For valuable vehicles, collision insurance is a must

Seven On Your Side
October 17, 2011 8:15:36 PM PDT
Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett's vintage London taxi is a novelty among New York's iconic yellow cabs, but it's also an essential business tool for him..

Not only is it great advertising while making deliveries for his two British Restaurants, "Tea and Sympathy" and "Assault and Battery", in the West Village, the mint 1980 London taxi, is a sought after prop earning Kavanagh-Dowsett income thanks to TV and movie cameos.

It recently appeared in ABC's Pan Am pilot, ferrying the flight crew on a New York City street made to appear like London circa 1960. .

But after this shoot wrapped, the pristine piece of Great Britain's history, wasn't ready for any more closeups.

Kavanagh-Dowsett was making a regular delivery to customers on wall street, when a cab t-boned the side of his vintage taxi instead of stopping at a stop sign.

"He basically came flying out of here and hit all the way from the front wheel of my car to the back wheel," he says.

The vintage car was hit hard; the repair bill amounted to nearly six thousand dollars. But when he turned the bill over to the taxi company, they only proposed to pay for $3,900, which they said was their own assessment of the damage.

In New York City, taxis are allowed to be self insured. If there's an accident, you'll deal with a lawyer not an insurance company. It's a practice that's perfectly legal and leaves cab companies setting their prices during litigations.

Kavanagh-Dowsett's mistake was not paying for collision insurance, which would have fully covered repairs, minus the deductible. Because his vintage taxi is so valuable, it's worth more than $10,000, the insurance would have been worth it.

"In general if you have a vehicle that's worth a couple of thousand dollars and the cost of coverage is inexpensive it's always a good idea to have collision insurance," says Christine Coster, a State Farm Insurance Agent.

Now, even though the police report says Kavanagh-Dowsett had the right of way, the NY cabbie blamed him for speeding. And, without collision coverage, his only recourse is to appeal to the taxi company's attorney for clemency but it seems like a long shot now. .

"I'm a small business owner, that's a lot of money to me," he says.

When contacted, the taxi company's attorney told us the initial damage offer still stands. But Kavanagh-Dowsett will have to take them to small claims court for the $2,000 difference.