After a crash, it’s important to know if your bike is still safe to ride. What may look like a few scratches may actually be a bent frame, or worse. Such damage could lead to a dangerous failure down the road, so it’s important to have your bike checked out by a qualified mechanic, just in case.
If the crash was caused by a car, there’s another important reason to have it checked out: an insurance estimate. In my experience, most insurance adjusters don’t ride bikes (yes, I always ask). This means that they often have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of a bicycle that cost more than $250. In fact, the idea that rims alone can cost more than that is often enough to boggle their auto-centric minds.
That’s why a written estimate from a bike shop is crucial. They’ll give you a list of any damaged components, along with a full accounting of how much they would cost to replace, including labor. If the bike is totaled, they’ll list its value, including any upgraded parts you may have added since it was stock.
Most bike shops will do all this for free, in the hopes that you’ll eventually spend some of that sweet insurance money on one of their lovely bikes. A classic win-win! However, there are a few shops that charge as much as
$35 $60 for this generally free service. This is totally bogus.
I’ve had clients tell me how one such shop attempted to justify the cost by explaining that the reports they provide with their estimates are “official,” and that the insurance companies somehow favor or require them. Nope.
As far as the insurance companies are concerned, a bike shop is a bike shop is a bike shop. They may ask for a second estimate from a different shop if they suspect the first one is somehow inflated, but there is nothing more “official” about a report that you had to pay for.
The bottom line is, the mechanics at your local bike shop should be on your side; these are the people you trust to get you where you’re going safely. Remember, when it comes to insurance estimates, don’t get taken for a ride!
IMAGE via flickr.