All of the information in this chapter regarding handling of repair and total loss claims applies even when the damaged vehicle is unique. However, additional issues and concerns should be considered in the following cases.
Rare and Collectible Cars
If you own a vintage automobile or an exotic, you should be extremely careful when choosing a repair facility. Make sure the repair facility is prepared to return the vehicle to its true pre-accident condition. While these specialty shops can be more expensive, the responsible insurance carrier owes to indemnify you, which means they must return you to your pre-accident condition. If you own a unique vehicle, truly proper and skillful repairs would be the only way to put you back into the ownership position you held before the accident occurred.
Diminution of value will also be typically much higher in cases involving vintage, collectible, and exotic vehicles. In these cases, you should always secure a certified appraisal by an independent appraiser who has significant experience determining diminution of value for unique vehicles. If the insurance carrier does not honor your estimate, you want to make sure that your appraiser’s credentials would solidify your chance of success in a later trial.
The process of handling a total loss in a motorcycle case is identical to a total loss for a private passenger auto. However, there are unique considerations in the repair process. Motorcycles are not subject to body repair. Rather, the bike repair facility will handle collision repair entirely through new part replacement. Motorcycle repairs do not involve use of body filler, dent repair, or painting. Instead, every damaged part is replaced with a new part. The result is the repair process is very expensive and most motorcycle crashes therefore result in total loss. If the bike is repaired, you should be very pleased with the end result because every damaged part will be replaced with new equipment.
Scooters and Mopeds
Like motorcycles, scooters would not be subject to collision repair. Instead, only new parts would be used to replace every damaged component on a moped or scooter. These vehicles are relatively low value in the new and used market. Thus, most crashes do result in a total loss.
Scooters and mopeds do retain their value quite well. If you are dealing with one of these total loss cases, you should perform careful research through local newspapers and online sources such as Craigslist. If your research supports a higher value than the adjuster’s offer, they will often include your research in the claim file and increase the amount they pay for your damaged scooter. In most cases, the adjuster handling a scooter total loss will offer full/fair payment from the outset.
The injury aspect of a bicycle accident claim is handled the same as a pedestrian impact. Injuries can be quite severe, and the rider should be extremely careful in all discussions with property damage insurance adjusters. They will pay fairly for the bicycle, but they are looking for inroads to later reduce their payment for the injury claims.
Bicycle sales have continued to trend upward, and we see many unique bicycles on the market today. If your bicycle is specialized, you should work with a local dealer to determine repair cost versus replacement cost. The insurance carriers do owe for the reasonable cost of the latest technology if your bicycle is unique and rare. For example, featherweight carbon fiber frames sell for thousands of dollars in the secondary market, and this full amount should be paid by the insurance company. Also, all repairs should be undertaken entirely with identical or equivalent replacement parts. Make sure your bicycle is restored fully in function, weight, technology, and value.