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What if Your Motorcycle is a "Total Loss?

Motorcycle Accident Claim in California

California Motorcycle Law

The worst news is that your motorcycle is determined to be a "total loss." This means that the cost of repairs is over 70 percent of the actual cash value of your motorcycle. The actual cash value is the "fair market value" of your motorcycle before the accident.

Generally, if the costs of repair of a motorcycle are over 70 percent of the actual cash value, they will consider the motorcycle a total loss and not repair it. Sometimes, after the initial repair or breakdown of the motorcycle, they will determine or discover additional damage which may make the cost of the repairs exceed the value of the bike. Therefore, they will call or write you and tell you that your vehicle is now a "total loss."

Pursuant to the terms of your insurance agreement, it is the insurance company?s prerogative and choice to determine whether your motorcycle is considered to be a total loss. As such, you have "no say" in the matter. You cannot accept or reject your total loss decision.

After your vehicle is determined to be a total loss, the next big issue in my motorcycle cases is what is the actual fair market value.

Many of our motorcyclists have bikes that are special and unique. This may include Screaming Eagles, custom chrome, or one-of-a-kind type motorcycles. It is difficult to determine what the "fair market value" of these specialty motorcycles, choppers, and street bikes are. As such, you need a competent California motorcycle attorney who has the computer system to determine the value of the bikes. An independent appraisal may be required to evaluate the cost or replacement value of the vehicle.

Do not settle for less. If the insurance company offers you $17,000.00 on a bike that you believe is worth $27,000.00, do not accept it. Spend the $300.00 for a motorcycle appraisal to determine the actual cash value or fair market value of the motorcycle.


Tom Reinecke

California Motorcycle Lawyer