How Can I Keep, Fix or Repair My Motorcycle After an Accident?

When Is a Motorcycle Totaled?

Motorcycles are totaled by the insurance company in the vast majority of our motorcycle accident cases. Of course, our cases always involve an injury.

But we have seen motorcycles totaled when there was almost no visible damage.

Often, the insurance company won’t even send an appraiser to the repair shop to inspect your motorcycle. They just call the shop and ask the shop to email photos of the motorcycle.

In New York, the motorcycle will be totaled if the cost to repair is 75% or more of the motorcycle value.

Why are Motorcycles Totaled?

Often, the fork and/or frame is bent, there is a crack in the motor or other parts, and the cost to repair the motorcycle is just too much compared to the value of the motorcycle.

The damage to the motorcycle in this photo doesn’t look too bad but if you look closely at the photo you can see cracks on the fairing as well as damage to the gas tank and handlebar. Not so visible was that the fork was bent. The motorcycle was totaled.

damage on totaled motorcycle

The insurance company totaled the motorcycle because of this damage

Can I Keep My Motorcycle if the Insurance Company Totals It?

Yes, you can keep your motorcycle if the insurance company says it is a total loss.

Many of our clients are attached to their motorcycle and want to keep it at any cost. We have had clients who know how to repair or rebuild it and clients who built a custom motorcycle and wanted to rebuild it.

What to Consider if You Decide to Keep Your Totaled Motorcycle

The motorcycle is your property and it is always your choice whether to keep it or not. However, there are consequences you need to consider if you decide to keep your motorcycle.

Salvage Title

If you keep your motorcycle once it is totaled by the insurance company you will have a salvage title. A salvage title will significantly reduce the value of your motorcycle and affect your insurance.

Read about salvage titles at Edmunds.


If you have a salvage title your insurance premium will likely be higher and you may have difficulty finding an insurance company willing to insure a motorcycle with a salvage title.


The insurance company will deduct a few hundred dollars from the money they pay you for your totaled motorcycle. Most totaled motorcycles have a salvage value of $500-800. Whatever the salvage value is, your insurance company will deduct that from the money they pay you.

Motorcycles Financed With a Bank Loan

If you keep your motorcycle with a salvage title, the bank will need to be paid in full whether or not the money you receive from the insurance company is enough to pay off the loan.

Resale Value

You wouldn’t want to buy a motorcycle with a salvage title for the same amount as a motorcycle with an unbranded title. So, don’t expect to sell your motorcycle for full value if the title is branded as salvage. A salvage title will significantly reduce the value of your motorcycle.

How Can I Keep My Motorcycle When it is Totaled?

Just tell the insurance company that you want to keep your total motorcycle.

The insurance company will pay you for the damage to your motorcycle less the salvage value.


$7,500 motorcycle value
$500    salvage value
$7,500 amount you receive if you do not keep your motorcycle
$7,000 amount you receive if you keep your motorcycle

As noted above, you will receive a salvage title for your motorcycle.

If you’re in New York, read what you need to know about Salvage Branding and the New York Salvage Vehicle Examination Program.

If you want to repair your motorcycle, always use a qualified motorcycle repair shop unless you’re highly experienced.

What Should I Do if I Don’t Have Collision and the Car’s Insurance Won’t Pay Enough for my Motorcycle?

We highly recommend collision coverage for motorcycles. If you don’t have collision coverage on your motorcycle you’ll probably find that the other driver’s insurance won’t pay you 100% of your motorcycle’s value.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in New York, we will represent you for free for your motorcycle damage claim.

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Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Motorcycle Injury Attorney Rob Plevy, Esq.

Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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