CF is tricky. I wouldnt trust a bike I'd crashed that hard.
get a bike shop to say that the frame is toast -- that thebill
Jul 30, 2003 6:34 AM
warranty has been voided, etc. Which is all true.
The key to dealing with insurance adjustors is to be firm but fair. You (generally) will receive like in kind. Insurance companies are evil of course, but individual adjustors are not uniformly so, and they have a fair amount of latitude in the smaller cases. In this case, they have so little experience with bicycles that, if you can convince them that the bike actually was worth what it was worth (which you can do with a statement from a bike shop or website pages or whatever), they probably aren't going to quibble with you, because, unlike with cars, they have no system in place to help them argue with you. It's easier to pay you the extra couple of hundred than to seek out the information they might otherwise use (because you are not entitled, under the law, to new replacement value - you are entitled only to market value, unless you can convince them that no ready market exists for the used item, which is essentially true).
I wouldn't trust that frame, either, btw. I probably would make a bid to get the whole bike replaced, then keep the components.
They probably will be so happy that you aren't making a personal injury claim that they are likely to give you a break, as well.
you won't be able to keep the componentsColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2003 8:00 AM
EVERYTHING that was on the bike (pump, pedals, tubes, cages, etc) is fair game for the ins company to take if they total your bike. If they want total replacement make sure the bike shop includes these costs in the replacement quote. In my case they offered me a chance to buy my bike as salvage, but the offer was too high for what I would get from it. I let them have the bike and bought a new one with the check they gave me.
This sounds like BS - not your BS, but the ins co's. Therebill
Jul 30, 2003 8:38 AM
is no market for bike salvage, unlike for cars. Either they were bluffing you for some reason and lost the bluff, or someone in the office wanted the parts, would be my guess.
I agree that, if they pay for the parts, the parts now belong to the insurance company. But, they may let you keep them anyway, if you save them the headache of having to deal with it. It's worth a try.
Who's coming for them?pitt83
Jul 30, 2003 9:23 AM
They're not going to knock on your front door and ask for the wreck, right? They'll have no use for them, unless as you say, someone who has seen ou claim knows, "Hey, free components!"

Again, with no possible salvage value for the wreck, one should ALWAYS get an entire new bike with no depreciation if you're in a wreck. It's not like you cna go to the used bike lot and pick out your same bike with similar condition. That's the value assigned to an automobile. My contention is: Bikes are vastly different and can't be assesed the same way. New replacement cost for similar quality is the only fair comparison.
good luck getting no depreciationColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2003 9:52 AM
i think it's easier to just have the LBS print you a quote for full retail and eating the depreciation. you'll still come out ahead in most cases. my 6 month old Merlin XL (without a scratch until then) was depreciated even. It's just the way the biz works.
Probably tied to overall valuepitt83
Jul 30, 2003 10:00 AM
I trashed a 7 year old Trek 1400. 105 w/ Aluminum frame , 7 speed. Quite the bike in 1990 when I bought it. In 1999 when I trashed it, I was given full retail value for like group and frame, $1000 settlement.

Also, this was a homeowners claim (I hit a parked car when I didn't look up while hammering from the drops; whole story here!) and my policy has full replacement value. Obviously not true with auto policy.

When you are 5X that price, it probably gets closer scrutiny.
If you demonstrate to the insurance company that there reallybill
Jul 30, 2003 10:11 AM
is no secondary market for bikes by showing them, say, pages of used item listings with nothing comparable to your bike, which in many instances you really should be able to do, the laws of most states will permit you to recover the replacement value of the item. The reasoning is that, because you can't buy what you lost on the secondary market, you really can replace it only with something new, and the hypothetical depreciated value is no help to you at all. You need to recover full replacement cost to be made whole, regardless of whether you would have had to discount the bike from retail in order to sell it.
They just maytorquer
Jul 30, 2003 10:45 AM
knock on your door to collect the bike.

After an accident two years ago, the driver's insurance company paid full replacement cost of my bike, helmet, computer, clothing (including shoes) and sunglasses, after I provided price documentation. The ins. co. rep (who had previously interviewed me to assess physical injuries) was a mountain biker. When he came to pick up the bike (he turned down the torn/bloody clothing & glasses) he told me the salvagable parts would be offered to other employees; he had built up his mountain bike that way.

Possible special circumstances in my case:
1. The accident occured in New York, which is a "no-fault" state, meaning the insurance company was responsible for all medical payments and property loss reimbursement immediately, before "fault" had been established (not that there was any question of fault on the drivers part). Had I been hit by this driver while in my own car, my insurance company would have been responsible.
2. It occured to me afterwards that the insurance company was eager to get rid of the evidence; a mangled/shattered OCLV (with both fork blades snapped off) would have been a compelling exhibit for my side to show to a jury.
It variesAndy M-S
Jul 30, 2003 5:15 PM
When I was taken down by a truck last October, there was almost no visible damage to the bike, but there was no way I was going to ride that critter again. Damage can be hidden, and I hit 50+ on downhills. The driver's insurance company agreed--without hesitation--to replace the bike, but they wanted it sent to them, stripped of any useable parts THAT I WOULD USE IN BUILDING THE NEW BIKE. So I kept the tires and a few other pieces, and as I rebuilt the bike (fortunately for them, it was my rain bike!) I kept a list of costs. Sent it to them, and got a check within a week.

A few years ago, in a similar situation, the insurance company let me keep the damaged, I think it's going to vary, depending on the company.
advice from an insurance adjuster...merckx56
Jul 30, 2003 6:46 AM
Push for the new bike! If it tore up the other parts that badly, odds are that there's damage somewhere around the headtube of the frame. Sounds like the liability is completely on her, so her "physical damage" coverage section of her policy will cover your bike. Ask the adjuster about replacing the wheelset. Many times, if one of a set is destroyed, a complete set is replaced.
re: hit by car-insurance adjustersjwad
Jul 30, 2003 6:59 AM
I hope she dosent have Allstate. In my experience they are more likley to try to weasel you out of every cent they can, and try to drag it out for a long time, were as some other insurance companys will cut you a check right away, just to keep it out of court.

Also make sure you have the bike shop gives them an estimate which shows the total for the bike. Since Insurance adjusters dont often deal with bikes, they sometimes have a hard time believing that any bike would cost more than $500

Also, get a new helmet, even if you dont think you hit your head, if you went over the hood, you might have, and once the helmet takes an impact its toast. When I had my accident my lbs included that in the estimate, and it was no problem.

Good luck.
I went through this last year....Gregory Taylor
Jul 30, 2003 6:59 AM
I got hit by a car last year -- on the maiden run with a new bike. The driver's insurance picked up the cost of a new bike with little complaint. Basically I told them (backed up by the builder, Dean Bikes) that the warranty was now voided, and that I would be out of luck if it broke down the road. The frame/fork (it was an Ouzo Pro all carbon) had little visual damage, but riding on it was simply not an option for me. The guys at Dean told me that you can't trust a visual inspection on a frame that took a real whack (i.e., me broadsiding a car at 20 mph) even if it looks straight. Of course, from a liability standpoint, they have to say that, but I can see their point.

Bottom line: her insurance company would probably be more than happy to buy you a new bike, especially if you sign a medical waiver. And, personally, I'd wait a bit on doing that just to see if anything crops up.

Oh, the only other advice that I can give you is to always tell the truth, and listen to Bill. Fibbing in this situation in order to try and get more cha-ching from an insurance company is a sure ticket to trouble. As for Bill, he does this sort of stuff for a living, and his advice is worth its weight in Campy parts.
you don't have to sign a medical waiverColnagoFE
Jul 30, 2003 8:03 AM
the bike should be property loss and the medical is a separate issue. make sure you have no need for medical treatment before you sign anything. in my case I had a check for the bike long before the final settlement was given.
Very true (nm)Gregory Taylor
Jul 30, 2003 8:36 AM
re: hit by car-insurance adjustersbigdeal
Jul 30, 2003 7:14 AM
There's a book by Nolo Press called How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim (ISBN: 0873373472), costs about $30. I used the prior edition in my accident, it's a fast read, great info. No, I don't work for Barnes & Noble, Bookstar, Nolo Press, etc.
re: hit by car-insurance adjustersSteve_0
Jul 30, 2003 7:21 AM
"By the grace of god, I was physically unharmed"
ya, BUT....bigdeal
Jul 30, 2003 9:35 AM
The book covers how to set-up/submit your claim for everything else, not just injury to your person....

almost a good catch...almost.
re: hit by car-insurance adjustersgtown
Jul 30, 2003 8:56 AM
Samething happened to me two years ago. I was riding my brand new mt. bike and was cut off and slamed into the car. Filed a report with the police and got a estimate in writing from my lbs for the cost of a new frame and some other parts. I also included stripping and assembly cost. Total was about $2K. The womens ins. company paid it very quickly. I think they were more worried about the medical side of it. The ins. co. was a little taken back by the $2k but once I faxed a copy of the LBS estimate I had a check in less then a week. Bike shop was happy since I bought another new bike from them.

Good luck and glad your not hurt.
for what it's worth...pack_fodder
Jul 30, 2003 11:55 AM
Don't know if this helps but I spent about a year as an insurance adjuster and several years as a litigation attorney doing defense work for insurance companies.

Several years ago as an adjuster, I handled a bike vs. auto claim that I settled from the driver's insurance policy. The insured driver "doored" a cyclist. The cyclist wasn't seriously hurt (if at all)and there wasn't much damage to an older steel Specialized. However, I agreed to replace the entire bike. It wasn't worth fighting over difference in $$ for repair vs. replacement. BTW - The company did take the "totaled" bike as salvage. I have no idea what happened to it - probably ended up in some dumpster somewhere.

In your case I think that if your shop were willing to verify: (i)as a result of the severe impact with the car, there is a very real possibility that the integrity of your carbon frameset has been compromised; and (ii) that there is no reliable way test the frameset for such weakness. Therefore there continued use of the frameset exposes you to an unreasonable risk of signficant injury as result of a sudden, catastrophic failure. Armed with this info, the adjuster should be able to come to the reasonble conclusion that the frameset is no longer usable and "total" it.

Bottom line - as has been suggested above - insurance adjusters are people, and like in most other situations in life, if you approach the situation being friendly and reasonable, you'll find that the adjuster is more likely to reciprocate. But like in other situations in life, some people are just obnoxious not matter what you do.