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Old 07-10-2003, 11:05 AM   #1
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Question Insurance settlement vs. Totaling tr.

Need some input on an insurance claim on my '99 Safari hail damage. Insurance adjuster came up with $8400 to repair. They were undecided on to repair it or total it out. I have already had the shop order the parts but as of yesterday they were not in. Today the insurance company called and said the adjuster wants to total it out and he has the final say as far as the company (USAA) is concerned. I did not agree and told them I wanted to think about it. They are waiting for a total amount from their total department which will be next week. The will tell what they think it is worth and what I can buy it for salvage. I called the mortage company and I have gap insurance to make up the difference on what I owe and they will pay. I would then have to come up with the money to purchase it back. The mortgage company will not loan money on it again because it will have a salvage title. I would not have any insurance because it has been totaled and not repaired. I called an A/S dealer and he said he would not trade for it with a salvage title, but he would trade for it now. I would like some feed back from someone who has some experience like this. The trailer is a nice one and I could live with the hail damage. Another possibility is not to make a claim and go on like it is. It is not an option money wise for me to trade right now. I know JaceBeck deals in insurance. Maybe he can chime in also. I am open to suggestions. I will be away from my computer until early next week so I may not see your post until then. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:30 AM   #2
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I am completely unencumbered by any experience on this topic...

...whatsoever. But maybe you could call them and offer to settle for $7500 (pick your own number here) instead of totalling the trailer.

Then either fix it yourself, have it fixed cheaper, or live with it.
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:54 AM   #3
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If they total it, depending on the language of your policy, you might be able to ask them to replace the trailer with a similar trailer in similar condition rather than taking a cash settlement.

It's certainly worth a try.

Roger
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:30 PM   #4
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NADAguides.com puts a '99 25' Safari, with no options, at $13,610 Low Retail and $16,400 Average Retail.

Have you gotten your own quote from the factory to repair the damage?

If they want to total it, I'd insist on making them provide you another '99 25' Safari in like condition, rather than take a cash settlement.

Just some thoughts... and the reason why I pay for Foremost's Total Replacement policy.
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:38 PM   #5
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How can the actual value be so low!?! I can't imagine I could go find one for only $15000, that seems rediculously low compared to what a new one costs. Actual replacement value must be higher than that. Maybe you could argue that point with them.
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:10 PM   #6
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Unhappy Depreciation's a bummer

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How can the actual value be so low!?!
Good question, Steph. While the NADA book may be off a bit, I'm not surprised to see the numbers RoadKingMoe quoted. Airstreams may hold their value better than SOBs, but the fact remains that new RVs depreciate like mad. Worse, the bigger ones seem to depreciate faster than the smaller ones. A 1999 Bambi's NADA book value is $11,740 low retail and $14,140 average retail -- not much less than the Safari despite the fact that it cost (I'm guessing here) about $10-15k less new.

Buying new is fine if you can take the depreciation hit at trade-in time or you plan to keep your RV for years. But if you plan to sell within a few years or you get totalled, it's not a pretty picture. My sympathies, Raptorrider2001.

Moe has some good advice in his recommendation to get Foremost's Total Replacement insurance -- if you own a newer Airstream that is still depreciating. For us vintage owners, it's not as much of an issue since our trailers have "hit bottom" and are often now on the way back up in value. We need to think about increasing our coverage limits annually, however!

If I were in Raptorrider2001's shoes, I'd seriously consider skipping the claim and keep the trailer as is, if the damage is mostly cosmetic (?) You can get it repaired yourself later and avoid the stigma of a "salvage" title -- meanwhile you still have an Airstream to enjoy. This might be financially more attractive than letting the insurance company trash it and ending up with a check for what amounts to 1/4 the cost of a replacement model.

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Old 07-10-2003, 01:12 PM   #7
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$8k seems a bit low, but that is only repair costs. If they were in the ballpark of what one costs now and they were hell bent on totalling it, I'd take the cash and get a new one knowing that hail could be just around the corner at any time. I've been on pins and needles all week due to all the hail warnings.


Eric
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by RoadKingMoe
NADAguides.com puts a '99 25' Safari, with no options, at $13,610 Low Retail and $16,400 Average Retail.

Maybe I'm missing the boat here. How can the insurance company force you into totaling the trailer when your damage estimate is still well below the value as shown above? Is there some clause that states if the damage exceeds a certain % of the value they can total it?

Jack
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Old 07-10-2003, 04:01 PM   #9
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Value of totalled Safari

Jack, if the insurer wants to total it they will have to pay the fair market value of the trailer. In this case, that means the owner walks away with a check for between $14k and $16k.

USAA is trying to decide whether to fix it for $8400, or just wash their hands clean with a quick payoff of $14000. The payoff, although much more than the estimated repair cost, is mitigated by the fact that they can sell the salvaged trailer (with a "salvage" title) to another buyer. So they are doing some math and head-scratching right now to see which option costs them the least.

I might be inclined to take the payoff if it is at least $14000 or more and go buy an equivalent 1999 Safari. PPL Motorhomes in Texas has one for sale right now (click this link) for $16,500.

The one option I wouldn't consider is taking the payoff and the buying back the trailer with a salvage title. You'll end up with a trailer that has NO practical resale value and the difference between the payoff and the salvage price could easily be more than just the price of someone else's 1999 Safari.

Keep in mind also that you don't have to accept the first payoff USAA offers. If it's not reasonable in your mind, go get some data from dealers and advertisements to prove your case and often the insurer will revise their offer.

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Old 07-10-2003, 05:16 PM   #10
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During the period of time I was with Caravanner Insurance, I settled most of the hail loss claims on the Airstream trailers, probably at least 1000 of them.

There are several ways to handle a hail loss.

First you can repair the damaged lights, vents covers and the like, along with taking a "loss of value."

Second, you can repair the trailer.

Third, and most important, go back to the first method. Be advised that"most of the dents" in time, will dissapear. I proved that hundreds of times over.

The roof and side sheet dents, given time and temperature changes, will for most part, disappear. The segments are a softer material, and those dents are there to stay.

You can, at your option, take a "loss of value." Repair those items that are necessary, and after a period of time, you could address the metal damage.

You will be surprised of how much of it will disappear. Take photo's now, and compare them months later. The darker the photo's the better. Look at the photo's 6 months later, and at the trailer. You won't believe what you see, namely most of the dents are "gone."

That being the case. you have retained a repaired trailer, that never came into the salvage category, therefore it also retains a reasonable trade-in value, keeping in mind that you have already be paid for the "loss of value."


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Old 07-10-2003, 05:21 PM   #11
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Has anyone ever tried...

...one of the "paintless dent removal" methods used on cars? I know there's a hot glue system that's supposedly a DIY deal, that's used on cars all the time.

Like the good industrial version, but the same basic method as this one... http://www.itouchless.com/share/cgi-...e_id=dingking1
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Old 07-10-2003, 05:24 PM   #12
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Agree with Andy

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Third, and most important, go back to the first method. Be advised that"most of the dents" in time, will dissapear.
Some years ago, I took a very generous loss of value settlement for hail damage on my Cessna 195. The wings were peppered with great big dents. Six months later, I could barely see the dents. When I sold the plane a year or two later, the buyer had it checked by an inspector. He got up on a ladder to check the surfaces of the wings and never moted any hail damage.
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Old 07-10-2003, 05:40 PM   #13
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It is possible to work out a shallow hail dent, even out of a segment, with enough time and patience. But the hot glue or similar products that work from the exterior are not going to work on aluminum - to the contrary, it will just stretch the metal and look worse.

The dent must be worked from the back - which means removing interior panels along with whatever is attached to them (cabinets, appliances, curtain tracks). Somewhere in the archives is the story of my rear corner crease and its sucessful, but tedious, removal.

To remove a lot of dents would entail gutting the trailer; hardly an economically feasible solution.

Unless clobbered by baseball size hail, Andy is quite correct. Just let heat and cold, sun and shade and the natural tendency of metal to return to its original shape work for you.

Mark
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Old 07-10-2003, 06:24 PM   #14
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Re: Has anyone ever tried...

I'm amazed about that depreciation. I guess I'll be looking forward to buying a CCD in a couple years when they're going for $10k :-)

If you could share a picture of the damage, I'd like to see it. I hope it's not too ugly. Thankfully we don't get hail like that out here. I really feel for you guys who have to worry about that!
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