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Thread: insurance claim advice

  1. #1

    Default insurance claim advice

    I am (or was) the proud owner of a drop-dead-gorgeous 1982 Newson A mandolin with ridiculously flamed maple, a fine aged patina, and amazing woody tone, that needed some repairs. I contacted and eventually shipped it out to Paul Newson, who did a spectacular job on the repairs for a reasonable price, and sent it back to me a few weeks ago. The shipper, unfortunately, did not do such a great job, and it arrived with the neck horribly broken at the wrist. The HS case it was shipped in was apparently undamaged, but the cardboard shipping box had a noticeable dent in it. It was insured for $4000 (replacement cost), and Gruhn Guitars provided me with a written appraisal of $3500 pre-damage (it had a repaired crack in the top as well). I've already submitted the insurance claim with all evidence and pics, but I still have two questions: 1) does anyone have any insurance claim success stories, and if so, what do you think helped the most? Also, how long did it take? And 2) if I don't get the full payout on the claim, should I try and find a builder that will put a new neck on what's left of the old body and end up with a frankenmando (Paul's not keen on rebuilding), or purchase a decent but lesser instrument for about the same price?
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  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    So sorry what happened to your mandolin. You must have been heartbroken. I guess all the carriers have similar track record. I have been lucky so far, but I tend to overpack, like box within a box and lots of padding.

    BTW it works much better to post a photo using the icon third from the right on this page. Then users can just click on the photo to view in larger size.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    I have had a claim settled satisfactorily, I ended up taking less and fixing the item. I can't seem to blow the pic up, but your mandolin looks repairable. You might tell the insurance you don't want to loose the instrument, it they pay full price they will take it. And settle for most, and then have it repaired. Good luck, that is unfortunate.
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  4. #4
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    I feel with you, I'm always nervous till my instruments are in hands of owners.
    If you loved tone of the mandolin have it repaired preferrably by the builder - he can match the finish the best. New neck is not a biggie, pretty simple job, he can reuse the original overlay and fingerboard and tiny finish touchup on sides next to neck joint and new finish on neck. Looks like French polish, that's easy to blend. I've done similar repair many years ago - reducing neck width - which involved replacing fingerboard and reworking of overlay and refinish of whole neck shaft and it was easier than I thought - my first big job and you wouldn't tell something was modified on the mandolin.
    I would suggest asking John Hamlett to do the job if Paul can not. Perhaps John will suggest just gluing it back if it fits well and thin backstrap overlay (I see the truss rod nut pocket is quite deep) will make it stronger than new. And Johns finish work is as good as you can get...
    BTW, loosen the strings, do not let the tension do more damage...
    I would also ask if you can claim loss of value after repair as well, not just the cost of repair.
    Adrian

  5. #5

    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    Hard to say from a single picture, but looks like a simple repair, IMHO. If you like the mandolin, I would have it repaired. It is a shame, but these things happen.

    I'm not sure how the insurance claim works, in this case.

  6. #6
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    Never mark the box as fragile or handle with care or instrument inside, etc.. My brother has worked at UPS for 30 years and said the young loaders are usually mad about something... When they see those marked boxes they will sling them as hard as they can into the trucks. And management wont do anything about it. How can they discipline a worker for doing his job? Loading boxes into a truck as fast as they can?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    Commiserations. Not sure what the legal position is in the US but, in the UK at least, responsibility for the mandolin rests with the sender until such time as it arrives safely - so shouldn't Paul Newson be sorting the insurance claim out? I would suggest that he is responsible for its safe return to you.

  8. #8

    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Commiserations. Not sure what the legal position is in the US but, in the UK at least, responsibility for the mandolin rests with the sender until such time as it arrives safely - so shouldn't Paul Newson be sorting the insurance claim out? I would suggest that he is responsible for its safe return to you.
    Just so any UK readers don't get confused, this is true for business sellers, under consumer protection law.

    But not necessarily so for private sellers, or for service providers like repairers (which is the case here). Depends what was agreed.

    Fortunately wheelerc had the instrument insured, which saves any arguments about who (except for the carrier) is responsible.

    A couple of points on insurance:

    a. They'll offer you the diminution in value caused by the damage, up to the value of the instrument. This looks like an easily repairable break if you get that string tension off and cover up the break to stop dirt getting it. I would ask your repairer for an estimate on costs of invisible repair (i.e. making good the finish etc), because you will want that number.

    b. There is a risk that they offer to repair it at their cost - you should only agree if it's a repairer who won't reduce its value.

    c. The insurers will offer you less than your actual loss, expecting you to negotiate. If you don't, they see that as your problem. So work out what your claim is. Replacement cost? Repair cost (including all related expenses like carriage)? Ask yourself how you will prove those numbers are right, because you'll need to do that to the insurers.

    d. If they write off the instrument, in your position I'd want to buy it back and get it repaired, which is why you need to know the repair cost so you can negotiate once they tell you how much they want for a buyback.

  9. #9

    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Commiserations. Not sure what the legal position is in the US but, in the UK at least, responsibility for the mandolin rests with the sender until such time as it arrives safely - so shouldn't Paul Newson be sorting the insurance claim out? I would suggest that he is responsible for its safe return to you.
    My understanding has always been that once the seller (or shipper) drops off the package and it is accepted, their responsibility is over. From there, it is between the shipping company and the receiver. At least this is how it has worked with any damaged shipments I've made over the years (only when selling electronics on ebay, fortunately, no instruments damaged in transit so far).
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

  10. #10
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    That's a shame. You must have been sick when you opened the box and saw it.
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  11. #11
    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default Re: insurance claim advice

    We had that same break with a vintage Gibson banjo shipped in HS case. It happens.

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