and some thoughts on extended warranties and insurance.

Well my emergency fund has just been killed… luckily, somehow, I wasn’t!


On the way home from work Sunday morning, May 31st about 5:45 AM, I was coming up on my turnoff when I was rear ended on my motorcycle by someone street racing. Instinctively, I curled into a ball and went into a roll as my bike was knocked out from under me. The only thing I really remember is the horrid scraping sound my helmet made on the asphalt during one of my tumbles… the helmet was ruined and has a large gouge in it… so the first thing I want to tell everyone:

If you ride a motorbike wear your helmet!!

I might have died or been really hurt without it.

Anyway, I hadn’t heard or felt anything break and managed to get up… that was racing through my mind… get up before another car hits you! It was pitch black and the city hadn’t been maintaining the street lights (six lane road yet) and that stretch of road was still pitch black.

I immediately felt for my wallet and keys… my pants had been shredded on that side and I found my wallet in the road and all but $20 of the cash inside. (OK! I reverted to type… “Where’s my money?”)

I saw the two cars stopped up ahead about 4-500 yards and all I could make out was that they were small compacts… then they took off!! That’s right… hit and run! As soon as they saw me get up they took off.

I looked around for my bike and couldn’t see it anywhere… meanwhile, I’m bleeding from road rash on my arms and one leg. It took me almost 10 minutes to get someone to stop and call the police… my emergency cell phone was in the bike and I couldn’t find the bike.

Anyway the paramedics and police showed up and the paramedics were very upset because I wouldn’t go the hospital… stupid maybe… but all I seemed to have was superficial though extensive road rash.

After discussions with the officer about the the probability of finding the culprits (no witnesses, no lights, no security cameras to check) I decided a formal crash report was not called for though an “incident report” was filed just in case.

Why? First, the bike had no collision insurance… $400 a year (because of its age) on a bike I paid $4200 for. With the additional 3 years I’ve had it added to the depreciation after even a $500 deductible I “might” have gotten $1000.

I’m financially able to absorb a $4200 loss so I “Rolled The Bones”… this time though I got Snake Eyes.

Secondly, a formal crash report goes into the DMV records and when my insurance renewal came up in two months I would be rated up… higher premiums for three years even though I didn’t make a claim… they don’t care… I was involved in an accident so I would get to pay more.

Anyway I had them call my brother and he sent out one of the tow trucks as the fire department had located the bike almost 500 yards from point of impact… stopping only when it ran through a chain link fence.

Right now it’s sitting forlornly in front of my pickup with its back end crushed… totaled as the frame is bent. Surprisingly, it still starts and will move.

Monday morning I called the dealer and asked if any Burgmans in stock… two… a red and a black one… black one still in the crate. Told the salesman to prep it and I’d be in Tuesday to get it.

Here’s where having a relationship with a dealer (meaning they do all the service) helps out. They cut $500 off of the $5999 MSRP even though my particular bike is in high demand and cut the “build” fees as they are called for unpacking and doing all the pre-delivery work by a third… saving another $500.

I also opted for the Suzuki OEM Extended Warranty at another $600 for 72 months, unlimited miles. Normally I would not buy an extended warranty but there are a couple of good reasons to do so.

First, on motorbikes they are relatively inexpensive because the average motorcycle is not driven more than a couple of thousand miles a year… if that… so they have very few claims.

Second, it is a factory warranty good at any Suzuki dealer in the world.

Third, I was in getting a broken trunk latch fixed and a gentlemen with a bike and the same 6 year warranty that had 80,000 plus miles on it because he rode it 60 miles one way to work every day had a gear go bad in the transmission that trashed the trans… he was picking up his bike after $1800 worth of repairs and all he paid was a $50 deductible… no questions, no arguments from the warranty end.

And lastly, my particular model is sometimes a pain to work on as it has a lot of body panels that have to be removed and replaced in order to work on it so labor is higher.

So I’m going to give the extended warranty a try since I put lots of miles on the bike.

Finally, with sales tax and tag transfer, I sat down and murdered my emergency fund by writing a check for $7450.99. And got a new helmet from parts before leaving the dealership.

I did stop at my insurance agent to change over the insurance and since my new bike is an ’08 collision and comprehensive are only $200 a year… so for at least the next year or three until it depreciates too far and I’ve rebuilt my emergency fund I’m going to carry it.

So now you’ve heard what happened to me and how I handled things…

I’ve had to replace my primary means of transportation about 5 years earlier than I wanted too (trying to get 100,000 miles first, already had 45,000).

What would you personally have done different?

Do you feel comfortable enough to not carry certain kinds of insurance because you have a sufficient Emergency Fund?

Does having a good Emergency Fund change the priorities of what you will spend money on (i.e. like collision and comp.)?

Make you more willing to “Roll The Bones” as they say?

Photo credit: stock.xchng.