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To report or not to report... renter's insurance
Old 08-14-2010, 04:47 AM   #1
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To report or not to report... renter's insurance

I just had a brand new bicycle stolen. It was my first ride on this bike, just a week after purchase. Ouch. I stupidly locked it with a cable lock in front of a store, and it was gone when I exited a half hour later.

So I'm now left with the dilemna of whether to report this to Allstate, my renter's insurance company. The bike purchase cost was about $1400, and my deductible is $500, so presumably I'd get about $900, which is nothing to sneeze at.

On the other hand I've heard people say it's really bad to report losses on homeowners/renters insurance because they will raise your rates.

My thinking is that it's probably worth reporting this loss. I can't see them raising my rates that much; this loss does not reflect anything bad about the covered property.

Anyone else have experiences to share with reporting a loss like this?

BTW, the Visa Signature credit card that I purchased it with provides $500 worth of theft protection for the first 90 days, so it looks like I could actually be made whole together with the renter's insurance!
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:08 AM   #2
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I dont have an advice for insurance claim, but recently I was shocked to learn that those combination locks can be opened so quickly.

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Old 08-14-2010, 06:55 AM   #3
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Some combo locks are easier than others. My buddy picks locks as a hobby and he could pick my front door open in a few minutes, but when I challenged him to open a 3-dial combo lock he wasn't able to do anything but try all possible combos one after another. It took something like a half hour and he still couldn't get it open (must have missed the correct combo!).

I just tried the video method on a 3-dial combo luggage lock I have, and it didn't work. But a much heavier 4-dial combo lock I used to own was incredibly insecure: easily cutting off the plastic parts exposes the setting mechanism, and then it's just a matter of aligning four obvious marks to open the lock.

I used a very secure key lock on my bike, but used a relatively lightweight cable thinking I'd be okay since the bike was within sight of a window the cashiers can see out of, but apparently I was wrong. Lesson learned: U locks or nothing for me.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:30 AM   #4
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I had an accident with the motorhome two winters ago. It cost a fair amount to fix. My insurance rates did not increase and I just got my notice for rates for the coming year and there continues to be no change. FWIW.

I would be interesting to have some real data on this issue. How much is myth, never disabused by insurers as they don't mind discouraging claims? How much is fact? How much is seeing patterns where there is none? No idea, I only have my own experience. N=1.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:41 AM   #5
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Found this on car insurance rate increases: How Much Do Claims Increase My Auto Insurance Rates - carsdirect.com

Generally on rate increases, but no citations to any hard data: Will Filing An Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates? (insurance companies differ, certain claims are red flags)

More info but again with little supporting data: Claims that boost your insurance rates (one claim on homeowner's policy probably won't make a difference, but certain red flag claims)
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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2 things:

1) to lock my bike i use a u lock and a cable made for locking bikes. ideally, i girth hitch a wheel to the frame with the cable (which has a loop on each end of it). i then use the u lock to lock frame, other wheel and to the bike rack or pole (a trick i learned from living in new orleans, try picking up the street sign if that is your option--sucks to lock it up and all they have to do yank the pole). throw the other end of the cable onto the u and they will have a pickle. typically, it is easier for them to cut the bike rack, but how i lock my bike they would have to carry it and they can't just pop my wheels off either. and if they do carry it off, they'll have a hell of time cutting the u lock. i also operate on the philosophy that thieves are inherently lazy, so while my bike may be worth a bit more, their work/reward analysis leads them to the easy score 99% of the time.

2) about 4 years ago, some broke into my house in new orleans and stole my macbook. i turned it into insurance and got ironically, about $900. fast forward to this fall. my wife was shopping for our homeowners insurance. she gave all the companies just her information, gathered the info and we made a decision off of that. we picked our company and when they plugged in my information, that stupid claim showed up (different insurance companies as well). our homeowners premium went up about $1000 b/c of it. seems they don't really investigate what it is, just if you have a claim. so, we now have as high as deductible as possible. if we're going to make a claim, it's going to be a big one. plus i believe insurance should be for the really big stuff.

sucks to hear about your bike. i'm not sure how a claim would affect renter's premiums, as renter's is really cheap. if you are going to be renting for the next 5 years, may not be a big deal...and don't ride expensive bikes around town and drop $75-$100 for nice locks.

ps, i'm always interested in bike porn, if you wanted to someone to empathize in your loss, you can post a picture.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:08 AM   #7
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To me $1400 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a bike. So what if it is 5 pounds lighter than a $50 bike. If 5 pounds is a lot of weight, then shed it off one's body instead.

BTW, you may need a police report to file with your Visa card.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about this, F4N. I also have Allstate Renter's insurance in the city. Sounds like a great solution instead of riding MUNI. I would vote to go ahead and claim it and ignore Oilspill's remarks.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:17 AM   #9
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To me $1400 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a bike....
Good to know. What would you consider worth $1400?

I would probably report it to the insurance company.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:56 AM   #10
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A single covered loss value greater than the yearly premium should be filed. You would need to pay 10% additional for more than 10 years to lose. My recollection is renters insurance has a much lower premium then the value of the bike, so it makes sense to file.

I think filing has a greater impact on new rate quotes than renewal rates.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:35 PM   #11
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If I were pretty confident I would recover $900, I'd file the claim. If the insurance company raised my rates, I'd drop the policy after pocketing $900 clams. I tend to self-insure for these kinds of things anyway.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:57 PM   #12
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If I were pretty confident I would recover $900, I'd file the claim. If the insurance company raised my rates, I'd drop the policy after pocketing $900 clams. I tend to self-insure for these kinds of things anyway.
I pay $220 something/year for $20,000 worth of coverage plus more importantly, liability.
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:41 PM   #13
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I saw a guy lock his middle of the road bike with a very heavy chain and Medeco lock. (this chain was so heavy that I doubt any bolt cutters could cut it.)

I asked him if he had had his bike stolen- he said no, but that he had been mugged and this chain makes him feel safer. You would practically have to be Conan to swing the thing.

Ha
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:09 PM   #14
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I think it takes more than one claim every few years to trigger a tripwire. If you haven't claimed anything in 3-4 years then it's worth filing this one.

A police report (along with the reports filed on whatever other bikes have been stolen) might also help the police decide that they have a theft ring on their hands and perhaps step up a little enforcement effort.

I know this won't bring your bike back, but how much premium would you save by raising the deductible to $1000-$2000?

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To me $1400 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a bike. So what if it is 5 pounds lighter than a $50 bike. If 5 pounds is a lot of weight, then shed it off one's body instead.
Such supportive commentary. Does it help the OP in this thread, or are you just trolling?
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:13 PM   #15
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I know this won't bring your bike back, but how much premium would you save by raising the deductible to $1000-$2000?
This is actually a good point. If one is reluctant to file a claim for less than $1000, for example, it probably makes little sense to pay a higher premium for a deductible of less than that. One could then use the premium savings to "self insure" for small losses.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:17 PM   #16
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Such supportive commentary. Does it help the OP in this thread, or are you just trolling?
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:22 PM   #17
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:26 PM   #18
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When a basic item is needlessly converted to a luxury item, one is just asking for trouble.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:38 PM   #19
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:08 AM   #20
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Wouldn't a person need to report the bike stolen from his/her home to be covered by home owners insurance?
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