went through this with my RT. Now I have an LT!
My neighbor backed into my RT one morning about three months ago, and the bike tipped over. She left a note. Neither one of us expected the repair estimate would be $5000! Apparently, the subframe that holds the fairing in place was bent ONE-HALF INCH to the side, thus driving the cost way up. Whatever.
The retail on the bike was $6-$8000. That put us right at the 80% cut-off for this insurance company's totaling threshold. I was able to avoid having them total it, still got the full $5000 damages, and I fixed the bike myself for $800 (sans the subframe). I then sold the bike and bought an LT with the residual proceeds from the insurance and the sale. It was basically a free upgrade.
So, here are seven ideas for your consideration:
1. Be VERY POLITE to the insurance rep.
Joke around, ask about the weather there, etc. Communicate well and follow up. It turned out that the insurance company wanted to total my bike, but the rep recommended not doing so because "she thought I wouldn't want that." Heck, they didn't even send an adjustor out - just a check for the full amount requested. It's good to cultivate a double-agent on the inside.
2. Ask how they value vehicles.
The company I dealt with used NADA guides. Look up the NADA guides and find the range for your vehicle ($6-$8k for my RT).
3. Determine how you're going to push the upper limits of that range of values.
The higher you can push the value of your bike, the smaller your repair estimate will be in comparison. Most companies have a percentage threshold at which they will automatically total the bike. For example: if you have a bike with a $10k retail value and $5k in damages, you're at 50%, which is below the totaling threshold for most companies. Conversely, if your bike is worth $6k, that same $5k repair estimate is now 83% of the value of the bike, which is sure to be totaled. So, start adding up the farkles you've installed permanently. Lights, GPS, shelf, etc etc etc etc.... get that value HIGH. Be ready to send in pics of your farkles along with print-outs of retail values IF requested.
4. Explicitly ask them not to total your bike
. But don't sound needy on the issue, either. Weakness is an invitiation to open negotiations. You might get lowballed by an insurance rep who is aspiring to a management position.
5. Document everything.
If you talk to an insurance rep, write down what that person told you & when. If there is a later discrepancy (as I had... a $500 "omission"), you can politely refer back "to you conversation of the 15th, wherein you indicated that the HID lighting was correctly included in the valuation of this vehicle."
6. If it appears they might total the bike, start calculating your collateral damage.
You might be entitled to the cost of a rental vehicle from the time of the collision until they cut the check. You might have medical coverage issues. Be sure to include the cost of the repair estimate itself. Transportation to the hospital? Towing and storage costs of the battered LT? See what hidden costs you come up with upon reflection.
7. If they do total the bike, any farkle not permanently installed should disappear.
I'll leave it to you to determine the definition of a "permanent" install.
And I note that if the bike is totaled, you'll get the full retail value of the bike as it was on the date of loss. Thus, you will not have any economic loss by way of the accident. LT's are showing up in the classifieds here at great prices. So, totaling the bike is not the end of the world.
I wish you and your wife a very speedy recovery.