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Accident with total loss

slasher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
13
1
Dublin
Hello,

My 2017 Model S 90D was involved in an accident a few days back. My wife was in the carpool lane on the freeway going at about 60 mph, when another driver made an unsafe lane change into her lane. She braked but the distance was too short and the other car ended up crashing into the right front passenger side of our car, bounced off and then hit a van in front of him. The front and knee airbags deployed in our car. Thankfully no one was hurt.

The driver of the other car was in a rental, and it is still not clear who will assume liability - the driver’s insurance, or the rental car’s coverage (if he purchased insurance from them). To expedite things, I just went through my own insurance (Farmers).

Long story short, the other party was clearly at fault, and the police report indicates this. My car is obviously not drivable. After several days in the body shop, they came back with a repair estimate of over $43,500! I got a call from my insurance company and they indicated that the car would be declared a total loss, and I would hear from the total loss department soon regarding valuation and further steps, etc.

While we love our car and are sad that it cannot be fixed, given the extensive damage and repairs needed, we are glad that it will be totalled (will the fixed car ever be as safe or reliable?)

I need to do some homework, and I have a few questions, which I hope some of you can help answer:

1) How can I get a fair estimate of my car’s pre-accident value? It was in pristine condition with just 31,000 miles on it.

2) Have any of you had any success negotiating with the insurance companies on the valuation? Any recommendations for data / tactics to use? Anything I can do to justify a higher valuation than they come up with?

3) Should I continue the claim through my insurance, or file directly with the liable party’s? Is there any advantage of doing one vs the other?

4) I will submit a loss-of-use claim with the liable party – any tips for this?

Thank you for your help!

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Last edited by a moderator:
Oct 25, 2019
27
8
Maryland
Glad to hear everyone is ok. Seems very high, $43,000? Frame damage? Or are these cars just this expensive to fix/repair.
I would suggest second estimate if all parts are replaceable and there’s no structural damage.
 

slasher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
13
1
Dublin
Glad to hear everyone is ok. Seems very high, $43,000? Frame damage? Or are these cars just this expensive to fix/repair.
I would suggest second estimate if all parts are replaceable and there’s no structural damage.
According to the body shop, there is frame damage. The initial estimate was around 13k, before they did a supplemental and it went up to 43k
 

Tessaract

Member
Aug 12, 2019
337
324
Ottawa
I agree that 43K seems a very high estimate. I had much more extensive damage to my Model3 rear end, and it was fixed for 15K and change. The impact damage from the photo doesn't even seem like it should have touched the frame. Something seems fishy here. However, I'm not a body repair expert.
 

tpoltron

Member
May 12, 2013
386
491
Cupertino, CA
OP is happy to have the repair cost high cause he can get a new Tesla much faster than his old one repaired, which he might never trust as much. Probably dented the battery or side frame rail.

To answer OP questions:
1) check Tesla.com for similar used. and https://ev-cpo.com/hunter/
2) cherry pick from two, promised a fast settlement for the right price so they don't have to rent longer
3) since you are not at fault use you insurance co to put pressure on other
4) ask your insurance company about the maximum rental and get it, see if you can find a Tesla
 

FatherTo1

Member
Mar 7, 2019
886
877
California
Outrageously high repair bill, but like tpoltron mentioned, probably affected/damaged the battery to drive the bill that high. I agree, I'd rather total it out than be paranoid driving it after repairs.

OP, were you able to prove fault from Sentry Mode or by other means? Glad no one was hurt and frustrating that the other driver would force a maneuver like that. Also, any warnings or error messages that suggest the battery was damaged? I thought Tesla reinforces the battery pretty well and even includes a titanium underbody plate.
 

slasher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
13
1
Dublin
I agree that 43K seems a very high estimate. I had much more extensive damage to my Model3 rear end, and it was fixed for 15K and change. The impact damage from the photo doesn't even seem like it should have touched the frame. Something seems fishy here. However, I'm not a body repair expert.

Yes, there is damage to the suspension and frame.
 

slasher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
13
1
Dublin
OP is happy to have the repair cost high cause he can get a new Tesla much faster than his old one repaired, which he might never trust as much. Probably dented the battery or side frame rail.

To answer OP questions:
1) check Tesla.com for similar used. and https://ev-cpo.com/hunter/
2) cherry pick from two, promised a fast settlement for the right price so they don't have to rent longer
3) since you are not at fault use you insurance co to put pressure on other
4) ask your insurance company about the maximum rental and get it, see if you can find a Tesla

Yes, I don't think I could trust the car after such extensive repairs, so in a sense relieved that it will be totaled.
Thanks for the suggestions above, I will take talk to my insurance adjuster.
 

slasher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
13
1
Dublin
Outrageously high repair bill, but like tpoltron mentioned, probably affected/damaged the battery to drive the bill that high. I agree, I'd rather total it out than be paranoid driving it after repairs.

OP, were you able to prove fault from Sentry Mode or by other means? Glad no one was hurt and frustrating that the other driver would force a maneuver like that. Also, any warnings or error messages that suggest the battery was damaged? I thought Tesla reinforces the battery pretty well and even includes a titanium underbody plate.

The Highway patrol arrived and took everyone's statements and they determined it was the other party's fault. Right after the accident, the car simply shut down, and we lost all power. In fact, the police had to physically push the car out from the left lane onto the right shoulder (across 4 lanes). A USB drive was plugged in, but I didn't get a change to save the footage, and a few minutes later the car shut down. I haven't reveiwed the footage from the USB yet.
 
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FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
511
296
HOU
Hello,
...
I need to do some homework, and I have a few questions, which I hope some of you can help answer:

1) How can I get a fair estimate of my car’s pre-accident value? It was in pristine condition with just 31,000 miles on it.

2) Have any of you had any success negotiating with the insurance companies on the valuation? Any recommendations for data / tactics to use? Anything I can do to justify a higher valuation than they come up with?

3) Should I continue the claim through my insurance, or file directly with the liable party’s? Is there any advantage of doing one vs the other?

4) I will submit a loss-of-use claim with the liable party – any tips for this?

Thank you for your help!

I also had another driver make an unsafe turn resulting in a collision and wheel/knee airbag deployment. If frame damage was detected, I fully believe the $43k quote - my airbag/headlamp/hood/grill/radiator/no frame damage was $18k repair.

1) KBB, Edmunds, ev-cpo etc. etc. to get a general number.

2) There are three potential results.

a) They over value the number you have - you win! You get more money than you expected.
b) They value +/- $1k the number you have - you win! You get what you expected.
c) They under value the number you have - uh oh. Approach first with the sources you used, or hire an appraiser. I have previously used Petty Details, who covers both DV and Totaled cases.

3) For a total, probably best to continue using your own and have them subrogate. For first party cases (which this would be, using your full collision coverage), your locality's dept of insurance (if it exists) likely has more teeth for enforcement when dealing with first party claims than it does third party.

4) Good luck. My off-the-cuff guess is they may offer 3-5 days of $30 a day rental car, so short of a nicely written up request, if they refuse, its not really worth pursuing.
 

UberEV1

Member
Mar 9, 2014
359
121
San Jose, CA
@slasher: Glad your wife is OK! My 2013 was totaled thanks to a red light runner, so I had to go through the same process. Insurance company used a reputable 3rd party vehicle value assessor, but they would not accept any additional comps I provided, including Tesla CPO vehicles (this was back in 2018). However, they did accept the following: Upgrades made to the car (e.g. 3G to LTE) and new tires credit (just bought tires several hundred miles before the accident). Double check that they document your exact model, features, options and upgrades, as well as mileage and condition of the car (before the accident ;)). Assuming you are in Dublin, CA, you should also be reimbursed for State Tax and DMV licensing fees. If you;re thinking about replacing yours with a used Tesla (as I did), keep in mind that any car that has never previously been registered in CA for an HOV sticker qualifies for the latest new sticker (latest expiration date), regardless of car's vintage.
 

slasher

Member
Sep 11, 2017
13
1
Dublin
@slasher: Glad your wife is OK! My 2013 was totaled thanks to a red light runner, so I had to go through the same process. Insurance company used a reputable 3rd party vehicle value assessor, but they would not accept any additional comps I provided, including Tesla CPO vehicles (this was back in 2018). However, they did accept the following: Upgrades made to the car (e.g. 3G to LTE) and new tires credit (just bought tires several hundred miles before the accident). Double check that they document your exact model, features, options and upgrades, as well as mileage and condition of the car (before the accident ;)). Assuming you are in Dublin, CA, you should also be reimbursed for State Tax and DMV licensing fees. If you;re thinking about replacing yours with a used Tesla (as I did), keep in mind that any car that has never previously been registered in CA for an HOV sticker qualifies for the latest new sticker (latest expiration date), regardless of car's vintage.
Thanks @UberEV1! I was wondering if the State tax and DMV licensing fees would be reimbursed. And thanks for your note on the HOV sticker - I did not know that a car that was not previously registered for an HOV sticker previously would qualify for the latest sticker!
 

kwag

Member
Jun 19, 2019
27
9
aloha
The sun visors in the model S are $350. You are surprised that that is $43k? I would be crossing my fingers that it was a total loss too. People who buy cars over $20,000 don't want to drive accident repaired vehicles.
I wouldn't worry about how much they will offer you. While i am with progressive, my last vehicle was a total loss, and they gave me $2000 over what i paid for it. They base it off of KBB, craigslist and other sources to determine a reasonable value for vehicles. I imagine you won't have a problem finding another 2017 for the same price as they offer you.
 

petecrayton

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 26, 2019
86
85
jacksonville, florida USA
Glad to hear everyone is ok. Seems very high, $43,000? Frame damage? Or are these cars just this expensive to fix/repair.
I would suggest second estimate if all parts are replaceable and there’s no structural damage.
I should think one would be happy to have the car totaled, because I doubt it would ever be right and even so, the diminished value due to history would bite you down the road. I would never pass up the opportunity to get a new car!
 

LawyerBoy

Member
Nov 15, 2019
19
5
Berkeley, CA
Hello,

My 2017 Model S 90D was involved in an accident a few days back. My wife was in the carpool lane on the freeway going at about 60 mph, when another driver made an unsafe lane change into her lane. She braked but the distance was too short and the other car ended up crashing into the right front passenger side of our car, bounced off and then hit a van in front of him. The front and knee airbags deployed in our car. Thankfully no one was hurt.

The driver of the other car was in a rental, and it is still not clear who will assume liability - the driver’s insurance, or the rental car’s coverage (if he purchased insurance from them). To expedite things, I just went through my own insurance (Farmers).

Long story short, the other party was clearly at fault, and the police report indicates this. My car is obviously not drivable. After several days in the body shop, they came back with a repair estimate of over $43,500! I got a call from my insurance company and they indicated that the car would be declared a total loss, and I would hear from the total loss department soon regarding valuation and further steps, etc.

While we love our car and are sad that it cannot be fixed, given the extensive damage and repairs needed, we are glad that it will be totalled (will the fixed car ever be as safe or reliable?)

I need to do some homework, and I have a few questions, which I hope some of you can help answer:

1) How can I get a fair estimate of my car’s pre-accident value? It was in pristine condition with just 31,000 miles on it.

2) Have any of you had any success negotiating with the insurance companies on the valuation? Any recommendations for data / tactics to use? Anything I can do to justify a higher valuation than they come up with?

3) Should I continue the claim through my insurance, or file directly with the liable party’s? Is there any advantage of doing one vs the other?

4) I will submit a loss-of-use claim with the liable party – any tips for this?

Thank you for your help!

View attachment 486933 View attachment 486934
If your wife has ANY injuries, you should contact a lawyer to represent you. Physical injuries often don't show right away and sometimes get worse with time. It also sounds like your car was under-valued and the cost of repairs exaggerated. I think the folks below are correct: is the damage so bad (frame, electronics, etc) that you don't want to risk repairing it? The best way to find out is to talk to the repair company and ask those questions. Next, get a second opinion if possible. Third, hire an independent appraiser to give you the before and after value of your car. If you paid $100K for it, that means it has lost 60% of its value and that seems like way too much. For starters (if you are hesitant to pay the $300 or so for the appraisal) try and find a comparable car (2017 S model 90) that is for sale and in similar shape as yours was pre-accident; if there are none available locally for $43,000 or less, then they definitely undervalued your vehicle. And then a blue book value is meaningless. You can also double check their Bluebook value online at Kelly bluebooks online web site. If your wife has injuries, she should get the best medical care possible as they should pay that. In addition, she is entitled to damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering and an amount for any permanent injuries, lost wages, etc. FYI: most personal injury lawyers will settle the car claim for you for free. They also work on a contingency so it is little or no money out of pocket.
 

pdq

Member
Jul 1, 2015
227
162
Philadelphia
I also had another driver make an unsafe turn resulting in a collision and wheel/knee airbag deployment. If frame damage was detected, I fully believe the $43k quote - my airbag/headlamp/hood/grill/radiator/no frame damage was $18k repair.

1) KBB, Edmunds, ev-cpo etc. etc. to get a general number.

2) There are three potential results.

a) They over value the number you have - you win! You get more money than you expected.
b) They value +/- $1k the number you have - you win! You get what you expected.
c) They under value the number you have - uh oh. Approach first with the sources you used, or hire an appraiser. I have previously used Petty Details, who covers both DV and Totaled cases.

3) For a total, probably best to continue using your own and have them subrogate. For first party cases (which this would be, using your full collision coverage), your locality's dept of insurance (if it exists) likely has more teeth for enforcement when dealing with first party claims than it does third party.

4) Good luck. My off-the-cuff guess is they may offer 3-5 days of $30 a day rental car, so short of a nicely written up request, if they refuse, its not really worth pursuing.

A couple of quick thoughts, but when reading, realize that I have no idea where you live and if state regulations change anything, or what types and levels of car insurance you have, but here we go. Don't try to fight this yourself -- if you haven't already done so, contact your insurance agent. It is your policy with your insurance company that will dictate what is or isn't covered, although they may also try to recover any out of pocket deductible or rental car coverages you incur by going against the other person's insurance company.

Regarding rental car coverages, it varies greatly by company. My previous company would pay 80% up to a max of $1,000. My current company pays 100% up to a max of $15,000. I ran the nose of my 2015 Model S over a concrete curb when it was about 1 year old, as I parked the car. It caused $6,000 of damage. It took 8 weeks for the parts to show up, then another 2 weeks to do the repairs and get the car back to me. Try being in a decent (i.e. not some little cracker box toy) rental car for 10 weeks and see what the bill is.
 

demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,335
868
Oceanside, CA
Software usually determines if a car is a "loss" this early in the process... the valuations are usually set anywhere between 70-80% of the repair value. So a ROUGH (but industry educated guess) on this car's value according to the estimation software is between 53 and 62K. They arrive at total loss values in REALITY by compiling local comps using the web, newspapers, ads etc; If they can't find a comp, they will call several dealers (whom they have a good relationship with) and ask what they would hypothetically list the car for should they have it on their lot.

Good luck
 

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