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Experience with body shop repairs and your insurance?


Active Member
Aug 9, 2013
Had a minor (though from what I understand, nothing is minor with Tesla body work) fender bender this weekend, my fault, so I'm responsible for my repairs. Quarter panel needs replacement, plus a little buffing/repainting on rear door.

In the past, with other vehicles, I've used State Farm approved body shops and they covered everything in full, minus the deductible. The Tesla-approved body shop in the area is not a "participating provider," and I was told up front that I'd be responsible for the difference between the shop's labor charges and what State Farm reimburses, estimated to be $20-something per hour difference.

I want to be certain the job is done right and this shop has worked on ~300 Teslas, so going elsewhere really isn't an option. Any words of wisdom from those who have been down this path already?


Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
McKinney, TX
I just had a bumper replacement performed at the local Tesla-authorized body shop. When the accident occurred, I was thinking $10k of damage. It turns out that none of the parking sensors were damaged and none of the underbody was damaged. The damage was limited entirely to the rear bumper. The total repair cost was less than $1,500. I was surprised. Since the other guy was paying, I was more pleased that there was no body damage than I was at the actual repair cost, but it really pleased me that the body hadn't been damaged.
That doesn't quite sound right. Typically body shops are fairly close in their labor costs.

Now, if the Tesla approved body shop is higher than all the other body shops for labor, then I would take that up with the body shop and tell them to work with you on it. Here is a Q&A at the body shop that I used here in the Dallas metroplex with regards to insurance companies. Seems to be a common occurrence:

Choosing a repair shop other than one the insurance company recommends
The insurance company representative may suggest several body shops that will perform the repair immediately, tell you that the insurance company will not guarantee the work done by the body shop you have chosen because it is not one of their preferred shops. Do not be concerned about these statements, every reputable body shop provides a lifetime guarantee on their work. Any insurance company guarantees or warranty work will be performed by the repair shop that did the work in the first place. Starting the work immediately will not likely change the date your vehicle will be ready for you and the scheduling of the repair is up to the body shop doing the repair.

The insurance company representative may tell you that the body shop you have chosen charges more than the going rate and you will have to pay the excess. Work is done only with your consent. Any differences in labor rates are handled before the work is started. In any event, the insurance company is required by law to pay reasonable repair costs. In a market with as much competition for your business as the Metroplex, no business would survive if the rates they charged were not reasonable. We will help you with the insurance company if they refuse to pay reasonable rates.

The insurance company representative may tell you that an adjuster cannot be dispatched for several days to the repair shop you have chosen, but if you go to one of the preferred shops the estimate they provide will allow them to start on your vehicle’s repair right away. You have the right to prompt processing and payment of claims after reporting the claim under Texas law. There should be no significant difference in the time required to repair your vehicle if you use the body shop of your choice.

They are trying to steer you to one of their gauranteed shops, but its your choice on who fixed your car. And from being in your shoes, I don't blame you for wanting a Tesla authorized shop working on my Model S. The body shop I went to walked me through his entire shop, and I got to see the behind the scenes action. There were notices all over the place in reference to certain standards that Tesla encourages, especially in the painting room where the paint is baked on (can be delicate with the batteries, electronics, etc.)

So I would talk with your body shop and tell them what the insurance company is telling you. I'm willing to bet they will help you out.

yo mama

Supporting Member
Jul 22, 2015
san jose, CA
My MS got keyed a few weeks back. I have state farm and there are like two Tesla-authorized body shops in my area. It's a lease so I'm really sensitive about making sure it's done right. The Tesla certified shop charged like $2,600. State Farm's adjusters said their local (non-certified) shop would only charge $1,600. So now my MS is being held hostage until that dispute gets resolved. Part of me feels like State Farm is stalling to see if I'll pay the difference out of pocket.

What makes this infuriating is that when I met with the State Farm adjuster he admitted he was just making up a number and didn't really know what it would cost. Now State Farm (the organization) is taking a firm stance with that number, which excluded the "paint blending" required to make the repair unnoticeable.

Whatever. I just want my car back.


Active Member
Aug 9, 2013
That doesn't quite sound right. Typically body shops are fairly close in their labor costs.
This particular shop is the only Porsche and M-B factory certified shop in the state, per their business card. Their lot had lots of both, and 3 Teslas. I forget the exact numbers, but the guy who looked at my car and gave me the estimate said State Farm will pay $48/hr; they charge $75.
I have experience that maybe doesn't closely relate to the original posters situation but....

I closed my garage on the hatch of my MS.

Took it to the only Tesla authorized repair shop in my area - was quoted $1,850. Then took it to several high end repair shops that work on aluminum cars. By the time I had been to the 5th one - and the quotes were all between 500-600 bucks - I was convinced by all of them that they do this stuff in their sleep and work on aluminum all day and all night. There is nothing special about Tesla if it is only body work.

Had the repair done for 525. Held my breath the whole time. Came out absolutely perfect.

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