Friday, 31 August 2012

Reunited, Together Again, Never Gonna Give You Up.........

OK, so that's enough of the song titles! Let me explain..........

A few weeks ago, I was up at my Mum's and was just going out of the front door when we noticed a car reversing from a drive across the road. I assumed that the driver had noticed my motorcycle parked there - after all, it is (for want of a better expression) big, red and shiny! With hindsight, what happened next was pretty inevitable really. In fact, it reminds me of King Harold's last words at the Battle of Hastings - "Watch that bloke over there with a bow and arrow - he'll have somebody's eye out in a minute!" Alright, so he probably didn't say that, but I bet he wished he had done. ;-)

"Ooh", said my Mum, "Watch that car over there, it looks as if it's getting a bit close to your bike." In the 2 or 3 seconds it would have taken me to run up the drive and bang on the car window, all I managed to do was to yell "Oi!!!!!!!", as the car sent my bike crashing down onto the pavement. As the rather shocked lady got out of her car, she remarked that she'd seen the bike parked there earlier, but was concentrating too much on looking left and right to notice what was behind her. I pulled the bike up and put it back on the stand, to inspect the damage. The most noticable things were a rather bad gash on the crankcase/clutch cover and a mashed-up handlebar end weight, plus a few superficial chips and scratches on the mirror, indicator, tail fin and the bottom of the fairing. "It's the first accident I've ever had, so I'd rather not go through the insurance and lose my no-claims", said the lady.

So the next day, I went to the Honda dealer to obtain prices for a new clutch cover and handlebar weight, which would come to just shy of £200. Being a kind soul (some would say naivve/stupid) I was prepared to overlook the chips and scratches, figuring I could sort those out myself. But by the time I contacted her, she'd discovered that there was some damage to the back of her car, and since her cover included a protected no-claims discount and just £50 excess, she would prefer to go through the insurance. It was all surprisingly simple and I hardly had to lift a finger, as her insurance company called to arrange collection (all the way from London!) of my bike and a replacement hire bike for the duration. Within a couple of days, I had a shiny black Kawasaki ZX6R to play with, whilst my Honda was taken away for assessment/repair.  It was a lovely bike, but not as lovely as my own, so I was keen to get it back.

Nice bike but not as nice as my own.......
What happened next was a bit more drawn-out and stressful than I had hoped. Clearly, the assessor had gone over the bike with a magnifying glass and a fine-tooth comb, because they decided that if every little bit of damage they found had to be repaired or replaced, it would exceed the value of the bike. I was left with three options:

(1) They would effect most (but not all) of the repairs, up to the cost of what they estimated the value of the bike to be.
(2) They would write-off the bike and it would be returned to me in its current condition, together with an amount of money.
(3) They would write-off the bike and dispose of it, and I would receive a cheque for the full current market value.

Being a bit dim, it took me a while to digest this information, so I asked him to just go back to option 2 and explain it to me in more detail. Basically, he said, it would be a "Category C" write-off - which in effect means "beyond economical repair, but can be put back on the road". "So", I asked, "apart from getting the bike back, how much will I get?" When I heard his answer, you could have knocked me down with a feather! "Bit of a no-brainer", I said. "Yes", he said.

It took a week or so for me to finally get the cheque, and another week before they brought my bike back, but - to cut a rather long story just a bit shorter - me and my beautiful Honda CBR600RR are finally reunited, and I have a decent-sized cheque in the bank, which should more than comfortably pay for the necessary repairs and replacement parts. All I have to do now is to get her through an MOT (which is due anyway) and re-insured (which is also due) and everything will be tickety-boo. And once I have spent a few hundred quid on replacing the damaged bits (all of which are purely cosmetic and don't affect the rideability of the bike) and some silver touch-up paint, she will effectively be back to pretty much mint condition. So who am I to complain?

Then again, it does bring into stark focus one of the reasons why insurance premiums are so damned expensive these days. That's all I'm going to say..........

Together again with my beautiful Honda CBR600RR
As a postscript, I also received a letter from my ex-employers the other day, informing me that I would receive a "corporate bonus" (or at least part thereof, for the part of the last financial year I worked). Considering I "retired" in October 2011, it came as a very pleasant surprise. Not a huge sum, you understand, but it will buy me a few nice bottles of wine. Every little helps! ;-)

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