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Unpleasant Photo Opportunities

Why I always carry a camera

It was Friday night in the city and I was inside the pub throwing some darts and chatting with friends when the waitress came through and asked if anyone owned a motorcycle. That would be me. I rushed outside to find a Volvo station wagon sandwiching my bike in between it and a Toyota pickup truck.  People walked by in dismay and a woman came over who had witnessed the event. Turns out the owner left the car parked 25 feet up the street. The owner also happened to leave the Volvo in neutral without the parking brake on. My bike was in the right place at the wrong time.

Being that I ride about 20,000 miles a year, my harum of three are always vulnerable on pretty much a daily basis. I once had the pleasure of having a Salvation Army truck back into two of my gems parked on the street outside the house. Despite photos and an eye witness the Army's insurance company, a sneaky slimy crew out of Anaheim CA, refused to pay the claim. After I sent Progressive Insurance after them and did a avalanche phone campaign, the claim was finally accepted and paid by the sleazy ones. 

What I'm saying here is that I've had a bit of experience with incidents that were the other parties fault involving my motorcycles.  Filing an insurance claim is an art you will want to master. I'll take this space to share with you some tips that will better your chances in your next claim when someone hit's your pride and joy.

  • Carry a camera. Even if it's just a pocket disposable with a flash, it's critical to have one handy. You'll be interested to know that few police departments provide every officer with a camera and won't send a staff photographer out on a non injury call.  Your only protection is to have your own camera. If your shooting with a nice digital, set the flash to 'slow' when shooting at night - this will greatly enhance the quality of most of your shots. Carry an extra roll of film/memory card too. You may need to shot a bit. This is also fun, you own the photos and can send them to friends and family over the web.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Charged - If you carry a cell phone it's a good idea to keep it charged up, or have a spare battery. You may need to spend up to an hour of time on the phone with police and insurance companies. Get the claim number when you initiate the call, in case you get disconnected and need to call back from another phone later.
  • Be Complete - Be sure to take down the name, address, phone number, license plate and drivers license number of the person who hit your bike. In the case of a 'hit and wasn't around to see it happen' the car was opened by the police department who provided me with the proof of insurance card from the owners glove box. I contact his insurance company while he was in a local theater enjoying the movie.  
  • Get it Right. Insurance companies can be nasty when it comes to claims. Every move you make, every word you say, every number and letter you provide must be correct. Never tell them more than they ask for. Remember they are taping your conversation.  
  • Know Your Tow - If your bike needs to be towed, don't let just anyone tow it. Carry the number of a local tow company that provides 'qualified' trucks for Motorcycles. Shame on thee who chains a perfectly awesome cruiser to the back of a tow truck. Flat bed with 4-6 tie downs has to be a must. Insist on it. That nifty job on the right (look closely at the back of the bike) is courtesy of Lincoln Towing.
  • Use Your Insurance Company. Although the incident may not be your fault, it may be worth your while to contact your insurance company and provide the details. If the other parties insurance company tries to do an end run on you, your company will typically back you up and make it right. They are the pros, use them to your advantage when needed.

TM/Winter 01

 

 


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