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Model S Car Accidents

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Robert Fyvolent, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Robert Fyvolent

    Robert Fyvolent New Member

    Oct 13, 2014
    Los Angeles
    I love my Model S but wanted to relay some events for feedback or discussion. I had a fender bender type accident in my Model S recently. The air bags did not deploy if that is any indication regarding the impact, etc. My front nose cone was broken in one spot, scratched across the face, and the lower part of my bumper scuffed and scratched (not broken or cracked) and my hood was very slightly bent in one side along the very front lip (almost not perceptible).

    I called Tesla and found out that there were two authorized shops in the Los Angeles area. I chose the one closest to where i live. (What happens in smaller markets when even in a big city, you give monopoly like status to two shops?).

    I was dumbfounded when I opened the repair estimate. Almost $11,000. When I called, the body shop explained that aluminum parts (like the hood) cannot be repaired. Aluminum cracks easily apparently and I was told that the repair shop literally throws the old hood away for recycling. I was told that Tesla dictates the price of labor (over $100 per hour) and that parts can only be purchased by authorized repair facilities (I later found out that this is only true with respect to structural parts, not body parts etc.). The labor on the damage alone was over $6,000. There were items in the estimate, liked "chipped foam" and replacement of some fan motors that cool the battery (based on "readings" that they might have been damaged in the impact and located near the front where the impact occurred). I was told that the repair was being done to "as new" status.

    I thought my insurance adjuster would also be alarmed by the cost, but when I called to discuss, he seemed to think that the price was in line with other Tesla repairs that he'd overseen. He also blamed a large part of the cost on "aluminum" and labor costs.

    Sorry, but this just seems insane to me. Yes, my insurance is going to cover it, but I am sure not without an increase in premiums, etc.

    How is Tesla going to market a $30K vehicle that would be totaled in a fender bender?
  2. DJung

    DJung Member

    Feb 28, 2013
    Newport Beach, CA
    It has been previously mentioned that the Model 3 will not be constructed out of aluminum.

    Man this kind of worries me in terms of insurance and downtime for small fender benders. Do you have any photos?
  3. Haggy

    Haggy Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    That's why I never understood why people would be against active safety features or rear view cameras even on cheaper cars. If it cost $200 more to add a camera to an economy car, I'm sure that insurance premiums alone would cover it.

    Insurance goes by experience with driver, but also goes by accident rate for the vehicle. I expect that at fault accidents will be lower for 2015 vehicles, but there's no way of telling from the VIN what features are on a 2014 (new vs old tech package) so as experience with the car changes, my rates might end up being higher than they could be. Insurance isn't cheap for expensive cars, and you either use it or you pay out of pocket. I've always carried $1000 deductibles and the theory was that people wouldn't file claims for small stuff like fender benders. But with the MS, it would be very unlikely that an accident could cause under $1000 in damage.
  4. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

    Oct 11, 2014
    New York
    Who is your insurance company? Glad they are taking care of your vehicle as needed.

    I think aluminum is about to go mainstream and the cost of these repairs will start to go down. Also agree with Haggy that active safety systems will be very critical in reducing damage claims when the systems are fully implemented.
  5. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    Skaneateles, NY
    #5 yobigd20, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
    yes unfortunately this is very true and a highly discussed topic. First, Tesla will NOT sell parts to anyone other than Tesla Certified repair shops. Second, those Tesla Certified Shops are price gouging the repair costs because they know we can't go anywhere else. They try to charge as much as possible but keep it under the "total value" loss. they are ripping people off hardcore and laughing all the way to the bank. It's so bad I've even seen a $48k repair cost estimate for a Tesla MS with ABSOLUTELY NO STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. It was purely cosmetic on the outside. If you have any structural damage, the likely outcome will be a "total loss" by the insurance company.

    There have been MANY "total losses" described on these forums where for the most part the car is actually quite fine and nothing major wrong with it. It's because of this price gouging that the Tesla Certified Shops. I've also seen an $8k repair estimate for a MINOR SCRATCH on a panel.

    Tesla so far has NOT done anything about this to control this situation. It is getting very bad, and here in NJ insurance companies are already jacking up the rates for Tesla's. Mine just went up $100 for no reason, and several others who just got their insurance bills have gone up even higher. When we've called our insurance companies, all of us are pretty much told the exact same things 1) Tesla drivers have a higher accident rate compared to other drivers. unfortunate but true, must be all the old folks that can't drive [I'm totally going to get reemed for that comment] and 2) the repair costs are INSANE, at the rate of 3x-10x higher than equivalent non-tesla vehicles. The best we can do is bitch and scream to Tesla to take control of the situation and force them dictate to the certified shops to lower the labor rates and for Tesla to start selling parts to non-tesla certified shops.

    the other reason this is a major problem is there is such a high chance of a "total loss", & insurance companies are giving a very low diminished value. they aren't even paying out enough to cover the value of the car. so even if you have a brand new car and somebody else smashes into you and it's not your fault, you're going to be out many many many many thousands $10k easy just to get an equivalent replacement vehicle.

    so you're right, and I absolutely agree with you. These certified shops can't keep charging what they are charging when the Model 3 comes out. If you get a SCRATCH on your Model 3 the insurance company is just going to deem it a total loss... I hope Tesla realizes this sooner than later and starts fixing this MAJOR problem.

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