Yep, forget what I said in the last post, an object lesson in not counting one’s chickens!!
After making the decision to ship my Fatboy via HC-Travel it turns out that the major stumbling block is insurance.
But I’m jumping ahead… Having made the decision to ship my Fatboy to Baltimore I went ahead and booked flights to Washington DC so now the adventure begins on the 4th August returning 7th October. I have also booked to stay in Washington for a couple of days to see the sights before making my way to Baltimore to pick up the bike. All this after exploring shipping to New York and Charleston; considering Canada and Florida and accepting that Baltimore is the best bet.
No sooner have I made all the arrangements than the insurance problem raises it’s head. The issue is the value of my bike. As it is not a standard Harley, the value of what it’s worth to sell and what it’s worth to replace are very different. The Fatboy, if I were to sell it privately, could probably achieve around £12-14,000 but for insurance purposes it is valued at £23,000 to replace it in the event of total loss. Now for those of you who are not aware of this, it is simply that the insurance company will replace the bike exactly as it stands with all the customised parts etc. in the event that the bike is stolen or written off as opposed to its book value. Harley Davidson insurance covers the bike at an agreed value, i.e. what Harley Davidson says the bike is worth to replace; this is a more expensive form of insurance, but definitely worth it.
To get insurance in the US they will only insure it for the US book value, which for my bike is about $13,000 or roughly £10,000. This is just too much of a risk.
Back to the drawing board… well am now a bit stuffed because not only have I booked and paid for flights to/from the US and accommodation in Washington I have also booked a flight to Gib to pick up the Fatboy and the ferry to get it home to the UK. This will take 4 days so not only the costs of the flights etc. but the lost work income. When it is finished, the Panhead will be going out to Gib and, as I already plan to bring the Fatboy home, I can’t afford to waste the money so will still be flying out to Gib on Monday, (13th June), anyway.. oh yea, another excuse for a ride.. just hope the weather is good.
The only alternative, therefore, is to buy and either sell or ship back to the UK. I contact a number of Harley dealers in NewYork/Pennsylvania/Massachusetts/Maryland/Washington DC and Virginia with mixed responses.
In the meantime I drop into my local dealers, Warrs at Mottingham, and talk to Patrick who I bought my Sportster from. He was very helpful and suggested he speak with the Harley Insurance regional director to see if they can cover my bike for the full agreed value. Am waiting to hear back as he is away on holiday til the 15th June.
So how easy is it to buy a bike in the States if you are not a US citizen? The answer: it depends on where you are.
New York – no, must be able to prove date of birth and name by choosing from a long list of acceptable documents that each have a points value. 1 DOB proof and 6 points for name. Not possible to achieve the 6 points.
Pennsylvania – no, must have a Pennsylvania drivers license or ID card
Massachusetts – no, must have a US drivers license, or SSN (Social Security Number), or ID card, or proof of legal Massachusetts residency.
Maryland – it’s not clear; it may be possible to purchase and register a bike here but proof of address may be required.
Washington DC – no, must have a DC address and a DC DMV drivers license.
Virginia – ahhhh looks like it might be a goer. Bayside Harley Davidson in Portsmouth Virginia gets back to me saying they can sell me a bike and will sort out the paperwork.
Rick at Bayside HD is an absolute star… we have been corresponding on a daily basis and today he has confirmed with the local DMV that I can buy a bike based upon my existing ID documents i.e. my passport and my UK National Insurance number. This will enable me to gain clear title (ownership) of the bike and to register it in the state of Virginia. Bayside will sort it all out for me and then I can either go to the local DMV and they will give me the title documents then and there, or I can purchase the bike now and then the documents will be sent here, to my home. However, it can take up to 90 days for the documents to arrive plus the additional time to come to the UK, so I guess I had better go in person.
All that’s left is to buy a bike and let David at HC-Travel know I won’t be shipping to the US after all. I have to say a huge thank you to David, he has been so helpful and I am really sorry to not be going ahead through him. If anyone is contemplating shipping a bike to the US or Canada then David is your man. www.hctravel.com
Now then, it must be time for shopping! There is one bike in particular that I like on the Bayside website but it is quite old, (2006), and the mileage is relatively high from a UK point of view at 37,000ish plus the 7-10,000 miles I will add, mmm it might not be such a good investment. I have time to wait and see what else might come up so Rick is going to let me know.
Looks like all systems go… will need to change the itinerary accordingly, but no problem there as the only fixed points are DC, Portsmouth and back to DC to fly home.
It has been quite an involved couple of weeks, but hey ho that’s all part of the adventure. Am starting to get a little excited now and even contemplating the packing.. must remember not to over-pack, well that will be a first!!!