Q&A - Insurance for a classic
Q: I am the owner of a damaged Colnago Master Olympic Art Decor steel cycle frame. I purchased the frame about five years ago and have always considered it to be a classic, particularly because you can no longer buy one.
The rub here is that my solicitor has suggested the value of the frame is less than it was new because it is old now. My contention is that the frame is a classic and as such should have appreciated in value, or at least held its value. The frame was as new and perfect, prior to a collision with a cast iron post on a cycle path. It is now bent along its length and the rear triangle seatstay has been bent backwards by about an inch, so it’s a write-off.
What is your view of the frame as a classic? It was a smashing bike, really nice to ride, and
I would love to be able to replace it with like for like.
Ken Hammond, email
A: Your predicament underlines the common sense of going for an insurance policy that provides new for old replacement or, alternatively, gives a pre-agreed guaranteed write-off
valuation rather than a policy that includes a devaluation clause – or what I prefer to describe as a wriggle-out mechanism. You can argue your point, but unless you can provide solid evidence of an identical frame or two fetching the sort of money you’d like, then I guess you have about as much chance of getting it as Britain has of providing next year’s Tour winner.
I had a similar dispute over a written off car. The insurance company wanted to pay me £1,000 less than what the car was insured for – even though my valuation was backed by Glass’s Motoring Guide, the used car dealers”bible’. The argument went on for months and when policy renewal time came round they made the big mistake of not only putting the value at £500 more than it was the previous year but they also dipped into my bank account and took the premium – even though the car had by then been scrapped! I wrote to the company’s chairman: either they were trying to cheat me on my claim, or cheat me on the renewal, knowing that even if it had existed they were overstating the value. A threat to take out a criminal fraud prosecution was all it took to secure settlement in full and they even refunded both years’premiums – but, of course, I never got an apology.
Some would argue that all Colnago models are’classics’- the problem is that there is no precise definition of what is or is not a classic frame. Do we base it on being a great frame per se or (as is more likely to be the accepted case) on its vintage?
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