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I am totally out of my comfort zone on this and seeking your advice


HERO Maker

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Well, we are at one of those points in life when I need to seek wisdom from others who hopefully understand our individual situation and might have some insight as to which direction to go.

 

4 weeks ago this Wednesday, I had knee replacement surgery and was really glad that it could be just a partial replacement, as it fit the time schedule for me to be back down to the Texas/Mexico border to lead another two mission trips into Mexico in June and help with building projects at an orphanage.

 

1 week after my surgery, a pretty good size hail storm came across North TX / Collin County and sure enough our Teton 5th Wheel got hit. OK, so thanks to a great friend, who was letting us store our rig at his place while I was recovering, he let me know that there was some damage to sky lights and A/C covers the next day. Insurance sends someone out to look at it and while I am there explains that the amount of hail that hit the roof, even though you can’t see any roof damage will total the roof! I had never heard of that before. He explained it could take 6 to 18 months for it to show up in that the underlayment would have been damaged from the impact and separation would start and continue.

 

We have been waiting on the Ins. Co. to let us know what the final determination is and all they have said is that they are waiting to determine with the value is, but that it is totaled! That was a shock!

 

Oh! And yesterday, there was a huge storm that came across the same area (it’s on most news channels) and we had easily 3 to 5 inch hail that did more damage. Thankfully, our great friends were not here and we were able to move our HDT hauler into their garage for protection!

 

It will be interesting to hear what they claim value is since this was a custom build, stretched big Teton with about all the bells and whistles that you could put on it back in ‘04/’05. Purchase price then was $135,000 and we have the original build sheets showing all the options and what was done. Within a couple years of us buying this from the original owners, we all know what happened to Teton with their price increases and quality deficiencies, and ultimately their closure like so many other builders.

 

We love this home and it has been our home since November of 2008! It is owned by our HERO Makers Ministry and houses us, the missionaries, while we are on task on Mission Trips, and as we tour the country visiting with churches and groups who are interested in what we are doing for the Kingdom of God. We challenge others to be involved with us through sponsoring children at the orphanages, help in funding some of the main building projects that take place when we have groups of folks come down to help, and of course come and help with the projects and visit the children. A lot of folks actually understand that it takes something and someone to run and plan everything we do and they sponsor the Ministry financially for the Administration part. We are thankful and proud to partnership with so many people in this work, and give Him all the glory that He deserves!

 

I say all this to say that I’m now stuck! I really don’t know the next thing to do. We know that our purchase of this home was not of our doing, but orchestrated by Him, and He can do it again!

 

The insurance company is now asking when they can come and pick up the fiver after all of our stuff is out of it! Like I said, I’m only 4 weeks in recovery after the surgery. I don’t move around to quickly, and twice a week rehab has been pretty strenuous on me. But He doesn’t give us more than what He knows we can handle (with Him).

 

So I’m thinking, do I just take whatever offer I get from the Ins. company? Pay off the small loan on the rig and start to look for a replacement that is 2 or 3 years old? I’ve kind of heard of price ranges for New homes like ours, but they are usually starting about $100K above what this one sold for.

 

If they total me out on this, then they sell it for what price to whom? Am I able to purchase it back, thinking maybe I take the amount they give me and get it fixed and get this home back in shape again.

 

I’m not in a position to buy it back and then start piecing out everything in here to others, because I don’t have the place, staff, or time to do that. That is not my mission in life.

 

But if I can have it rebuilt for just about what they are giving me by totaling it, would that be a smart thing to do because it is a really great unit and built well? We love all the attention to detail that was originally put into it and it has some great systems that would be just unreachable for us in a 2 to 3 year old unit out there now without putting a lot of extra $$ out.

 

I’m into building homes for children who don’t have loving parents, not building homes for directors of a ministry. I would rather use the donated $$ for those kids and the many to follow!

 

Who of you have ever been in this very situation before? Had a claim and then the ins. company says the rig is not worth them fixing what is damaged and they total it! What have you done?

 

What formula does the ins. company use to determine when the total the rig?

 

We are thinking we’d like to stay in this home for another 5 years or more until it doesn’t make sense to do it the way we have been doing it, or we can’t do it? Maybe it’s time to change now into a motorhome, and downsize a bit? Maybe we are to come off the road and end the traveling the way we have done it and start flying again?

 

Would love to hear your ideas and thoughts?

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that we are a 501 © (3) tax exempt organization and would be able to receive a donation of a slightly used similar 5th wheel, or motorhome or $$ in replacing what these two storms have just taken away.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration in hearing me out on this new area of our life and letting our needs be known.

 

Bless y’all,

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I would not let them take it until they tell you what they are planning.

Also maybe a second opinion on the damage and the long term concerns would be in order. A complete new roof is expensive but not that expensive that it cannot be done. I am not sure of the structure but most repairs are worth doing. particularly on an quality unit.

Not that I don't trust insurance companies but If it is written off I am sure they have an RV dealer repair place that would love to get this trailer.

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"I’m into building homes for children who don’t have loving parents, not building homes for directors of a ministry. I would rather use the donated $$ for those kids and the many to follow!"

 

As a supporter of other ministries, I would prefer to say: "The director of ministry needs a home from which he can work to provide homes for the children." Spending money to repair the unit the Lord provided to allow you to better pursue your ministry is NOT a poor use of those $$. IMO.

 

Praying for the best solution to this issue. If you were anywhere near IL, I'd say come borrow our 5r until yours is fixed. (Although it would be a MAJOR comedown from a Teton!)

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Rocky,

 

I'm no insurance expert, but you should definitely have the option to keep it (or "buy it back") with the insurance settlement. Depending on the type of roof and what was actually damaged, I'd bet you could probably make repairs short of doing the whole roof now (fix AC and vent covers, etc.), and wait to see how it does. It might not be good as new, but if it doesn't leak you haven't invested much. The cost to buy it back should be pretty minimal--with the exception of a few appliances and wheels, most of the rest doesn't have much value to a junk yard.

 

I've been through that process with a car (the one I'm still driving). It's obviously a little different, but they gave me detailed market analysis with details of a number of comparable sales with their offer. The initial offer I got (which was with a very good insurance company) was more than I expected and I was satisfied with it, so there wasn't really any back-and-forth. I told them I was considering keeping the car, and they told me what I could have it for--about 10% of the offer. That sounded good, and the total loss claims agent got the bank who held the loan on the phone, and in a few minutes on the 3-way call, I had accepted the settlement, the authorized the payoff, and told them where to send the released title, with the rest in my bank account before the call ended.

 

Since it was more than 6 years old in SD, there was no title work needed--it doesn't get a salvage brand or anything like that. I'm not sure what the process is in Texas, but sometimes it involves showing what was repaired and where the parts came from and an inspection before issuing a rebuilt title. Obviously, being a trailer, it's probably still just as roadworthy un-repaired, so that shouldn't require much work.

 

In some respects, a lot of it boils down to what the salvage or buy-back cost is. If it's pretty minimal, there's not much risk in hanging on to it and delaying the roof replacement. Repairing the roof might be a little tougher, as that's not going to be cheap, and with a salvage history there will be some diminished value if you ever did want to sell it. Definitely don't let them have it though until you're satisfied with the claim. Usually they want to do that quickly, as generally speaking the vehicle is towed to a towing company's lot and is accruing storage charges that the insurance company has to pay. Usually those rates are a good bit more expensive than where you are now. ;-) There shouldn't be any rush if you explain you're not looking for storage reimbursement.

 

One thing I would do is start putting together a "spec sheet" listing everything on the trailer. I'm sure you have lots of stuff that's been added or replaced better than new over the life of the trailer, and it might take you a while to remember everything.

 

Good luck getting it all figured out!

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Boy has your post got my head spinning. Wonder what Progressive would do if this happened to us? The recent Tornado that passed in eyesight of us also got our attention. Think I need to talk with Progressive. On the Teton owners site, in February's magazine 2 Teton"s are listed. On an 04 other 05. Both are Grand's.

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I can appreciate the sense that your time and the money need to go into ministry. One of those vocation things. But the ministry needs you safely, adequately housed and thereby able to implement your sense of vocation. So I hope you'll listen to Jeff-C IL.

 

As for the trailer, I'd hope for some kind of buy-back arrangement and think David Dixon is on track. My dad had a well-cared for car with 100K miles that the insurance company wanted to total. He worked out an arrangement to keep the car, got it fixed, and drove it another 54K miles. He was an accountant who knew the car and how it had been cared for. You knew that trailer and how it's been cared for.

 

You're in our thoughts, knees and all.

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I can give some info from a Canadian standpoint.

 

When my rig's insurance was switched over from Alberta to BC last year, I wanted to in sure the trailer for replacement value. Even after providing supporting documentation, the very most the Insurer would allow was 36k. Even If I wanted to insure it for replacement by a new trailer, they wouldn't go for 150 to 180k.

 

Dave Cobb's repair guy in Washington State might be a good person to talk to for an opinion.

 

Re poor use of money, I disagree, you need a roof to do your job effectively.

 

X2, re what Jeff said.

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When an insurance company decides to total a unit, be it a car, trailer, truck or whatever it means that they have determined the value of the vehicle on the open market at that time is $x and the repairs to return it to the condition 5 minutes before the loss is $x+. They of course have absolutely no skin in the game emotionally. It is much easier for them just to pay for the unit, sell it to a salvage yard with a salvage title and be done with it. If they ok repairs on the unit they run the risk of a customer(you) not happy with the outcome, further problems and litigation can arise. Insurance companies do not like that.

1. Once they pay your claim(the value of the vehicle 5 minutes before the loss) you can turn around and ask to purchase the unit for the salvage value, which likely will be determined by various companies in that business bidding on the item.

A friend of mine was in the salvage automobile business buying cars and trucks from insurance companies which were considered total losses and he sold them at a significant profit to a waiting public with salvage titles and most were repaired and put back on the road.

2. As you have said, you have neither the time, place, skill, or inclination to oversee the repairs of this unit if you purchased it for salvage value from the insurance company. Before you make that decision, I would let a trusted RV repair person give you an estimate of exactly what would be required to put it back to the condition before the loss. It sounds like the more expedient route would be to let this unit go and maybe take a trip up to the dealer in Kansas that used to manufacture Hitchhiker 5th Wheels or other dealer and check out those options.

 

You are overwhelmed with several problems on several fronts. He would prefer that you take them one at a time. Although your Ministry is very important to you, it is even more important that you take the time to solve these problems completely so you can return to the Ministry's work 100%. We are praying for the best outcome.

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Rocky and Rocks Bride,

 

Sorry you are having to go through this while recuperating. Visited with Rick today and sort of have an idea of what you went through. My only suggestion is to do what you feel is right and will give you peace of mind. Best wishes

 

Rod.

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Rocky,

 

You know you are in our prayers. Can't give advice on the insurance - I think the guys here have said good things.

 

I just wanted to suggest that when you are taking your possessions out of the totaled trailer that you remember to consider things like BlueDot that you'll want if you go to a different trailer.

 

Eat your elephant one bite at a time....

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Rocky,

 

My wife is an Insurance Adjuster and has been in he business nearly twenty years.

 

She currently handles large loss commercial claims, but has experience with auto claims.

 

If you care to send me your contact info via pm, I can get you two talking and she should be able to give you your true options.

 

We had a neighbor who had a flood that the insurance company was going to pay out about 800.00 and when she got through, they wound up cutting a check for over 22k.

 

Please let me know if we can help,

 

John

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As we hear, Rocky's trailer was smashed again by an even worse storm,and Rocky had to go to the hospital.

Hello Friends, we just got a call from one of our HDT brothers concerned Rock was in the hospital. Just want to clarify the sequencing here:

 

3/16 - Rock had a partial knee replacement

3/23 - the Teton got got hammered with nearly 2" hail, and the insurance company said they were going to total the rig except they've never come up with a value

4/7 - Rock suffered some extremely painful side effects from his post-surgery pain meds. HUH? It was alarming and our internist's on-call doc sent us to ER. The emergency staff took great care of him and we were able to LEAVE the hospital a few HOURS later. On the way home Rock told me as he was being wheeled into ER on a gurney a nurse asked, "If your heart were to stop, do you want to be revived?" That little revelation almost stopped my own heart while I was driving. Rock is still recovering slowly, still hurting - especially after physical therapy - but is no longer on those pain meds that caused such a problem. He gets better everyday, but is still working through the challenges of recovery from surgery.

4/8 - In the morning Rock got an email from the insurance company, again reiterating that the trailer is totaled, but the value of the Teton still has not been established. At 6 pm 3.5"-5" hail hit the property here and hammered our roof one more time. This afternoon a friend got up there to take pictures... big holes in the roof, a solar panel smashed.

 

If someone will explain how to post photos, I'd be glad to show off a number of shots of incredible hailstones alongside a ruler. We were in our friends' insulated metal building on the first of two floors. It sounded like an elephant stampede on the roof, then an occasional cannon ball would score a direct hit. We are in Wylie, TX, which the news has said caught the worst of the storm. By God's great grace and our friends' generous invitation, we were able to shelter the 770 and the Smart in a bay in their building.

 

I'm so grateful for all your kind support of my darling. We appreciate your good counsel and your prayers. We know all will turn out well, but walking through the challenge is... well... challenging. It's so comforting to know we aren't going through this alone. Thank you for your help and friendship.

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As we hear, Rocky's trailer was smashed again by an even worse storm,and Rocky had to go to the hospital.

 

FYI Rocky & Sheri are safely at our home. Yes last night they did receive additional damage to the trailer. The decision to total the trailer by the insurance company is a decision that was made prior to last nights storm. Rocky and Sheri rode out the storm in our shop and were not injured from the storm.

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Howdy Rocky,

 

So sorry to hear of your troubles. I am NOT an insurance adjuster and don't pretend to be one on the internet, that said I am "assuming" they are totaling your trailer because of its age. I have been told by folks who are supposedly in the know that the regular RV has a ten year life span and after that point its value drops to where insurance companies don't see any sense in repairing it as its useful life has expired. We all know that there are many RV's more then ten years old still in wonderful condition and many ten year old RV's were built better then what is now being sold as new, but the bean counters in most cases have no real life knowledge of such things and judge things by a table in some book.

 

I just had the entire roof replaced on my 45 foot trailer, cost 18,000 dollars, which my insurance company paid for, however my trailer was only two years old and my policy covered deprecation and repair inflation costs. I would advise getting an independent appraisers opinion and that of a qualified RV repair shop, if the buy back price and the cost of quality repair work to your advantage your good to go. However BEFORE buying the unit back and getting it repaired I think it wise to make darn sure you will be able to get the trailer insured after it has been totaled and what kind of tile it will be issued and how that may affect future resale value. You don't want to buy back a trailer sink a lot of money into it and find you can't insure or sell it.

 

Dave

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When my rig's insurance was switched over from Alberta to BC last year, I wanted to in sure the trailer for replacement value. Even after providing supporting documentation, the very most the Insurer would allow was 36k. Even If I wanted to insure it for replacement by a new trailer, they wouldn't go for 150 to 180k.

 

When I was shopping around for insurance earlier this year, I got into some of the details on this. I had gotten an agreed value quote cheaper than what I was paying, and considered switching. Because I've owned the rig more than 2 years (I think), they wouldn't use a record of my purchase to support the agreed value on the policy. Both companies would want an appraisal if I were to either obtain a new policy or increase the agreed value. Evidently one of the preferred sources of an appraisal would give them what they wanted with photos and documentation, but the cost (~$300) would have negated the savings for a couple of years. Of course, the nice thing with agreed value is that the settlement in a total loss is set up front, which to me at least seemed like a less risky approach for both underwriter and policyholder.

 

When an insurance company decides to total a unit, be it a car, trailer, truck or whatever it means that they have determined the value of the vehicle on the open market at that time is $x and the repairs to return it to the condition 5 minutes before the loss is $x+. They of course have absolutely no skin in the game emotionally. It is much easier for them just to pay for the unit, sell it to a salvage yard with a salvage title and be done with it. If they ok repairs on the unit they run the risk of a customer(you) not happy with the outcome, further problems and litigation can arise. Insurance companies do not like that.

In the case of my insurance company, they used a 60% threshold--if the estimated repair cost was greater than 60% of the undamaged value, they deemed it a total loss. I'm sure others use different thresholds, but they're generally not going to try to spend 99% of the value on repairing it for you.

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Holy schneikies! Am I a complete Northwesterner if I read 5" hail as 'boy that's some deep hail to shovel with a bum knee'.........not 5" meteors falling out of the sky!! Man that is something else. Keep your chin up Rocky it'll all come around.

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Sorry to hear of your misfortune (an understatement!).

 

"Vote" for chatting with "Vegas Flyer's" DW (the ins adjuster) for opinions and insight - and thoroughly checking your

"situation" if you buy back, as Mr. Cob indicated.

 

IIRC - one of the forum members had a trailer totaled in the past in an accident.

Main(?) damage was tweaked frame(?) - and was later purchased by a buyer from a/the salvage company.

 

The buyer contacted the former owner wondering why the trailer he purchased "as is" didn't "track" properly,

or something to that effect. (Looks good - tows bad).

 

Maybe he (former owner) will chime in about the pay-off details.

 

IMO - have someone do a (very) temporary roof covering to keep the weather out, and take your merry old time to explore your options at a pace that is convenient to you!

 

.

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Rocky,

 

Sorry to hear of the troubles. Good advice above. Just be aware you can seek as many second opinions as you need to make a rational decision and the insurance company cannot force you to use any of their "preferred providers" if you choose not. However if you choose to repair they will have you sign a waver of future damage and cannot be forced to pay more than the totaled value for repairs.

For Rock's Bride, unfortunately hospitals (ER's) are required by law to ask about "Do Not Resuscitate " wishes on arrival. There are legal ramifications to not abiding by those wishes that are severe for the doctors and nurses and also unfortunately there's no sensitive way to approach the issue in an emergency. Not saying it's right, just the law.

To you both, God's grace and speedy recovery.

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