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Model 3 Accident at NE 70th on 405N

Seattle Tom

Member
Mar 31, 2016
503
525
Seattle, WA
I was driving home from Bellevue around 2 pm today and saw a Subaru with the left side smashed in just sitting by itself in the left lane. Thought it was weird a tow truck or another car wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

But when coming down the hill I saw the second car a quarter mile further - and sadly it was a red Model 3! The Model 3 looked like it was missing the driver-side front wheel so might have been a bad accident. I hope everyone involved was okay!

P.S., I have HW2 so no dash cam footage for me to share.
 

chokai

Member
Nov 21, 2018
19
53
WA
That was us, my wife (on AP in left lane) clipped the stopped Subaru who had pulled off to the left of the highway just over the rise in the hill where there's no shoulder and was hanging about 4 feet into the travel lane. Who knows why they pulled left instead of right to such a terrible spot, nor why they did not coast down the hill to a safer place to pull out. WSP while not thrilled with us was in particular not happy with the other driver.

The initial damage to the car was not bad as it was glancing, but she blew the tire and damaged the wheel which then failed and the car dropped onto it's chassis as she coasted out, the remains of the wheel then blended the inside of the well and slammed back into the body of the car. We're waiting to find out if the car is totaled still, it needs a tear down to investigate and that's a low priority for shops, might find out by Friday weather and staffing permitting. It's been a very finicky vehicle overall compared to others I know who have Model 3s. :)

FYI for all you 405 drivers the crest of that hill right @ 70th on 405 is dangerous for any car, but in particular a Tesla. We all know AP has trouble with crests and that applies here, but combine that with the issues seeing stationary objects and it's very dangerous. None of our cars safety features engaged, what reaction we did have (attempted swerve/brake) were by my wife, and yes I've talked to Tesla and we've reviewed some of the cars logs. :) That' it's dangerous doesn't apply to Tesla's alone by any means though, the towing company that has the WSP contract had 4 cars from that spot on their lot.

damage.JPG damage2.JPG
 

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Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,143
6,225
TX
This is the reason why I never use AP on the left (or right most) lane when there is very little shoulder and visibility, long before we knew that AP does not detect well cars that are partial in a lane.

Now assuming even if AP detects the immobilized car after the crest of the hill, I wouldn't expect it to slam the brakes and come to a complete stop, nor swerve to the next lane. Both actions are equally dangerous as slamming into the disabled car. Perhaps reduce the speed maybe and lessen the impact? There is no good reaction that is safe here. The culpability is all on the idiot who stopped there.
 

Kuhz

Active Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,899
2,061
Mars
Sure looks totaled to me. I would push for that as well. Bet that the lower part of the A pillar and floor is compromised which is an automatic total.
 
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PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
5,957
8,946
Seattle
probably not totalled. Expenisve to fix yes but not a total loss
I dunno man. Teslas are such a pain to fix. My first Model S was still marginally driveable and they totaled. The whole experience sucked to be honest. Hopefully things will go better for chokai and his wife.
 
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PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
5,957
8,946
Seattle
Sure looks totaled to me. I would push for that as well. Bet that the lower part of the A pillar and floor is compromised which is an automatic total.
Also he said the car had been finicky up to that point, so might as well start fresh with a new one!

Of course it depends on your insurance company, but in situations where it's close, you might be able to have some influence on them to go the total route rather than the 3-4 months of repairs route. I was fairly attached to my first Model S but after waiting 2 months to figure out what was wrong with it and then facing another long wait to get parts and to fix it, I snapped at the offer to write it off as a total loss when they gave it to me.
 

chokai

Member
Nov 21, 2018
19
53
WA
Correct, the finicky nature of the car (a serious electrical failure early on, a window seal leak and lots of creaks and noises) means given the choice I'd probably take a total. I have been considering that this vehicle could long term be a regular visitor to the Bellevue SC.

The inspector, adjustor and shop owner know my family which owns a local automotive related company well and they regularly do business with them (good side benefit!). Both were adamant that there's really no point in speculating on damage based on the current vehicle state, we need the inspection.
 

IdaX

Member
Dec 27, 2016
427
517
Moscow, Idaho
That thing's in bad enough shape that it will take many months to fix even if it ends up not totalled. Mine's been in the shop 5 months there at Accurate Auto Body in Seattle... Therefore, your best option might be to just buy a new one now, and sell the old one once it's fixed up. Finances permitting! Be sure to get Diminished Value and Loss of Use from the other driver if the accident is deemed their fault...
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,294
11,112
San Diego
Correct, the finicky nature of the car (a serious electrical failure early on, a window seal leak and lots of creaks and noises) means given the choice I'd probably take a total. I have been considering that this vehicle could long term be a regular visitor to the Bellevue SC.

The inspector, adjustor and shop owner know my family which owns a local automotive related company well and they regularly do business with them (good side benefit!). Both were adamant that there's really no point in speculating on damage based on the current vehicle state, we need the inspection.

Looks like at least 15k in visible damage so it might be a total loss. All depends on the local salvage market and local billable labor costs. Salvage value seems like it would be pretty good for that type of damage; it doesn't look that severe, unless the battery pack has taken a hit.

I'll hope for a total loss for you!

No surprises about the function of autopilot here; sounds like it was a contributing factor to the collision. Exactly the sort of issue that makes me inclined to never engage it...
 

RedMS

Member
Dec 5, 2017
355
373
USA
That crest is not that extreme. I fail to understand how she couldn’t see the Subaru and move in time, was there no room to shift over to the right?

As others said, if it was me I’d try to have it totaled. No way I’d feel safe driving a repaired car that was damaged like that
 

PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,717
879
US
What's current market value of your car? Only when the damage reaches 75% (it's actually 51 to 80% but alot depends on how they reach that number)of market value is it deemed a total lloss. I use 75% because that's typically where the magic number lands for most ins companies. Depending on his insurance company it could be +/- depending on how the value is reached.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,294
11,112
San Diego
Only when the damage reaches 75% of market value is it deemed a total loss.

This is not true. The formula indicating a total loss is: Cost of Repair > Actual Cash Value - Salvage Value

As a specific (arbitrary) example, if salvage value is 70% of the value of the vehicle, would only take 30% of the value of the vehicle in repair costs for it to be a total loss.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,162
32,510
Oregon
This is not true. The formula indicating a total loss is: Cost of Repair > Actual Cash Value - Salvage Value

It depends on the insurance company. On a recent car I dealt with the formula they used was: Cost of Repair > (Actual Cash Value - Salvage Value) * 0.50. (But they said that depending on the age/type of car the factor could go all the way up to 0.80.)
 

PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,717
879
US
That crest is not that extreme. I fail to understand how she couldn’t see the Subaru and move in time, was there no room to shift over to the right?

As others said, if it was me I’d try to have it totaled. No way I’d feel safe driving a repaired car that was damaged like that

Once repaired with OEM parts you wont even know it's been damaged as long as its done at a certified Tesla repair shop. There's really nothing different when you repair or replace parts on your own car and you would still drive it. If the battery pack was damaged then yes total Loss but if not its gonna be parts and paint. All new parts so it will be like new or better given Teslas lack of QC on panel gaps and fit and finish.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,294
11,112
San Diego
It depends on the insurance company. On a recent car I dealt with the formula they used was: Cost of Repair > (Actual Cash Value - Salvage Value) * 0.50

Interesting, but wouldn't this modified formula would make a total more likely? The formula is a simplification (there are other factors & costs too), and local insurance regulations may change things from state to state.
 

PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,717
879
US
This is not true. The formula indicating a total loss is: Cost of Repair > Actual Cash Value - Salvage Value

As a specific (arbitrary) example, if salvage value is 70% of the value of the vehicle, would only take 30% of the value of the vehicle in repair costs for it to be a total loss.

Exactly How is Your Total Loss Payout Figured?

30% is not correct please do your research and come back with facts. I am not an insurance appraiser but I have been in the aftermarket parts/autobody repair business 12 years and have dealt with all insurance companies. I challenge you to call your ins agent up and ask them how they deem a vehicle a total loss.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,294
11,112
San Diego
Exactly How is Your Total Loss Payout Figured?

30% is not correct please do your research and come back with facts. I am not an insurance appraiser but I have been in the aftermarket parts/autobody repair business 12 years and have dealt with all insurance companies. I challenge you to call your ins agent up and ask them how they deem a vehicle a total loss.

The link you posted does not describe how an insurance company decides when to declare a total loss. It says "if the repairs will cost more than a certain percentage of the damaged car’s value, generally in the neighborhood of 80%." - this is a general, arbitrary number. It does not apply to all vehicles. And it doesn't include all the factors. And as the article says, whether the car is new, whether there is gap insurance, etc., all play into it.

30% -- I said this was an "arbitrary" example, assuming a very high salvage value. I also said (subsequently) my formula was simplified, but I did that to help people understand the factors at play here. Salvage value matters A LOT, is my only point; the formula is not meant to be precise - I posted it to show there is no fixed percentage for the total loss formula. As others have stated, there are complexities here (presumably due to regulation and maintenance of customer goodwill) which may cause the insurance company to choose to not total the vehicle to keep the customer happy (or total the vehicle to keep the customer happy!).

Remember, the insurance company will also be eating the cost of a rental car for 60-90 days or more (5 months, see above!) for a Tesla (if covered by the policy). (Rental cost is really just a cost of repair - that is one of the factors that I alluded to above.)

My brother is a claims adjuster at GEICO, and has been for quite a few years, and I have spend quite a bit of time discussing this topic with him and hearing about the various nightmare stories of the time to repair Teslas. And he has described various examples to me of minor damage which has resulted in total loss declarations on Teslas, due to the above formula. That's where it comes from. As I said, it's a simplification.

Insurance companies will generally act to minimize their out-of-pocket outlays, with some consideration for customer satisfaction as well (they want to maintain goodwill).

Anyway, I hope in this case the car is totaled, as that is what the customer wants. And I wouldn't be surprised if it were, based on the damage. Could go either way.
 
Last edited:

RedMS

Member
Dec 5, 2017
355
373
USA
Once repaired with OEM parts you wont even know it's been damaged as long as its done at a certified Tesla repair shop. There's really nothing different when you repair or replace parts on your own car and you would still drive it. If the battery pack was damaged then yes total Loss but if not its gonna be parts and paint. All new parts so it will be like new or better given Teslas lack of QC on panel gaps and fit and finish.
It was more of a tip for the affected ;)
 

PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,717
879
US
@AlanSubie4Life

We are pretty much saying the same thing. One adjuster may value the car higher than the next and one may total using 70% and the other adjuster may use 80% . Way too many variables so once the OP has the adjuster look at it I'm sure he will update us.
 

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