A motorcycle accident can cause substantial damage, not only to the motorcycle rider but also to the motorcycle itself. As part of an insurance claim, you may have the right to claim compensation for the damages to your vehicle, including the value of replacement for the motorcycle in cases where you cannot repair it. Understanding what it means when the insurance company totals your motorcycle can make it easier for you to make crucial decisions about managing your motorcycle repairs or replacement. Reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
When Does the Insurance Company Total a Motorcycle?
An insurance company may total a motorcycle after an accident under several circumstances.
- The cost of repairs rises higher than the value of the motorcycle itself. Most of the time, insurance companies will have a specific threshold for the cost of repairs at which they will total the motorcycle instead of paying to have it repaired. That amount may vary but usually sits around 70-80 percent of the motorcycle’s value.
- The company hired to look at the motorcycle after the crash believes that it cannot repair the motorcycle based on the damage done. In some cases, accidents may cause severe damage that you may have nothing to repair.
- Repairs to the motorcycle would still leave the motorcycle with increased safety dangers.
In general, the insurance company will not total the motorcycle arbitrarily. Instead, it will total the motorcycle when the accident’s severity leads to such severe damage that it cannot realistically undergo repairs. However, each insurance company may have its own policies regarding what constitutes a “totaled” vehicle, including when the insurance company will take care of repairs and when it will total the vehicle and provide compensation.
What Happens When the Insurance Company Totals a Motorcycle?
The insurance company totaled the motorcycle after your accident. Now what?
You Will Receive a Settlement Offer in the Value of the Motorcycle
If the insurance company totals your motorcycle after an accident, you may want to talk to a lawyer about the compensation you should expect, including the motorcycle’s value. The insurance company often pressures you to accept a lower settlement than the vehicle’s actual value. If you accept that offer, you cannot return later and demand additional compensation. A lawyer, on the other hand, can help you fight for fair compensation for those losses.
You have the right to use the settlement funds from the motorcycle as you choose. For some people, that may mean purchasing a new motorcycle. For others, it may mean using those funds to take care of the other bills associated with the accident, including maintaining quality of life while you deal with reduced income from the accident.
You May Have the Right to Buy the Motorcycle Back From the Insurance Company
Once the insurance company totals the motorcycle and pays you for it, it owns the motorcycle. As the previous owner of the motorcycle, you may have the first right to buy back the motorcycle, despite the damage.
Some people, including people who do a great deal of mechanical work on their own, may believe that they can repair the motorcycle themselves for less than the cost of having it repaired at a shop since they do not have to factor in labor. You can use some of the funds from the insurance claim to buy back the motorcycle and do the repairs yourself. You could also choose to use the parts from the damaged motorcycle from another project after you buy it back from the insurance company.
You may want to look at the motorcycle before deciding to buy it back. In some cases, the motorcycle may have taken such severe damage that you cannot recover any usable parts. The insurance company may allow you to look before you decide if you want to buy it back. Consider your injuries when determining if you wish to rebuild your motorcycle after an accident. If you have severe injuries, you may struggle to do the necessary work for repairs.
If You Rebuild the Motorcycle, You Must Have It Inspected and Re-Register the Title
Each state has its own rules and forms for registering a salvaged vehicle. You may need to apply for a salvage title for a motorcycle you have rebuilt after the insurance company totals it. You must also include information about the accident and that you chose to rebuild the vehicle if you later sell it to someone else. If you choose to rebuild the motorcycle after your accident, familiarize yourself with your state’s rules, including rules for insuring a salvage vehicle.
1. You Believe That the Insurance Company Should Not Have Totaled Your Motorcycle
You may have experience looking at motorcycles after an accident, and that experience might tell you that the cost of repairs will not rise as high as the insurance company claims. You might know that the value of your motorcycle considerably exceeds the cost of repairs and that the insurance company, therefore, should not have totaled the motorcycle in response to the accident. You may want to consult with a lawyer about how to move forward with your claim and get the compensation you deserve for those damages.
2. The Insurance Company Does Not Offer You Fair Value for Your Motorcycle
The insurance company may use several factors to determine how much compensation you deserve after totaling your motorcycle, including checking Kelly Blue Book value to get a better idea of the average value of your motorcycle. However, in some cases, the value of your motorcycle may exceed what the insurance company offers in compensation for your loss. The insurance company may:
- Simply provide a low settlement offer, hoping you will take it, alleviating the company’s financial responsibility.
- Ignore modifications you may have made to the motorcycle that increase its value.
- Ignore the motorcycle’s condition, including very low mileage or careful upkeep that might increase its value.
You may often find yourself fighting with the insurance company to recover fair compensation for your losses. A lawyer can help provide you with essential information that may make it easier to determine how much compensation you deserve for the loss of your motorcycle and its actual replacement cost. Furthermore, a lawyer can help you fight with the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
3. The Insurance Company Denies Liability for the Motorcycle Accident
Many insurance companies show an intrinsic bias against motorcycle riders. Company policy may paint motorcycle riders as reckless or aggressive and assume that they must have caused the accident, even in cases where another party clearly bears liability. If the insurance company denies liability for the motorcycle accident as you try to seek compensation for a totaled motorcycle, you may need an attorney to fight on your behalf. An attorney can help collect evidence regarding the motorcycle accident and put together a compelling claim that clearly shows that the other party bears liability for the incident.
A lawyer can also help you if the insurance company accepts partial liability for the accident but refuses to accept full liability for the incident. In many cases, the insurance company may try to place at least partial liability for the accident on your shoulders to limit the compensation it has to pay out. A lawyer can help fight to establish full liability on the other driver’s part, protecting your right to compensation.
4. The Insurance Company Turns Unresponsive After Totaling Your Motorcycle
You may have communicated closely with the insurance company after your motorcycle accident. You needed to know more about your motorcycle’s condition and potential repairs, and you may have worked closely with the insurance company to give you a better idea of that process.
However, the insurance company may stop communicating with you when finalizing a settlement and issuing payment. You may have a hard time getting a response to any of your questions or find yourself struggling to get an answer when you ask when you will receive a check. A lawyer can help streamline communications with the insurance company and give you a better idea of the compensation you might deserve.
5. The Insurance Company Delays Issuing a Check for Your Motorcycle
Once the insurance company totals your motorcycle, it should not take long for you to get a check in hand. Unfortunately, sometimes, the insurance company may delay issuing that vital payment. If you intend to replace your motorcycle, that can mean that it takes longer than necessary for you to head out to acquire one.
Even if you do not, you may need those funds for other things, including taking care of the medical costs associated with your accident. If the insurance company delays payment, you may want to work with an attorney to streamline the process and allow you to get those funds in hand sooner.
6. The Insurance Company Does Not Acknowledge the Full Extent of the Damage to Your Motorcycle
Sometimes, instead of feeling that the insurance company should not have totaled your motorcycle, you may feel concerned that the motorcycle has more damage than the insurance company acknowledges. For example, you may take your motorcycle to a different repair shop—perhaps one you have trusted to do work in the past—to actually have repairs performed, only to find more damage than the shop that took care of the estimate reported.
You may worry that the motorcycle will not offer a safe riding experience even after repairs or that the insurance company should have totaled the motorcycle after the accident but did not. A lawyer can help you determine how to best protect yourself when dealing with an insurance company that does not seem to acknowledge the full extent of the damage to your vehicle.
7. You Have Questions About the Claim Process or the Compensation You May Deserve
Whether you suffered injuries in the motorcycle accident or emerged with only property damage to take under consideration, you may still have considerable questions about the property damage claim process and how you can ensure you get the full compensation you deserve. By working with a lawyer, you can get answers to those critical questions and feel much more confident as you move through the claim process. A lawyer can also represent you to the insurance company throughout the process, giving you a higher degree of confidence regarding the claim and the compensation you recover.
Contact a Lawyer for Help With Your Claim
If you suffered damage to your motorcycle in an accident, you might need a lawyer to help guide you through the claim process and provide more information about the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to get a better idea of the compensation you might deserve or to ask any questions you have about your claim.