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What happens to your motorcycle after a crash?

Posted by George Tait | Jun 24, 2022 | 0 Comments

Oftentimes after a motorcycle crash your beloved motorcycle is not in any shape to be ridden home or anywhere else.  With or without your knowledge, your motorcycle will be moved by a tow yard.  Wondering what happens to your motorcycle after a crash?  Read on!

What to Do with Your Motorcycle

If you are not injured in the crash you can look after your motorcycle yourself.  Get your friends and family to get your bike to your home or a repair shop.  Make sure the repair shop will not be charging you a “storage fee” until your motorcycle is either repaired of written off.  We have seen “storage fees” approach $100 per day! These high "storage fees" are regulated by law but unfortunately we still see tow yards charging these fees.

Get Pictures of the Damage to Your Motorcycle

If you are not injured take as many pictures as possible of your motorcycle.  If you are in the hospital get your friends and family to take pictures.  These pictures first should be from a little distance—each side, front and back.  Next zoom in on the areas of damage and maybe note what side of the motorcycle the picture shows.  Also take a picture of the odometer as well.  This will come in handy later when the insurance company is valuing your bike.

If Your Motorcycle is Towed

You, your friends or family need to locate your motorcycle.  If the police were at the accident scene they will contact a tow yard and have your bike towed.  Usually, the officer will give you the contact information for the tow yard where your bike is being hauled off to.  Alternatively, the driver exchange form may have the tow company listed but the crash report, known as a DI-9 will have that information.  You can also call the officer to find out where your motorcycle was taken. 

If your motorcycle was towed get it out of the tow yard as soon as possible.  Daily storage fees are incurring and can cost up to $100 a day or more and if it sits there over the weekend the fees double.  The best way to get it out is to call your insurance company or the insurance of the person who hit you and provide them with the tow yards information.  You will also need to call the tow yard and release your bike to the insurance company for pick up. The insurance will assign a property damage adjuster who will make all the arrangement to move the bike to a free storage location—usually one the insurer owns or contracts with.  All the costs incurred up to date will be paid by the insurance company if you arrange this as soon as possible.

Repair Your Motorcycle or Salvage

The property insurance adjuster will inspect your motorcycle to determine whether it is repairable or whether it will be a total loss.  The insurance company property adjuster determines the value of your motorcycle—how much it will cost to repair—and the value after repair.  If the cost of repair exceeds 80% of the value of the bike, they will deem it a total loss.

If Your Motorcycle is Repairable

If your bike is repairable the adjuster will make arrangements to have it towed to a body shop of your choice.  The shop will repair the bike and send the final bill to the insurance company for payment.  You will them be free to pick up your bike when the repairs are completed.

If Your Motorcycle is Not Repairable

The Adjuster – does not matter whether it's your insurance company or the offenders - will most likely try to low ball the value of your motorcycle and give you the least amount possible.  No surprise there!  To ensure a proper value for your motorcycle there are a few things you can do:

    • Gather all receipts for custom work done to your bike, from paint jobs, pipes, special accessories and etc.
    • Research how much similar bikes with mileage are going for in your surrounding areas (typically a 50-mile radius or more if the bike is harder to locate, but stay within your state) at local dealerships, on KSL, the classifieds and etc.
    • You can also find the value of your bike by going to Kelly Blue Book https://www.kbb.com and entering all the information possible. Gather all that information and submit it to the insurance company.  These small tips will help increase the value of your bike.

Finally, if you are happy with what the insurance company is offering the adjuster will give you the option take the cash out or you can get your bike back.  If you cash out, a check will be issued and received within five to seven business days or in some cases, insurance companies can make a direct deposit into your account. Some caveats, if there is a loan on the bike, the money will be paid to the lien holder, so make sure you get enough money to pay off that loan.  If you wish to retain the bike, the adjuster will take off the buyback amount from the original value and pay you the difference--you will get a "salvage title." BE AWARE - salvage or branded titles are not usually able to be insured.  

Utah Bike Law is a motorcycle injury law firm and its lawyers who ride are dedicated to representing injured motorcycle riders and their families.  If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle crash anywhere in the United States we invite you to call for a free confidential consultation. There is no obligation and you are not charged any fees whatsoever unless we recover money for you.

About the Author

George Tait

Since 2004 George Tait has dedicated his practice to helping injured people and their families get fair and full compensation from the insurance companies. Before becoming an attorney George Tait was a Registered Nurse for over 15 years. The last years of his nursing career were in the Universit...

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