What Happens When the Insurance Company Totals Your Motorcycle?

Written By: Darl Champion

Date Posted: 05.18.24

Category: Motor Vehicle Accidents

A motorcycle accident can leave you physically and emotionally shaken. Not only that, but if the accident results in your motorcycle being totaled, it can feel like adding insult to injury. But what exactly does it mean when your insurance company declares your motorcycle a total loss, and what should you do next?

After an accident, you should understand what happens when the insurance company totals your motorcycle and how a well-versed motorcycle accident attorney can provide guidance. If you find yourself in this unfortunate position, never wait to reach out to a Smyrna motorcycle accident attorney who can explain your rights and guide you through the process.

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The Auto Insurance Company’s Post-Accident Evaluation Process

After a motorcycle accident, one of the first steps you need to take is to report the incident to your insurance company. They will initiate their post-accident evaluation process to determine whether your motorcycle can be repaired or if it should be declared a total loss. Understanding this process allows you to make informed decisions.

First, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to assess the damage to your motorcycle. The adjuster will carefully examine your motorcycle, taking into account the extent of the damage, the age of the bike, and its pre-accident condition. They may also consider the cost of repairs and compare it to your motorcycle’s actual cash value (ACV).


Next, the adjuster will determine whether the cost of repairs exceeds a certain percentage of your motorcycle’s ACV. If it does, they may declare your motorcycle a total loss. This threshold can vary between insurance companies, but it is typically around 70 to 80 percent of the ACV.

Suppose your motorcycle is declared a total loss. In that case, the insurance company will offer you a settlement based on the ACV of your motorcycle. This settlement amount should compensate you for the loss of your motorcycle. You have the option to accept the settlement and surrender your motorcycle to the insurance company, or you can negotiate the settlement amount if you feel it is too low.

Remember, the insurance company’s goal is to minimize its expenses, so you need someone who can advocate for your best interests. An attorney can help ensure that you receive a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for the loss of your motorcycle and any other damages you have suffered due to the accident.

If the insurance company has totaled your motorcycle, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney who can provide in-depth advice and assistance throughout the post-accident evaluation process.

Understanding the Total Loss Determination

When your insurance company deems your motorcycle a total loss, the cost of repairs exceeds its actual cash value. Actual cash value is determined based on valuations from independent vehicle value guides and current market prices. Insurance companies typically pay the actual cash value of a totaled motorcycle, regardless of how much is owed on it or its perceived worth to the owner.

Motorcycles depreciate in value, with new bikes losing around 19 to 27 percent of their value in the first two years. This means that even if your motorcycle is relatively new, its actual cash value may be significantly lower than what you initially paid.

The Role of Insurance Coverages

Insurance Coverages

Insurance coverages such as comprehensive, collision, and gap insurance can offer some relief when your motorcycle is totaled. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for damages caused by events other than a collision, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. Collision coverage kicks in when your motorcycle collides with another vehicle or object. Gap insurance, on the other hand, covers the difference between the actual cash value of your motorcycle and the amount you owe on a loan or lease.

By having these insurance coverages in place, you can ensure you have better protection in the event of a total loss. Carefully review your insurance policy and understand the specific provisions and limitations of your coverage. Never hesitate to have a motorcycle accident attorney explain the terms of your coverage to you following a crash.

What Happens to Your Totaled Motorcycle?

Once your motorcycle is declared a total loss, you have several options for disposing of it. One option is to transfer the title to the insurance company, allowing them to take possession of the motorcycle. In this case, the insurance company will typically sell the motorcycle at auction or to a salvage yard.

Alternatively, you may choose to keep the motorcycle and sell it yourself. However, it’s essential to consider that the value of a totaled motorcycle may be significantly lower than its pre-accident value, and potential buyers may be skeptical of purchasing a motorcycle with a salvage title.

If your motorcycle is severely damaged and unsalvageable, you can opt to scrap it for parts. Salvaging usable parts from a totaled motorcycle can help recoup some losses.

Another option is to donate the motorcycle to a charitable organization. This allows you to contribute to a good cause while also potentially being eligible for a tax deduction.

Lastly, depending on the extent of the damage, you may choose to rebuild and repair your motorcycle. However, remember that rebuilt motorcycles may have limitations regarding resale value and insurance coverage, so you must consider the potential drawbacks before pursuing this option.

Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident and a totaled motorcycle can be overwhelming, especially when considering the financial and legal implications. This is where a motorcycle accident attorney can be your greatest ally. They have the knowledge and skills to manage the complex world of insurance claims and ensure that your rights are protected.

A motorcycle accident attorney can carefully review the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, including any potential loopholes or limitations that may affect your claim. They can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your totaled motorcycle.

A motorcycle accident attorney can identify any additional parties liable for the accident, such as the other driver involved or the manufacturer of a defective motorcycle part. This can open the possibility of pursuing a personal injury claim to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Legal Options for Dealing with a Total Loss Claim


Dealing with a total loss claim on your motorcycle can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. After all, not only have you lost your beloved bike, but now you also have to deal with insurance claims. Understanding your legal options in this situation is important so you can make informed decisions and ensure you receive fair compensation for your loss.

One option is to file a claim directly with your insurance company. In many cases, the insurance company will assess the value of your motorcycle and offer you a settlement based on that value. However, know that insurance companies often undervalue motorcycles, which means the settlement offer may not reflect the true value of your bike. In this case, you have the right to negotiate with the insurance company and provide evidence of the actual value of your motorcycle, such as receipts for recent repairs or upgrades.

If you’re not satisfied with the settlement offer from your insurance company, another option is to seek legal representation from an experienced attorney. An attorney who regularly handles insurance claims can oversee the claims process and advocate for your rights. They will have the knowledge and skills to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure you receive fair compensation.

Additionally, an attorney can explore other legal options, such as filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party if your motorcycle was totaled in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. They can guide you through the legal process, gather evidence to support your case, and fight for your rights in court.

When dealing with a total loss claim for your motorcycle, you should always understand your legal options. Whether you decide to negotiate with your insurance company or seek legal representation, the goal is to ensure you receive fair compensation for your loss. By taking action and exploring your legal options, you can confidently navigate this challenging situation and get back on the road as soon as possible.

What is GAP Insurance?

GAP insurance, short for Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance, is a supplementary coverage option that can prove invaluable if your motorcycle is totaled in an accident. When an insurance company declares your motorcycle a total loss, they typically base their payout on the actual cash value (ACV) of the bike at the time of the accident. However, the ACV of a motorcycle can depreciate significantly, leaving you with a settlement that may not cover the outstanding loan or lease balance.

This is where GAP insurance comes in to fill the gap between the ACV and the remaining balance on your loan or lease. By purchasing GAP insurance, you protect yourself from a financial burden in the event of a total loss. It ensures that you are not left paying out-of-pocket for the difference between the insurance payout and what you still owe on your loan or lease.

While not required by law, GAP insurance is highly recommended, especially if you have financed your motorcycle. It provides peace of mind knowing that you won’t be stuck with a hefty debt obligation if your motorcycle is totaled.

What About My Other Motorcycle Accident Damages?

Motorcycle Accident

When your motorcycle is totaled in an accident, and the insurance company deems it a total loss, you may wonder what happens to the other damages you incurred. While getting compensated for your motorcycle is important, also understand that you may be entitled to more than just the bike’s value.

In addition to the value of your motorcycle, you may recover damages for other losses you experienced in the accident. This can include damages to your personal property, such as riding gear or accessories damaged or destroyed in the crash. For example, if your bike had expensive aftermarket upgrades or customizations, these may also be considered when determining the total amount of damages.

Furthermore, if you sustained any injuries in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income. Keep thorough records of all medical treatment and expenses related to the accident, as this documentation will be essential when pursuing a claim for these damages.

When your insurance company totals your motorcycle, remember that you may be entitled to more than just the value of the bike. You can also pursue damages for personal property and injuries. Consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for all your damages.

A motorcycle accident attorney can ensure you understand your rights and options, and they can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to maximize your compensation. They will work diligently to gather all relevant evidence, including medical records, accident reports, and proof of damages, to build a strong case for your claim.

Were You Recently Involved in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Having your motorcycle declared a total loss by the insurance company can be a stressful and confusing experience. You should understand the implications of this determination and the options available to you. By working with a motorcycle accident attorney, you can best protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your totaled motorcycle.

Reaching out to a qualified attorney is the first step towards building a solid case and receiving the support you need. A skilled lawyer will listen to your side of the story and identify liable parties. They can review the coverage available for both property damage and any injuries you suffered. Damages can be extensive, so you want a professional calculating your losses and negotiating the settlement you deserve.

Consultations are free, so never wait to schedule a meeting with a trusted motorcycle accident attorney. Doing so can give you peace of mind and ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.