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Old 08-24-2012, 03:24 PM   #1
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Fire - motorhome gone - what is value

Terrible - our 1997 Tropical w/slide and Tag, 454, upgrade SafeSteer, suffered a fire on tuesday the 21st and believed totaled ( according to Camping World) we are insured but are trying to figure the value so we may know how to proceede - ie. replace or give up? Our dream of full-timming appears to be shattered - just my social security. anyway, still in shock and very sad. Sorry for the rampling - really looking for assistance with value. Had so many personal items lost.

Thanks for all help.

Dale & Fe

1997 Trop I Cal M235 454 w/tag & 1 slide
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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Very sorry for your loss. Glad you weren't hurt.

Stewart & Kim. 2011 Serrano 31V, MaxForce 7 w/ Allison 6 Sp. Fiat 500 Sport Diesel Pusher.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:32 PM   #3
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Sorry for your loss Dale. Don't give up if it is your dream, you will succeed.

Can you fill us in on the cause of the fire? Maybe something there the rest of us can be on the lookout for.
Wayne and Susan
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:02 PM   #4
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Go to the NADA site. Go to RV pricing. Make sure you claim all the extras. Go over the list very carefully and add all the Goodies. Also see if you millage was low enough to add more value. Good Luck.
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32 years mechanic at Delta Air Lines 15 year motorhome service manager. 3 popups....2 travel trailers....5 motorhomes....loved them all.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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Rest assured that you wil have to educate yourself on the value of your unit. The insurance company just changed sides. You have already been blessed, now is the time to play offense not defense. So glad you are safe and keep up the RV dream
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:29 PM   #6
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My guess is it'll be one of 2 games with you insurance company.

The first is a value that you and your insurance company agreed on when the policy was written. This is the simplest, and the way I prefer to do business, but it's not always available.

The other is what they call an LKQ policy. Like Kind and Quality. Knowing full well they can't duplicate your coach, that number is what it will take to find a similar coach in similar condition and have it sitting ready to go in your driveway. This number is subject to a lot of interpretation and has screwed more people than you can believe. The insurance company will attempt to go to the NADA book and offer you a settlement based on that number alone. Don't let them do that by accepting that first offer. It sounds good at first thought, BUT.....

It's not likely, but say you just happen to know where a coach like the one described in the NADA book is offered for sale? Would you buy it without any inspections? Can you get it without paying any taxes on it? Transfer of title/plates? Who's paying the tab to deliver it to your home from 4 states away? See where I'm coming from? They should be held responsible for that. You need to be prepared to make sure they are?

To that end, it might help to keep one thought in mind. That claim is not closed until you sign off on it. They may act aloof towards settling, but rest assured, they have pressure from above to get this done. ASAP! Make sure they cover ALL your costs that are associated with the purchase of that replacement coach - or - settle on a number high enough that will let you afford to do that easily!

Sorry about the loss, and best of luck finding the replacement! -Al
1997 37' HR Endeavor, 275hp Cat, Freightliner
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:24 PM   #7
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Sorry to hear about your fire. For what it's worth, I just recently bought a 1998 tropical with a similar setup for slightly under 20k. PM me if you want more detail.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Another thing you might do is search for one for sale in your area. This would give you a comparable value. Sometimes the price on NADA isn't high enough for replacement. I did a quick search on Google and found one for $39,900. But that may not be the same as you had. Good Luck. Very glad you weren't hurt.
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:17 AM   #9
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Dale, sorry to hear about your fire. My wife and I went through this experience about 4 years ago. Our motorcoach was a total loss.

Poster Alhicks gave a great explanation of how insurance works. Read and reread his post several times. I wish I knew that when we were dealing with our loss. State Farm and I came to an agreement on the value of our coach. I used NADA and sales (RVTrader) to find a value we were happy with. We also adjusted the value somewhat for improvements I did that would raise the value on our coach. I even got them to adjust the value for the 90 gallons of diesel fuel we had on board. That wasn’t an easy sell. I had to really work with them in that one. Also we had them include removal of the chassis and the mound of debris, removal of some soil contaminated with hydraulic fluids, antifreeze and other containments as well as replacement of a shed that was damaged, a hedge that the firemen damaged with their hoses, and a section of grass that was scorched when the propane tanks blew and sent a flame across the lawn about 50 feet!

Since our coach burn to the ground, it was a total loss. The motorcoach contents were covered by our home insurance. This is where the work is! We had replacement coverage and had to list every single thing inside that motorcoach. Even down to the box of tissues. EVERYTHING. If you don’t list it you won’t get paid for it. My wife sat down and made a list room by room, compartment by compartment from her memory. I did the same thing, and then we compared notes. We made a third list be combining the items on our two list. Then I got current prices mostly using Amazon.com and included taxes and shipping, and estimated the age of the items. This is important.

State Farm accepted our list, and even allowed us to modify the list when we thought of something we missed like the alarm clock and the dried flower arrangement we had on the wall. Then the “fun” began.

With State Farm and their replacement policy, they paid me the deprecated value of our contents. Then when we replaced the contents they would pay us the difference between the “actual” value and what they had already paid us. We had to send in the receipts for each and every single item. Let me tell you it took a spread sheet to track everything.

Like Alhicks said each insurance company does things a little differently. Get to know your policy and how it works. Every single dollar is important. Paraphrasing the late Senator Everett Dirksen in the 1960s who said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” I would say A Dollar here, a dollar there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. It’s your money protect it well.

If there is anything I can do from a 1000 miles away, please let me know.
Good Luck, Be Safe and Above All, Don't Forget To Have Fun
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:18 AM   #10
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Dale & Fe, so sorry for your misfortune! I sure hope things will work out OK and you'll soon be back on the road! Good luck & God bless!

BTW- do you know what caused the fire?
Joe & Annette

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Old 08-25-2012, 09:43 AM   #11
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So sorry to hear of your loss. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR DREAM! Hang tough and keep us in the loop on your progress and your next RV.
Darrell and Candice
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:38 AM   #12
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We just experienced a fire also, I am really sorry for your loss and understand the feeling of frustration and sadness.

I strongly urge you and anyone familiar with your coach to sit down together and go cabinet to cabinet, drawers, storage compartments ect and make lists of everything you had. Our fire was 3/25/12 and we are still thinking of things we had that is not on our list yet. Be prepared for the tedious task of listing everything, arriving at your Replacement Cost and then the insurance company will send it to a 3rd party vendor to price it (assuming you had replacement cost for your contents on your motorhome policy or Homeowners).

I would strongly recommend when you start replacing items, label your receipts with the item number from your list as descriptions on receipts sometimes are not very good. DO NOT trust that the claims department will trust or work with you (I am an insurance broker and wrote my own insurance)! Document everything and come up with an organized system as it will become very labor intensive.

Also be very careful how you describe your personal property, your Homeowners policy has an exclusion for "accessory for motor vehicles"; so you will have some items the insurance company will exclude. For instance, my lawn chairs I listed as the Camping World descriptions and insurance company wouldn't pay for them until I had to argue that they are lawn chairs, I still haven't been paid for them. My patio carpet, EZ UP Tent/Awning, ect are some other items I have had the same issue with.

My tow bar, auxilliary braking, lube pump ect that were mounted on the vehicle the auto insurer refused to pay (same as Homeowners, Safeco) because they weren't factory installed equipment and they allege they enhance the performance or look of the vehicle. Needless to say, I am out thousands of dollars at this point in addition to the deductible and the frustration of dealing with this.

As for the value of your unit, don't rush to settle unles you had an agreed value or replacement cost policy, then if it is totalled you will get that amount and it is ok to settle. Otherwise, do your homework to get a good idea on the value of your unit. Unfortunately, values on units are much lower now as a result of the economy but that will benefit you on replacing your unit.

Stay as patient as you possibly can and you will get through it, and I really believe you will look back and be happily going down the road in your next RV!
Johnny Rotten
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:17 AM   #13
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Also to remember, if you feel you are being treated unfairly by your claims adjuster, you have the option of going to his superior. Another good advocate is your insurance Broker. They sold you the insurance and have a vested interest in keeping you as a client. The last straw is to mention the "L" word.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:02 PM   #14
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I'm sorry to hear about your loss.
Hopefully This will help with your settlement wether directly with the coach or with the contents. Dig up any and all pictures that you can inside and out. Try to think of anyone that has been around with a camera. Look at all these carefully and you might find things that you have overlooked.
And also to all others who have not experienced a loss yet, get a camera and take these pictures. Zoom in and take pictures of items of special value. Do this in your Sticks and Bricks as well! Then keep a copy of the records of these pictures in safe place. NOT in your MH or S&B.

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