It’s safe to say most motorcyclists dread the claims process. Claims are a hassle. Most people simply do not want to understand the claims process. They just want the money due to them to make them “whole” again. Well, life is not that easy and you should be proactive in your own claim or the claims paid to others.
If the claims department is moving too slowly and you can’t seem to make progress by yourself then lawyer up.
If you are injured and you must have any medical assistance to make you well, you must keep records of all doctor visits. If the claims department is moving too slowly and you can’t seem to make progress by yourself then lawyer up. I know that people have an intense dislike for personal injury attorneys, but they are one of the necessary evils of the claims process. Don’t be afraid to make a call to discuss your case. It could be the difference between paying for medical bills or not.
As for the bike, you own it and know what you have invested in it. Harley riders tend to heavily accessorize motorcycles. Sportbike riders tend to spend money on performance upgrades. Keep spreadsheets on all your purchases and update your agent for every $1000 spent over the first $2000. This will keep the headaches to a minimum when you are trying to put your bike back together. If your bike is stolen or a total loss, this list will certainly prove your case in the value assessment.
Unfortunate as it may be, it’s important to realize that the first offer by any motorcycle insurance company will be based on the trade-in or rough book value of your bike. DO NOT GET FREAKED OUT! Go armed with data. NADA, Craigslist, eBay and Cycle Trader are your friend. Look up your model of bike and use that information in the negotiation process. It will help make your case to make you “whole” again. I use the word “whole” because that is supposed to be the purpose of insurance.
In the end, if you are in the middle of a claim and you seem to be at an impasse, you shouldn’t cave. Every state has an insurance commissioner’s office. This office is the consumer protection advocate. They approve rate changes and allow companies to do business in your state, but the primary job is to make sure that the consumer doesn’t get shafted. Use that knowledge and let the insurance company know that you have no problem sitting down with an arbitrator to negotiate your claim. Insurance companies hate this tactic because it costs them money to send attorneys there to deal with the process. You have consumer rights and you must be proactive in the process to make sure you utilize every resource in order to have a fair outcome in the claim.
Kirk Harrington is a longtime rider and avid motorcycle enthusiast, and he’s one of the nation’s only specialized motorcycle insurance agents, operating from his location north of Atlanta, Georgia.