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A Warning About Geico's Practices in Dallas

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,612
McKinney, TX
We just picked up our 2015 Model S from the Tesla authorized body shop, here in Dallas (Plano, actually). We’ve been driving a loaner for five weeks while we had damage repaired after a rear end collision.

I’m posting this not to praise our local Tesla authorized body shop (who does great work, by the way), but to warn other Tesla owners in the Dallas area who are insured by Geico.

In November, we made an uninsured motorist repair claim with our insurance company, Geico, because the at-fault driver’s insurance company initially reported that his policy had lapsed due to non-payment. The total body shop estimate was approximately $1,800 for damage to the rear bumper and hatch. For such a small amount, we didn’t think Geico would hesitate to take care of us.

We were wrong.

Shortly after the initial repair estimate, we received a call from the Geico adjustor telling us that were going to pay only $1,300, not the full $1,800 because the Geico does not think that the shop’s body and paint labor rates for Tesla work are “reasonable.”

I escalated the matter to the supervisor over the Dallas area adjustors and he and I had a number of written and telephone conversations in which I attempted to persuade him that the paint rates were justifiable. Many of the things he said to me during this process made it very clear that Geico is not the insurance company for me, as a Dallas Tesla owner.

One of the first things he said, was “They’re just spraying paint. Spraying paint on a Volkswagen is no different than spraying paint on a Tesla.” I argued that the price point of the Tesla and resulting customer expectations undoubtedly requires that the body shop use their more experienced, and therefore higher paid, paint staff on for Tesla repairs, but that didn’t sway him. I then pointed out that Tesla certification requires that a body shop absorb significant fees, capital equipment, and training costs and he replied, “They’re just passing the cost of that certification on to you, the customer. We shouldn’t have to pay that.” When I observed that Geico passes the cost of their insurance business on to their customers, he was strangely silent.

While these discussions progressed, I contacted some Tesla authorized body shops in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Oklahoma City and found some very interesting things:

Every one of these body shops has Tesla repair rates that are significantly higher than our Dallas shop’s rates, many of them as much as double.
• The body shops I spoke with all reported that Geico pays the Tesla rates with little or no delay and no protest.

After talking to a total of six other Tesla certified body shops in the Texas/Oklahoma region, it quickly became obvious to me that our local rates are lower than any Tesla authorized body shop in the region and that Geico’s Tesla repair policy in the Dallas area is quite anomalous. Furthermore, Geico’s refusal to pay the Dallas rates while paying higher rates throughout the southwest region appears to be the product of this one single individual, the supervisor of the Dallas area adjustors.

After more than two weeks of back and forth (during which Geico was paying $35/day for our rental car while repairs were stalled), Geico’s supervisor finally buckled and agreed to pay the additional $500 but said Geico would “adjust various line items on the repair invoicing so that they aren’t actually paying Tesla’s labor rates.” This creative accounting doesn’t seem to be limited to our claim: I was told by another Geico-insured Tesla owner here in Dallas that this same supervisor told her to “just pay the difference out of your own pocket and I’ll meet you in front of the body shop with a check reimbursing you for the same amount.”

It’s quite obvious that due to this one supervisor, the Dallas adjustors are attempting to avoid establishing any precedent of paying Tesla’s body shop rates, even though they’re paying much higher rates without question throughout the entire southwest region.

If Geico puts me through this for $500 when the accident was not my fault, I can't imagine the hell they'd put me through if I ever have a major accident that is my fault.

My heartfelt advice: If you are a Dallas-area Tesla owner with Geico you should seriously consider switching to a different company now, before you need to make a claim.
 

theslimshadyist

Trampa!
Jan 4, 2016
1,094
604
Tampa, FL
Most all Insurance companies promise you the moon to sell you a policy until you have to file a claim. I've had similar experiences but in the end, my persistence and threatening to report them to the BBB ultimately got their attention. It's said when I've paid insurance premiums for 25 years without a claim and when I have to file, the try to nickel and dime their way out of it.

This is a problem with the insurance industry as a whole and lack of regulation. They make the rules, you are at their mercy, and their job is to pay out the least amount of money as possible. Health insurance companies are definitely the worst. They will deny a claim for the identical procedure or lab test the've approved in year's past.
 

msnow

Active Member
Jul 14, 2015
4,951
2,236
SoCal
Most all Insurance companies promise you the moon to sell you a policy until you have to file a claim. I've had similar experiences but in the end, my persistence and threatening to report them to the BBB ultimately got their attention. It's said when I've paid insurance premiums for 25 years without a claim and when I have to file, the try to nickel and dime their way out of it.

This is a problem with the insurance industry as a whole and lack of regulation. They make the rules, you are at their mercy, and their job is to pay out the least amount of money as possible. Health insurance companies are definitely the worst. They will deny a claim for the identical procedure or lab test the've approved in year's past.

They are regulated by each state.
 

reddy

Member
Jan 26, 2013
891
1,172
Amarillo, TX
Here is the Texas TDI complaint form. The companies actuallly do respond to these complaints.

http://www.tdi.texas.gov//consumer/complfrm.html


You might ask GEICO about your appeal rights. Of course you always have the right to sue, but you'd spend more money on lawyers than the money difference you are shorted.

And, you have already taken GEICO to the court of public opinion, here.
 

msnow

Active Member
Jul 14, 2015
4,951
2,236
SoCal
Yeah, thanks for sharing. I'll never buy Geico now. Geico, if you're listening, you screwed up big time and you should fire that adjustor!
 

DFibRL8R

Active Member
Jan 17, 2013
1,286
1,796
Leesburg Virginia
Problem is with millions of customers, saving a few hundred here on each claim can really add up for a large company like Geico. Maybe they assumed that a rich Tesla owner wouldn't bother squabbling over a few hundred bucks. Pretty sad.
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,024
1,013
I'll put in a plug for Liberty Mutual here. The Tesla certified shop is also one of LM's "no-hassle" facilities, where they take care of all the work for you after filing a claim. I had no problems with them, and all was handled without an issue or complaint to me for my comp (deer smoosh) claim.
 

Caligula

Member
Oct 14, 2015
596
149
San Diego
USAA is also a good option if you are eligible.

Oh 100%. I had a modified vehicle stolen once. They took into account the new engine, seats, suspension, etc and cut me a check for MORE THAN WHAT I PAID FOR THE VEHICLE BRAND NEW. I should note the car had 60k miles on it.
 

Seven7

Member
Jun 30, 2013
524
143
Sarasota, Florida
Geico boat in Sarasota

geicoboatburnssarasota.jpg
 

Curt

Roadster Signature #55
May 13, 2013
422
153
Rockville, MD
Geico gave me the run-around for nearly six months after one of their customers ran over my 2008 Roadster with a Ford Expedition. They were trying very hard to make me accept $30K less than replacement cost.

I would urge you to avoid Geico.
 

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,021
Brea, Orange County
Thanks for the story! Sad but good to know. I've been with Mercury for many years and very happy. I tried to find lower rates several times but wasn't able to find anyone else that was significantly lower. Had an accident once that was my fault. They payed without problems and my rates did not go up. But as your story shows, it might depend on regions and states.
 

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