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[TowerTalk] tower damage / insurance question

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Subject: [TowerTalk] tower damage / insurance question
From: (Steve Sawyers n0yvy)
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 21:53:21 -0500
Paul van der Eijk wrote:
> My tower was damaged by a truck delivering gravel (one guy and
> 2m antenna in the top.) Their insurance wants to prorate the years I
> owned the tower over the useful live of the installation. I'm not sure that
> this is acceptable, but if I have to make the choice, what would be the
> useful live of the installation?
> Tower is 90ft Rohn 45, guyed by a mix of phillystran and steel cable.
> 73 Paul KK4HD
> --
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My immediate response would be B--- S---. I want it fixed back to what
it was before the idiot arrived. This is what I expect of any auto
accident - up to the replacement price of the vehicle. I think this is
what they are trying to do.

But we are dealing with real estate here which is normally insured to
replacement value. (I got bit once on the depreciation game on a
personal property loss and I now carry my home owner's and personal
property at replacement value.)

I see four things you can do here:
1. Roll over and play dead.
2. Get a lawyer.
3. Turn it into your home owner insurance and collect there and let them
go after the truck's insurance company.
4. Beat them at their own game.

The first two don't need any explanation.

Number 3 has a few things going for it. 

One is that your insurance company has a slight interest in keeping you
happy so you stay with them, his insurance company could care less if
you are happy. 

So go to the phone book and call the most expensive tower outfit you can
find that will give you an estimate for the COMPLETE REPAIR of the
damage by professionals.(You did not say if the tower came down - I am
sort of assuming it did not.) Keep track of any time that you spent
doing tempory repairs and calling and arranging for the estimate (esp.
of you had to take time off from work). Add it all up and turn the bill
into your insurance company - eat the deductible - and have them mail
you a check. They like professional estimates. You will have more than
enough left over to pay for materials and fix anything you want. 

In the mean time, your insurance company will file a claim against his
insurance company for the full amount, and their lawyers will work for
you for free and will get the money, or they will report the trucking
company to the state and file a lien against the company for the full
amount. When they do collect, they will refund your deductable and you
will have already fixed the situation with a minimum of heart burn and 

If your insurance company doesn't want to cover the costs (very
unlikely), then you will have to play their game, which is option four.

You will have to get two estimates. One for the repairs, and one for the
FULL PROFESSIONAL COMPLETE REPLACEMENT cost for the whole installation.
FYI a 90' Rohn 45 complete tower kit has a list price (assuming normal
mark up from dealer list) of $6050. Add to this base and anchor
excavation, erection costs, new rotor, all new antennas, all new cable
into the shack, wiring installation and antenna tuning and reseeding the
grass in backyard. Also throw in permits, variance fees, engineering
fees (had to get that one in) - you get the idea - everything including
the kitchen - that would be in a turn key full up hired installation.
Just make sure it is in all the professionals estimate using full list
prices. This gives you new replacement cost basis. 

I would not be surprised if you have way over $15,000 in all of this,
but I will use $15,000 for the rest of the rational.

By the way - everything you put up the first time was new wasn't it? ;)

Now the life of the tower - I feel that a properly install metal
galvanized tower should last as long as the properly installed
galvanized power lines support towers - which I think is 50 years. This
is also the EIA wind standard - once in 50 years or a 2% occurance so I
would go with it.

If you have had it up for 10 years, then you still have 40 years left or
80%. 80% of $15,000 is $12,000. I would be very happy to personally take
$12,000 to the bank to finance my home tower. If I was a company and
actually had to pay the list prices and professional installation - I
would get a lawyer.

As my father said about dealing with insurance companies - he ran a body
shop for 30 years: Don't get mad - beat them at their own game. 

One final trump card to play, if neither insurance company is treating
you right, is to carefully record and document all the facts, the
estimates, the dealings with both insurance companies and send it all to
the state insurance commissioner. Ask him to revoke their license to
sell insurance in the state till this matter is resolved satisfactorily.
Send it registered mail and send registered copies to all the agents,
the adjusters and the home office of each insurance company. I guarantee
you will get a response! We did.

de n0yvy steve

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