Many bikers assume if their custom motorcycle is totaled in an accident then the insurance company of the driver at fault will give them the full value for cost of the stock motorcycle plus the cost of all of the chrome/additional equipment/custom paint, etc. that they paid for. Not so fast. In North Carolina, if a motorcycle is totaled, the insurance company of the driver at fault must pay fair market value of the motorcycle (in other words, what would willing buyers generally pay for the bike prior to it being totaled or stolen). In my experience as a motorcycle accident attorney, though, I find that when coming up with the fair market value, these insurance companies want to value the chrome/additional equipment/custom paint for much less than their actual cost. Their argument generally is that chrome/additional equipment/custom paint, etc. is the preference of the current owner and therefore the average buyer will not pay full price for each and every piece of chrome/additional equipment nor pay full value for the custom paint job.
Your full investment in chrome/additional equipment/custom paint, however, can be protected. Ask your insurance agent how these items can be insured under your motorcycle policy for what they cost you, which is often referred to as Optional Equipment Coverage. In short, you are insuring the total cost of your motorcycle under your own motorcycle policy, and that includes chrome/additional equipment/custom paint. Now, I know that no one really wants their own insurance company to cover their accident if they are not at fault. Sometimes, however, for you to be treated fairly on the total loss of your custom motorcycle, you have to let your own insurance company handle your total loss claim. Please not that if you were not at fault in your accident then your insurance company cannot raise your rates just because you made a claim under your own policy.
Whatever you decide about insuring your custom motorcycle, I encourage you to retain all records of your motorcycle purchase, save receipts for any chrome/additional equipment/custom paint and keep up to date photographs of your motorcycle.
If you have any questions about your motorcycle insurance coverage or want to talk to me about a motorcycle accident just give me a call directly at 919-942-1181, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
On the Side of Those Who Ride