15 December, 2010

How do you spell “Zero”? - Day 28

Odo 644

Yesterday I decided that 3rd party property insurance would be a good idea.

Called Western QBE. They used to be Western Underwriters and they sponsored all the big bike races. In the 80's they were “the” motorcycle insurance firm. They'd never heard of the Zero, so they weren't interested.

Called AAMI who insure my car. They've been really great to deal with in the past. They were very nicely uninterested in insuring, but they made me feel all warm and fuzzy when they said no.

Then I called Shannons. A car place at heart so not my first choice. They're an auction house for exotic cars and they branched out into insurance for the cars they sold. (stuff like this Bentley Drophead http://shannons.com.au/auctions/lot/?id=OA52S2DSY6PC30MH ) They had a very successful advertising campaign about a guy trying to get insurance for his Goggomobil (which is a real car http://www.goggomobil.com/gallery/limousine/limousine.html ) and finding that Shannons were the only people who knew what he was talking about. (the campaign actually sucked off the creativity of a phone company ad where the same actor was looking for parts for his Goggomobil. That ad resulted in Australians everywhere saying “gee ohhhh, gee gee ohhh” and “not the Dart, they always think it's the Dart” in a thick Scottish accent.)

In the past couple of years they've started advertising that they're insuring rare and exotic bikes. The ad has an ex GP rider leaning on an RC30, looking earnestly into the camera and delivering the line “insurance for motoring enthusiasts”

So what the hell, I called them. The weird thing was that they started off asking me if I attended car shows and have I restored any cars. I thought they were trying to collect marketing information. Eventually the guy said “I'm trying to find out if you are a motoring enthusiast or not”. So it wasn't just an advertising line. Still they didn't have the faintest idea that the Zero existed. I said “it's manufactured by Zero Motorcycles and the model is a DS”. To which the response was, “but which kind of bike is it, Honda, Harley, Kawasaki?”

In the end they got it all squared away with only a few strange questions like “is it a folding bike?” and came back with what I thought was a very reasonable quote for comprehensive insurance of 530 dollars. So I took that instead of the third party. It was only 400 bucks more which means they think I've got a less than 1 in 35 chance of crashing the thing in the next year. I think I'm more likely to stack it than that and if I do throw it down the road I'm sure that lovely light weight frame will be toast. It's only been 15 years since I stacked a road bike. A 500 Enfield that I fell off in a rain shower in Kashmir with my Mother on the back. She was very good about it but it did bruise her right hand and arm quite badly. That wouldn't have been too much of an issue except that she'd broken her left wrist a couple of days before when pillion on my mate's bike. It kind of left her without any working appendages.

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