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July 4, 2002

accident update.
So, seeing as the accident has pretty much 100% resolved itself now, I thought I'd let y'all know what ended up happening. Since this was my first accident as an adult (I was hit once when I was 16, but my parents took care of the insurance stuff), I had literally no clue whatsoever what to do, and it was amazingly stressful and confusing. Thankfully, I received a lot of great advice from my mom, friends, and the great folk on the mailing list, and everything has worked out perfectly. So, here's a general timeline of events, just in case anyone else is ever in my position.
  • June 21 - Hit by dingleberry.
  • The police showed up on their own, but I highly recommend calling them if you're in an accident on your bike. Having the police report made a ton of difference with my insurance later.
  • I denied medical transport to the hospital from the scene, but made sure the cops knew that my foot was hurt, so it could go in the police report.
  • Later that evening, I went to the urgent care to have my foot X-rayed. Not strictly necessary, but if your health insurance covers it, it certainly can't hurt. I did it for the peace of mind.

  • June 24 - Picked up my copy of the police report from the precinct. Cost $10, grumble.

  • July 1 - Called insurance company. Yes, I should have done it sooner, but since I had the police report (which was dated), they weren't too grumpy about it.
  • The first woman I talked to was from the general "claims" menu option on Progressive's 1-800 number. I told her I had no idea what I was doing, and she was very nice and walked me through about 20 minutes' worth of questions. Make sure you have your copy of the police report handy for this, since she asked me things like the make/model/license of dingleberry's car, as well as his address and home phone number, etc. This is all in the police report, and will make your life easier if you've got the copy in front of you.
  • After the questioning, she gave me a claims number, and told me that she was sending my information to the central claims division in San Francisco, and to expect a call from them within a couple of hours.
  • About three hours later, Chris from Central Claims (I almost just wrote "Central Services", but that's a wee differenct, now, isn't it?) called. He asked me some of the same questions that the earlier woman had, and asked me to describe the accident in my own words, etc. Eventually Chris asked if I knew where I'd be taking the bike for repairs, and when I said I'd prefer to just order the parts and replace them myself, he said that'd be fine. We set up a date/time for an appraiser to come out and look at the damage to the bike. He also gave me his fax number to fax him a copy of the police report, which I did.

  • July 3 - Lane, the appraiser, came to look at the bike, albeit an hour late. I showed him the damaged bits, and he took a bunch of pictures with a digital camera. Apparently, he's the "wadded bikes" guy, and we chatted about how he'd just come from the California BMW/Triumph dealership to look over some trashed Beemers. While talking and taking pictures, it came out that Lane used to be a paint and body guy for a custom motorcycle shop. I asked why the switch to insurance appraising, and he said the pay's about the same, but the work is far more steady. Guess I can't really fault that.
  • After Lane was done snapping pictures, we walked back over to his truck, which had a fax/copier and an internet connection. He uploaded the pictures to my insurance file immediately, and got out the Suzuki parts book. We went down the list together of every part that had been damaged (and, actually, some that I wouldn't have even thought of -- "your mirror looks scuffed!" "yeah, I think it was like that before." "well, we'll give you a new one anyway.") and looked up their prices and catalogue numbers in his book. Some of it was guesswork since, in true Suzuki form, the catalogue only had the SV650, not the S-model, and so the fairing and mirror weren't in it. Thanks, Suzuki, that there's really useful.
  • Anyway, we finished up the pricing and Lane printed out the pricing list for me. There were two interesting things about it: (1) since I told him I'd be doing the work myself, they included 2.8 hours of labor at $58/hour. So, I'm finally getting paid to work on my bike! I asked him where he'll be the next time I need to do an oil change. (2) Apparently, mufflers have a "lifetime", and so they depreciate in cost over mileage. They consider 100,000 miles to be the lifetime of the can, and I have 10,000 miles on the bike, so they knocked 10% off the cost of the can when they priced it for me. Moral: make sure dingleberry aims for your new bike, so you get more money.
  • I looked over the sheet, said it looked good, and Lane wrote me a nice big check right there on the spot, minus the aforementioned 10% of the muffler and minus my deductible. Chris in Central Claims is hunting down dingleberry's insurance agency, and will let me know within the week whether or not they'll accept liability. If so, I get my deductible reimbursed right away. If not, my underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage will kick in, and I'll get the deductible back that way (it'll just take longer). Chris also told me that my rates should not go up, since they generally only raise rates for first-time accidents if you're found at least 51% at fault. As I was 0% at fault (I love living in an at-fault state), no rate hike for me.

So, as you can see, this actually turned out to be a fairly profitable experience for me. I'm going to be replacing many of the damaged parts with aftermarket parts, which are not only cheaper but are also better quality. I should really send dingleberry some thanks -- I'm getting new and improved parts out of this, getting paid to install them, and will have extra cash left over. Not a bad deal at all.