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Owning a Tesla is awesome, until you get into an accident...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by standardcode, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. standardcode

    standardcode Member

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    #1 standardcode, Dec 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2014
    I am a long-time lurker, first-time poster so please forgive me if this is in the wrong place or something.

    I picked up my baby (Silver S85, VIN P26783) on 12/14/13. It's been almost a year of stellar driving and mostly stellar service experience while I racked up 21,000 miles on my baby I named Cassie. Until last week. I got into a small accident... It all went downhill from there....

    The accident happened in Midtown Manhattan. I called 911, and then immediately called Tesla Roadside. Since the S has no spare tire I had to wait for the tow truck Tesla arranged. It took more than 90 minutes for the tow truck to arrive to take my baby to the Tesla-authorized body shop.

    So the Tesla-certified body shop takes apart my car to check for the damage and meets the appraiser sent by my insurance (Ameriprise) to discuss the repair. A day later it turns out that Ameriprise is declaring my baby a total loss!! Why you ask? Apparently Tesla-certified body shops aren't cheap. In addition to the $10,000 in parts there's $20,000 in labor. Ameriprise decided they'd rather declare the car a total loss than pay $30k+tax for repair. Why you ask? Well here goes...

    Since there's no KBB value for the S, apparently the insurance company can just arbitrarily decide the value! As it stands right now they estimate the value of my <1 year old perfectly maintained $90,000 baby at $70,000! (I owe $70k to US Bank on the car!) When I tried reaching Tesla to get a value so I can argue with the insurance company they first promised callbacks that never came and are now saying they don't know if they can give me a value at all.

    Has anyone else had any such an experience before? Any advice on how to proceed with Ameriprise, the body shop and/or Tesla?
     

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  2. Dwdnjck

    Dwdnjck Member

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    Maybe. Ameriprise thinks that they can repair and sell your car with a lower loss than having it repaired by the approved body shop. You might try to get a second opinion on repair cost if your car is drivable. Tesla approved body shops often take advantage of their "status."
     
  3. JST

    JST Active Member

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    So...have you looked around to see what similar cars are selling for?
     
  4. standardcode

    standardcode Member

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    #4 standardcode, Dec 11, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014
    I tried but I couldn't find anything! It's a silver S85 with parking sensors, black leather seats, Tech package, smart air suspension and center console. Picked up 12/14/14 and has approximately 21,000 miles. Perfect condition (before the accident) with just a few minor paint stains. How would I find a value?
     
  5. Kbsilver

    Kbsilver Member

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    I am not currently a Tesla Owner. I am very interested, but the INSANE repair costs of these vehicles may be the reason I do not become an owner (along with the resulting increasing Tesla insurance rates because of these costs). Not long ago I had a BMW that needed a fender and door, not too much different in damage than this (but not a wheel & tire). Repair costs were under $5K done at a BMW authorized repair center (in NJ). Tesla either needs to smack these "authorized" body shops around, or really ramp up the certification program to get some cost leveling competition going.
     
  6. breser

    breser AutoPilot Nostradamus

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    I presume you mean December 14th, 2013? Assuming that the $90k number you posted above was what you paid for it new, $70k sounds about right for it on the used market. It might actually even be rather generous.
     
  7. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    Use ebay and auction house data to establish the value. Present it and tell them you want $x. They'll likely negotiate. However, $70k might in fact be FMV.
     
  8. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    That's what I was thinking...
     
  9. standardcode

    standardcode Member

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    I did mean 12/14/13. Sorry. So assume that $70k is a fair value, I am still losing a ton of money because of the huge repair costs! I agree with Kbsilver that Tesla need to put pressure on these certified facilities to be more reasonable. This is experience is the opposite of my Tesla experience so far and the opposite of what they say they want (like not making money on service etc.)

    Before this I didn't for a second doubt buying another Tesla as my next car in two years. Now that I may be forced to buy a new car after just a year, I simply can't justify getting another Tesla. Essentially I paid my monthly finance payments PLUS all of my down payment, for just one year of driving! I'd love a nice new 85D but the numbers just don't make sense if the smallest accident = a total loss.
     
  10. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    Why are you losing money in repair costs?

    If the insurance declared it a loss, they should pay you the $70k less your deductible. Use that to pay out a loan and you are only "out" depreciation -- but you were out that anyway. You order a new Tesla and move on.

    If they didn't declare it a loss, they pay to repair it. You pay your deductible. Car gets fixed and you still have it. BUT -- the car was damaged and repaired -- so will take a further depreciation hit.

    Sounds like you are coming out ahead by them totaling it...
     
  11. breser

    breser AutoPilot Nostradamus

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  12. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I replaced my wife's car at 3500 miles when it was hit from the side. Damage was RR quarter plus two right door shells and, given a similar repair here in Florida, was likely going to be $25K. I was also looking at $15K in diminished value for the car having been in a major accident.

    $30K for yours with more (deeper) damage sounds consistent.

    The issue becomes what you could sell your car for as is combined with a negotiated settlement with your insurance against what it cost you to replace it.
    90K new minus 7.5 in Fed Tax Rebate yields 82.5K
    I use $1/mile as this has been my depreciation experience with similar price range BMWs which takes you to 61.5K. This is only my number and is based on trade in value when I pick up the next car (typically 3yrs/40K miles).
    At 61.5k, the insurance company can sell the car at auction for 40K thus being out of pocket 21.5K. A shop will pull a quarter from another wreck and replace it on the cheap and turn around and sell the car coming out of a salvage title for $55K retail.

    If you take the cash from your insurance company and find someone trading in a MS for a new one (and accepting Tesla's trade in value) offering them a few thousand extra, you may be able to pick up a replacement for $65K. The alternative is to negotiate a number they will pay without totaling your car then sell your car yourself (has the benefit of not being a salvage title which adds value) as is then pick up a replacement.

    It sucks no matter what you do. It is the nature of the game.



    Also, I find insurance companies use wholesale numbers to determine the value of your car when they total it which, obviously, is not how you would value it.
     
  13. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    Sounds like a great excuse to get a "D".
     
  14. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    I think you meant to say "12/14/13", since 12/14/14 is in the future by a few days.
    I received a trade-in offer from Tesla on my DEC 2012 Model S, picked up in early January 2013 of $55K, I have similar equipment, no parking sensors or power folding mirrors, but every other option they had at the time, was $90K originally.
    has 22,000 miles on it, so similar mileage as well. They could probably sel my car for about $62K or so.
    welcome to the world of high depreciation luxury cars.
     
  15. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    By the way, several insurance companies offer replacement value policies. It costs more, but I think that's what I'm going to do for the first/second year of the P85D.
     
  16. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Yes!!! What he said.
     
  17. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    I know that's what people say, but it never makes sense to me how we all assume a linear scale. At $1 per mile, my MS will be worthless at 90 K. I've still made a decent amount off of selling my previous ICEs that have had more miles than that. And this is an EV, which should depreciate less than an ICE.
     
  18. sickfox

    sickfox Member

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    that sucks! i hope everything gets ironed out!
     
  19. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Standardcode...I am not familiar with U.S. insurance policies...but, many insurance companies offer a guaranteed value or a replacement cost endorsement that can be added to your auto policy when you buy a new car.

    In my jurisdiction, if you have this endorsement on your policy, if your car is a w/o, then the settlement amount is not depreciated.

    You should check your policy to see if it contains this endorsement...if not, you should check with your insurance company to see if they sell such an endorsement. ..if so, was it offered to you by your sales agent?
     
  20. breser

    breser AutoPilot Nostradamus

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    I'd say most insurance companies do not offer this in the US. It's certainly available, but the majority of companies don't offer it. If he had it he'd know for sure that he bought it.
     

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