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Machinery Pete: Value of a burned-up truck?

Agriculture.com Staff 06/11/2009 @ 11:15am

I couldn't tell what was making Bryan more upset.

Was it the loss due to fire of his trusty and beloved red 1982 Chevy C70 twin screw grain truck with 20' Buffalo steel box and 46,000 miles? Or was it the estimate of $10,000 his insurance company placed on the value of his truck?

Probably the insurance thing.

"I told them a truck like mine would sell for $20,000 plus in my neighborhood (northern Minnesota)," said Bryan. "So the classic struggle of valuation has begun. I think you can see my dilemma. I have no credibility to them as the insured."

Bryan understood this is simply how the game is played, hopefully just the beginning of negotiations to determine an agreed upon value for his truck. But still, how to go about convincing the insurance company his Chevy C70 is worth more, much more, than $10,000?

Drop an e-mail to Machinery Pete.

The timing of Bryan's e-mail was interesting. Just days before I got another e-mail, this one from a lawyer's office. Seems some equipment, a couple tractors and a combine, had been stolen. There was a court case involving a dispute about how much those tractors and combine were worth.

The irony made me smile. I'd been approached for help with current equipment values from both sides, from the little guy fighting the big insurance company, and also from an insurance company's lawyer fighting to prove the little guy's valuations were too high.

Conflict. Emotions. Money on the line.

What's needed in both these cases are cold, hard, dispassionate facts. What is that piece of used equipment worth?

In the case of the burned-up 1982 Chevy C70 grain truck, I was happy to let Bryan know he was indeed right, his truck was worth more, much more, than $10,000. All I did was hop into our web site and click on TRUCKS / CHEVY / C70 and up popped (254) C70s that have sold on auctions around the country over the last decade or so.

See the data table on the next page listing our auction price data on Chevy C70s.

Here are the specs on Bryan's C70: 1982 model, 427 engine, 5/2, twin screw, 20' Buffalo steel box, Shurco roll tarp, 46K miles, plumbed for drill fill, red, very good condition.

Compare to the 1979 C70 sold 4/19/06 on an auction in northwest Minnesota. That C70 had 427 engine, 5/2, 20' Buffalo steel box, was plumbed for drill fill, had roll tarp and 61,064 miles.

Oh yeah, it sold for $21,500.

So that C70 was three years older, had 15,000 more miles on it and it still sold for over twice the $10,000 valuation Bryan's insurance company put on his C70. Remember also that C70 sold back in the spring of 2006, before used grain truck values, along with used farm equipment values in general, shot up 10% to 15% over the ensuing three years.

Bryan's gut feeling was right: His truck was worth more than $10,000.

Good information is like a knife. It cuts to the heart of the matter, in this case "what's it really worth?"

I couldn't tell what was making Bryan more upset.

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