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Old 06-13-2012, 02:36 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Fayetteville , Arkansas
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What is my Airstream worth?

My dear husband backed into a tree with our 1972 27 ft. Airstream Overlander. We have a policy with a $10,000 cap on her.

The insurance company has "totaled" her. While the damage wasn't that bad the Airstream repair shop said it would cost over $9,000. I need to know what she is worth.

We paid $3600 and have redone the plumbing, replaced the inverter, repaired several things like doors that wouldn't shut and lights that didn't work. We also replaced the hot water heater with an on demand one. Can anyone help us make sure we are getting a fair deal?

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Old 06-13-2012, 02:45 PM   #2
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Can you post some pictures of the damage so that it can be assessed?

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Old 06-13-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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Either I get a check for $10,000 or the insurance company deals with my attorney in a courtroom.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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Unfortunately no, she is still at the shop. I am looking for the value before the damage as that is what they will have to pay.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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An equally important question is what is it worth to YOU, and what might you have to pay to replace it with something equally enjoyable and reliable? Most insurance companies would let you buy the "totaled" unit with perhaps salvage title after taking the cash payout.. Finding a well maintained 27' Airstream with the interior amenities and features you like could be a challenge for $10K.. Many of them have either hidden or in-your-face issues...

Since you know the actual cost to repair based on dealer/Airstream factory estimate, the math should be caluclating the cost to repurchase and fix versus the cost to purchase another one that you'd like as well or better... Good luck with the process..

(I might be inclined to do the repair, if I really liked it compared to other Airstreams before the tree reached out and hit it...)

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:58 PM   #6
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Houston , Texas
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Does your $10,000 cap mean that the insurance company, having totaled your unit, will take possession of it and hand you a check for $10,000? Are you asking the forum to estimate if it is worth substantially more than $10,000, even with the damage, so you can decide whether to repair it, sell it, etc.?

It is going to be pretty hard for anyone to give you a valid appraisal sight unseen. Some pictures, especially of the damage would certainly help. Also, it is tough to guess how much time/money you have in your trailer based on your description, ie., when you say "redid the plumbing," how extensive are you talking? You might look on Ebay for recently sold trailers that are similar to yours and see what they sold for.

One common sentiment of us vintage owners is that you never get out of a trailer what you have put into it (time +money). It may very well be that if you could get $10k from the insurance company, then you are doing better than you could selling it outright, even undamaged.

I am always amazed at the prices I hear for Airstream skin repairs. It may behoove you to get a second or third opinion on the cost of a repair.

good luck
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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1989 34' Excella
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According to reports from the insurance companies, 70% of the Airstream owners take the check from the insurance company and then do not make the complete repairs. For those who like to use Airstreams rather than just look at them, it makes sense. I see a lot of Airstreams on the road with hail dents. I guess I would take the maximum check I could get and then fix what is necessary to make it road worthy. I would put the rest in the bank waiting for when I really think I want a newer Airstream.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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When we found out it was going to cost9k to fix her, we thought they would pay us the 9k and we could either fix her, or not. As I noted the damage wasn't that bad and we had been toying with the idea of keeping her for use by our kids, of which there are five, if they wanted to camp with us. We thought we would use the 9k and put about that much more with it and get a 34 ft Excella, maybe a 83 or 84.
But, it appears that the insurance company totalled it so they won't have to pay the 9k. It looks like they are planning to pay us the "actual cash value" minus deductible. That is the rub. I am concerned they will jsut want to give us a few thousand for her, nad then we no longer own her. If we want to get her back, we have to buy her back from the insurance company. No diea what it would cost to get her back.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:51 PM   #9
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As for what she is worth to us. We have had more enjoyment out of our Airstream than anything I can remember. Camping allows us to leave work and worry behind for a time. We will not own anything other than an Airstream. She, or something like her, is worth alot to us.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:08 PM   #10
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Find someone with a lower estimate and keep her. She probably isn't work 10k as is, even before the dents. If you own it with now loan you can do what you want with the money. it's up to you .. We had some damage to our front fender on our 4-runner. we got $1500 from the insurance guy and he told us we could keep it or fix it, it was up to us. We kept it and had my father in law fix it for the cost of paint.

Get a lower estimate and keep it and get it fixed by someone else. Try a welding shop some do metal work..

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 06-13-2012, 05:19 PM   #11
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Did you ever have the Overlander in an experienced Airstream shop after you did your repairs/updates/upgrades but before hitting the tree? If so, you might be able to get them to appraise the trailer's pre-tree market value and present that to the insurance company.

I did that with my trailer, because it was clear from talking with the insurance company that they really had no experience with old Airstreams. They kept coming back to the fact that I paid almost as much as the original (1975) price of the Argosy (many of the updates/upgrades were already done when I bought the Argosy). I assumed if I ever had a total loss they were going to come across with some ludicrous offer of $500 or so, and got an appraisal letter from a shop that specializes in Airstream repair and also buys and sells used Airstream products. The fact that the owner wrote that he'd sell my trailer for $1k more than I paid for it made me feel better, too.

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Old 06-13-2012, 07:25 PM   #12
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Sorry to hear this!

Unfortunately, without an appraisal write-up prior to the accident, it will be tough to argue with them. You may want to study up on this Price vs Condition info - it might get you a couple more dollars. Another thing is to scour the classifieds to find trailers about the same age and condition as yours and see what they have recently sold for. Also, dig out any repair /parts receipts you may have to prove what you have put into it. Another option is to tell them to find you one for what they are offering you...

Unfortunately, it's hard doing this after an's better to have an appraisal & special rider attached to the policy before a claim.

Good luck!

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Old 06-13-2012, 07:32 PM   #13
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You might try Googling "The Airstream Guy". Mark Evans is in Marion, Kansas and is capable of appraising your Airstream for you. That would give you some "footing" to negotiate with the insurance company, lawyers, or whatever.
Good luck!

"Surrender is not in our creed. Let me hear you say that..." Gunny Hiway
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:48 PM   #14
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Unhappy Thanks to Everyone

I want to thank all of you for the help. I will follow up on some of your ideas. I will let you know how it turns out.

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