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Old 09-23-2019, 09:09 AM   #1
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Help with insurance Total vs Buy Back..

We have a 2018 AS 16 sport that got some minor / major hail damage this Spring. It's minor in the fact that it is not very noticeable but major because it's on all the upper panels. Got an estimate to fix and high enough that our insurance company has decided to total the trailer. Basically we have 2 options.

1. Total, Give up trailer to insurance co and recieve a check for almost what we paid for it a year ago. $41k

2. Buy Back, Keep trailer with hail damage and "buy back" for $20k. It is our understanding trailer will have a salvage title and our insurance co will only insure it for $20k now. (currently trying to negotiate a better buy back price)

We are really trying to make a non emotional smart choice. Looking for resources for real world values of used airstreams. Are there any? Also we know a salvage title will affect our resale value but have no idea how much. Any ideas?
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:49 AM   #2
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While we can't tell you the exact value of your trailer, your concerns about a salvage title and resale value says a lot. A salvage title will negatively affect its resale value, this wouldn't be a big deal if you planned on keeping/using it for a long time as is. However, since you are even looking at resale value means that your not planning on keeping it for long. Your better bet is to let it go and collect almost what you paid for it. Good luck and safe travels!!
Jim and Gretchen
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Old 09-24-2019, 06:24 AM   #3
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Since it is a 16' I agree with the above advise.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:00 AM   #4
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Hey Bill, curious why you think we should let the 16' size go?

The more I research this the harder the decision gets. Currently we are totally happy with the 16' sport and could see ourselves using it for a few more years. However we do know that eventually we want a "little" bigger trailer and dual axels.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:48 AM   #5
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50% of the the total insurance payout for you to buy back your trailer from the insurance company is VERY HIGH. I would not pay anymore than 25% of the loss payout value at most. 25% of the loss payout is far more than the insurance company will get for your trailer at the insurance disposal auction. Let em have it!

Your AS trailer will most likely end up at your local Copart or Insurance Auto Auction disposal lot and put up for auction. IF you really want the trailer back at a better price take the full payout, find out where the trailer is being sent and bid on it when it comes up for auction. The "Chances" are very good you will be able to buy back your same trailer at a small fraction of the current insurance company buy back price of $20K.

YES I have used this same process before.

My Datsun 510 vintage race car was flooded 10 years ago in the big Nashville flood. Insurance payed $27K for the car and priced the salvage buy back to me at $15,500. I took the full payout, watched the car go up for auction at Copart and bought the car back at the Copart auction for $5,100. I cleaned it up, raced the car some more and eventually sold the car for $15K to another racer.

Buying back the trailer at auction requires a LOT more work and effort on your part however IF you really want the trailer back this just might be the best way to repurchase your salvaged trailer at a much more attractive price than the insurance company has offered to you. After all who knows the your trailers real condition better than you!

One more VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE for you to consider. In many states the insurance company is also required to PAY TO YOU the full and proper amount of sales tax on top of the amount of the insurance payout since they are BUYING your trailer from you. In your case that could amount to as much as an additional $4,000 paid to YOU! Find out IF that $41K offer is inclusive of the sales tax payout or not. This little tidbit just might take you from a small loss to break even or heaven forbid a PROFIT on your loss!
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:00 AM   #6
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Hey Mike, Thanks for all the great info.
I just started the negotiations on a better price and I told them we were interested in a the buy back if it was closer to 25% of value. Also our agent did suggest that we could take the check and then follow the trailer through the auction process. He admitted he has a few other clients that did that and got a much better price.
I'm learning they have very little experience with Airstreams. Almost all of their data and workflow is based on automobiles.

Any tips on how to research the auction process? How can I track the trailer through the process?

Thanks,
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:36 AM   #7
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IF the trailer goes to auction it might take as much 30-90 days before it shows up on the auction site. Ya gotta be patient and watch for it. That's about all you can do.

The most important piece of information you will get from the person who picks up your trailer if you take the full payout. Ask them which insurance disposal lot are you taking the trailer?

Remember this. It costs the insurance company a lot of money just to sell the trailer at auction. They pay for transport of the trailer to the auction site, storage fees at the site, auction fees to the auction company for the sale of the trailer, paperwork fees to process the paperwork and more.

If they can sell your trailer BACK to you the insurer SAVES lots of money, time and hassle. You just need to find out how much they are willing to give up to save all that trouble and expense!
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
..
Currently we are totally happy with the 16' sport and could see ourselves using it for a few more years. However we do know that eventually we want a "little" bigger trailer and dual axels.
Currently Airstream prices are outrageous, and they will surely cost a LOT more 5 years from now....
SO? why not take the money and RUN to buy a 23 footer while it is affordable? People do move up to 25 and 27 footers from the 23, so there are quite a few 1 and 2 year old ones for sale.
Lemonade?
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:20 AM   #9
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Hi

One other "twist" to this:

We seem to be talking about a trailer in Minnesota. In a month or three it will be getting cold and / or snowing. That's *not* the time of year people think about buying a trailer. Even if a dealer is looking at it, they have to factor in months of storage and interest into the deal. If somebody in Florida is looking, it's a long haul through iffy conditions at that time of year.

All of that is going to depress the "auction price" of the trailer still further ....

Doing the auction buy back means you have the "right" amount of money in the RV. You bought it in an open market situation and (allowing for weird auction issues) paid a fair price for it. The same "winter" issues make it unlikely you will get a lot of use out of the trailer yet this season so letting them pay the storage costs is an added plus ....

Bob
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:45 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for all of this great information. Now I am well informed if I ever find myself in a similar situation.

Brian
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:54 AM   #11
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Take the money, buy it back at 25% or less, flip it for a little profit, buy a bigger trailer. You'll want bigger sooner or later.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:57 AM   #12
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Our hail damage total and buy back

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
1. Total, Give up trailer to insurance co and recieve a check for almost what we paid for it a year ago. $41k
2. Buy Back, Keep trailer with hail damage and "buy back" for $20k. It is our understanding trailer will have a salvage title and our insurance co will only insure it for $20k now. (currently trying to negotiate a better buy back price)
Any ideas?
Recommend looking at the complete financial details of our hail damage settlement in 2006 on our three year old 30' Classic. We are still enjoying our AS today.

73/gus
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:33 PM   #13
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My thought about just totaling the 16' was that you will probably want a bigger trailer soon. If not, then if you can work out a good price for the salvaged trailer it is an opportunity to get a good trailer for little money. I would not want to do 20, but 10 or 15 would be real tempting. Finding it and competing at a salvage auction might pay off, but if you want the trailer it might be worth paying a little more not to have to. I do not know much about salvage titles, but I do not think in this case the title would be an issue. The trailer is not ever going to be worth "full price" so there is no point in trying to insure it for that anyway. You can only insure "what is left of it after the loss". I would like getting it for 25% and figuring that I have already "sold" the other 75% for full value.

If you'd up with a paid for trailer at a price where you can be self insuring for loss that would be a good position to be in, I think.
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Old 09-24-2019, 02:00 PM   #14
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Thanks again everyone for chiming in. It helps to virtually talk this out and hear everyone's take.

73/Gus thanks for the link to your settlement. Looks like that had happened about 3 years after you had owned it.

The interesting thing about my situation is that it has only been a year. The replacement check is 99% of our original cost. If we start over we will only be down about $2k. Also even though we had hoped and thought we would have had many years of camping with this little trailer, we had an idea that at some point we may want to try out a little bit larger trailer.

Now we are wondering if this isn't a good opportunity to try a little larger trailer sooner then we thought?
Chalk the $2k up to a rental / learning fee. But we get a little emotional about the fact that we only had this trailer for a year and the hail damage doesn't bother us at all. If we could get a better buy back price it would be tempting to
to stick with it for a while. But then we will have to deal with selling a hail damaged / salvaged trailer whenever we do decide to go bigger.....
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Old 09-24-2019, 02:52 PM   #15
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Been there. Take the $41K and start over.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:06 PM   #16
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Same problem as you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
We have a 2018 AS 16 sport that got some minor / major hail damage this Spring. It's minor in the fact that it is not very noticeable but major because it's on all the upper panels. Got an estimate to fix and high enough that our insurance company has decided to total the trailer. Basically we have 2 options.

1. Total, Give up trailer to insurance co and recieve a check for almost what we paid for it a year ago. $41k

2. Buy Back, Keep trailer with hail damage and "buy back" for $20k. It is our understanding trailer will have a salvage title and our insurance co will only insure it for $20k now. (currently trying to negotiate a better buy back price)

We are really trying to make a non emotional smart choice. Looking for resources for real world values of used airstreams. Are there any? Also we know a salvage title will affect our resale value but have no idea how much. Any ideas?
Hi, I had close to the same type of trouble with my 2016 16 Bambi with a hailstorm. Could barely see the dents because most were on top with a few very small one on 2 front panels. They offered me a check for 48K or a check and buy back option for 18K. I took the money and put it toward a 2019 FC 20. So happy that we did. Small Bambi is nice but this one the wife likes much better. Added about 14K to their check to buy it. Probably the same place as you in MPLS. Lazy Days. Good luck whatever you do.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:17 PM   #17
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Hey Joe,
Thanks for your response. $48k sound sliek a great settlement!
What do you mean about the $14k added part?
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAJORJDB View Post
While we can't tell you the exact value of your trailer, your concerns about a salvage title and resale value says a lot. A salvage title will negatively affect its resale value, this wouldn't be a big deal if you planned on keeping/using it for a long time as is. However, since you are even looking at resale value means that your not planning on keeping it for long. Your better bet is to let it go and collect almost what you paid for it. Good luck and safe travels!!
Jim and Gretchen
Easy one from my perspective, take the money (only down a couple of thousand after a year is fantastic lack of depreciation) and get one that does not have a wet bath. You have stated you will want a bigger one "eventually" so do it now without losing the cash on depreciation you would doing a sale or trade it. And the first time you can use the toilet without it being soggy from a shower you will be an even happier camper.
Good luck with what ever you decide.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:36 PM   #19
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Take the money and run!! Make sure that they also reinburse you for the taxes you paid on the rig.
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Old 09-25-2019, 03:44 AM   #20
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Salvage Title Woes

Florida's position regarding a salvage title is unusual but I don't know if its unique. In Florida there is no pathway to recovery from a salvage title. No amount of restoration or inspection will convince DMV to issue a license, even if the salvage title occurred in another state and was subsequently put back on the road in that state. You can resolve a lost title, but not salvage. Point is, given the popularity of relocating to Florida for retirement and taxes its another reason to take the money and don't do the buy-back.
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