No collision is a good one, but thankfully in many instances there is only property damage to your bicycle without any physical harm to you, the rider, and we’re always thankful to hear someone wasn’t hurt. However, this still leaves a nagging issue – how to recover property damage for a bicycle after a collision. We’re here to help!
The first thing to know is that you’ll want to gather as much information at the scene as possible; including the name, phone number, and insurance company of the driver. You’ll be filing a claim with the insurance company, which can be a slow and frustrating process, but we have some tips for you to help make it a less stressful process. In fact, we have an entire property damage demand toolkit available for free download here if you need it.
Tip #1 – Don’t throw anything away or get it repaired
An important component of dealing with an insurance company is evidence. The insurance company may want to take a look at your damaged bicycle, helmet, and/or accessories.
Tip #2 – Take pictures of everything
If you can, take pictures at the scene of the collision, then take more pictures of your damaged bicycle and other items (if any) to show the damages in detail.
Tip #3 – Gather receipts
If you can find your original receipt for your bicycle, that’s great! You can also find listings online of your bicycle model for sale to show how much it would cost to replace everything. And when we say ‘everything’ we mean the frame, the tires, the rims, and all of your upgrades, if any, to the bicycle that were damaged in the collision. Make a list of everything on your bicycle that was damaged (including anything you were wearing like your helmet or riding shirt) and write down how much it would cost to replace and include the source of that price.
Tip #4 – Get repair estimates
Some damages might be repairable rather than needing to be replaced. If that’s the case, get a repair estimate from a cycling shop you trust. You may want to get a repair estimate even if the repairs would cost more than the price of the bike because showing that to the insurance company may prompt them to replace the bike rather than insist on repairing it.
Tip 5 – Compile everything into a demand for payment letter
Our property damage demand toolkit includes an editable demand letter that you can use as your template or starting point. It’s free to download and many cyclists have found it to be helpful at this step when trying to recover property damage for a bicycle. You’ll most likely open a claim with the insurance company over the phone first and then send this letter with your claim number written on it to outline your damages. From here, the insurance company will likely make you an unreasonable offer (one that might buy a kids’ bike at Walmart) or start using delay tactics. Stay strong and stick with it.
Tip 6 – Be ready to negotiate
Remember, it is the job of the insurance adjuster to pay you as little as possible. Your job is to get a fair settlement or take them to court (it might be a ‘Small Claims’ lawsuit). If you are struggling with this step, you are welcome to give us a call. We love talking to cyclists because we ride, too, and we know what it’s like to negotiate with an insurance company! Consultations are free and sometimes that’s all you’ll need to get the courage to negotiate with the insurance company. If negotiating isn’t working or you have damages that exceed a ‘small claim,’ we can talk with you about your options, too.