Insurance woes - a follow-up question

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by BigBadLou, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    The other thread about an FBO putting a hole in a wing and the airplane being down for 5 months reminded me of my experience where my airplane was damaged by another party and was down for 2 months.

    In this case, has anyone ever been successful in making the guilty party provide a free rental (dry) or at least reimburse for dry rental? When a monkey does something stupid and puts a $43k hole through a composite wing, why should the pilot owner suffer and not fly (for 5 crazy months which would drive me nuts)?
    In the automotive world, if somebody wrecks my car and it is down for repairs, their insurance company gives me a comped rental. And while yes, it is just a crappy rental junker, it is better than nothing.

    So I reiterate my question: has anyone been successful in getting a free or comped rental?

    I would like to know for future reference in case I get unlucky again. Not that I am planning on having my airplane damaged but I realize that people do all sorts of stupid sh*t.
     
  2. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Yes, happens all the time when damage occurs to aircraft used commercially because it is easy to show monetary damages. I have never heard of someone with a private GA aircraft pursuing a loss of use claim, but it is a legally valid claim.
     
  3. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    I have seen it done when the FBO that caused the damage admitted fault, and allowed the aircraft owner use of one of the FBO aircraft in exchange while repairs were being made. It was done mainly as a customer service type of thing, aka "we screwed up but really want to earn your business back".

    And as Clip said, I've also seen it on commercial aircraft, because with regular use and known operational expenses, it is easy to determine the value of loss of use. If my personal Citabria was damaged, it would be hard to really calculate how much use was lost, because I only fly it sporadically.
     
  4. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think it happens quiet often in the higher-end world (private jets, etc.), even for "personal use" owners. Of course, those owners/operators have better resources to pursue such claims. Assuming the other party or their insurance company doesn't simply agree to it, you've likely got to get lawyers involved. Much easier to justify that kind of legal expense when you're talking about a multi-million dollar aircraft that costs a few thousand per hour to operate than when the airplane at issue is a $50-100k single engine. As others noted, it's probably a legally valid and enforceable claim in most states, it's just a matter of how much it's going to cost, and how long it will take, to pursue.
     
  5. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    With your personal car, you're actually the one who pays for it through increased premiums. You paid up front and recouped the benefit if you file a claim.

    I'd be curious to know if there's a similar kind of coverage available for personal aircraft.
     
  6. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    That works if you are lucky to get damaged by an FBO with aircraft. If not, how would you go about it? Imagine having your airplane down for 5 months during a great flying season. That sure would make a pilot extremely unhappy. Many pilots I know plan nice family vacations for a few weeks. Not having an airplane would scrap the whole vacation.

    Negative. I meant it in a way that if you receive damage and the other party is at fault, their insurance will pay for your repairs and your rental car. I never had to ask my insurance company for a car rental whenever we got hit by someone else's fault.
    So I was extending that logic to the aviation world.
    And I see what you mean about paying higher premiums myself for my screw-ups. I too wonder if there's an insurance carrier that offers this coverage. Not that I'm interested. Only curious.

    If I was in that situation (5 months), I'd get checked out in some friend's airplane and pay them a dry rate to borrow their toy. And I'd sure-as-heck expect the insurance company (or FBO or whoever is at fault) to pay the dry rate. So anybody done this in the GA world?
     
  7. bradg33

    bradg33 Cleared for Takeoff

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    There's a difference between what YOUR insurance company will pay (governed by your contract with that company, which probably doesn't provide for loss of use) and what someone else or their insurance company will pay (assuming they're at fault). The latter is governed by state law and what your "loss" is from that person's actions. I imagine most state's will allow for some version of "loss of use." That doesn't mean the other person's insurance is going to willingly pay it, though.
     
  8. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I understood what you meant. And now that I think of it, it may vary by state. Here in NY, I don't think you automatically get a rental car to cover your time without a vehicle, even if you're not at fault. And like @bradg33 says, the at fault party's insurance may not be willing to pay for it without a fight.
     
  9. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The other question you might ask is whether you can recover the dimunation in value between an aircraft with no damage history and now one with. This is clearly a recognized claim in most if not all states when it comes to cars, houses, motorcycles, etc. and I can tell insurance companies hate to compensate you for it, but that is exactly what they do when they “total” your car after an accident where the costs of repairs exceeds the repaired value. And, I would suspect it would apply to airplanes as well but will probably require some litigation to make the insurance company for the liable party pay. Given the numerous posts on POA under one thread title or another concerning damage history and it’s impact on value and sell- ability (expert opinions all), I don’t think it would be a stretch to make the claim and see what happens.
     
  10. Lindberg

    Lindberg Pattern Altitude

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    Whether it's a legitimate claim and whether you can get it or if the insurance company is two different questions.

    Loss of use is a perfectly valid type of damages in Texas, and the rental cost is a reasonable measure. I would think the other guy's insurance should cover it, but maybe not. In any case, there would likely be significant disagreement about what is a reasonable amount, especially for an infrequent flyer.

    If it were me, I'd rent during that time and include my rental costs in my settlement demand when all was said and done. The insurance company will want to exclude saved costs such as fuel and maintenance, and that's what makes a horse race.