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Tesla doesn't have an insurance problem, it has a repair one


New Member
Aug 29, 2018
Obviously Tesla has talked a lot about their insurance service asserting it will be lower from the extremely high costs we're all facing. However, now in dealing with a minor body repair having an extreme cost from a Tesla certified shop, I now see that Tesla has a body construction/repair issue, not an insurance one.

When I got my M3 18 months ago (which I love BTW), I was a bit shocked at the insurance quote. 50% higher than my previous car. I shopped around but my agent said that Teslas were costly to repair as the reason insurance companies were giving. That seemed like a stretch but I chalked it up to all the cameras/sensors and extra precautions due to lack of familiarity with the electric drive train. I sucked it up and signed.

Fast forward, an attendant in my parking garage took a corner too tightly a few weeks back and rubbed my rear right door and quarter panel against a concrete pillar. I wasn't happy but the visible damage was not major. Scratches and minor dents in those two locations. I contacted Tesla as I knew they were starting to offer body work. Their NYC body shop is online but they only handle the most minor dings. Mine was too big so they referred me to two certified shops. I got two estimates and was shocked by the cost and time involved. Each said it was 2-3 weeks of repair (plus weeks for parts). One was over $10k and the other over $12k. I liked and believed the $10k shop a bit more as they had 45 Teslas onsite getting body repairs when I visited and seemed to know what they were talking about. When I told him my surprise, he said the problem was that the seemingly little quarter panel actually required the whole rear quarter to be replace. Plus, Teslas are really difficult to take apart. Apparently, M3 is better than MS/X as its more steel than aluminum which is more difficult to repair (I don't know this, just what I'm told).

Now, just to be clear I'm not here complaining as this bill isn't being paid by me or my insurance company but the garage. This really worries me as I had an accident a few years back in a relatively new Prius which had much worse damage along the whole side of the car where all the panels and doors had to be repaired/replaced. That only took 1 week and $6k. Tesla, if you're listening, you have a serious repair problem. This will have me cautious when buying my next electric vehicle (which is hopefully not for awhile).


Active Member
Apr 27, 2018
Similar experience. AssPerson backed out of their drive way too fast/recklessly and put a indent on my driver side door. Got spooked by my friends walking up to the house and drove off. They got the plate and vehicle description.

Repair was two weeks originally but then they had to order a new door panel. All in all, one month in a Rental 3. The repair bill was 4k CAD while the rental was near 6k. That'll teach that person to drive recklessly and do a hit and run on a live public road.
"I liked and believed the $10k shop a bit more as they had 45 Teslas onsite getting body repairs when I visited and seemed to know what they were talking about. When I told him my surprise, he said the problem was that the seemingly little quarter panel actually required the whole rear quarter to be replaced"----------- I have my Model 3 in the shop right now. I was given a rough estimate of 5-10K before taking it in... The total estimate to replace the whole rear quarter panel was $5604.52 its in repair right now. The bodyshop got full final payment from the insurance company yesterday.

I currently have a model 3 in the repair shop right now. I agree that the cost of repair is high. The parts didn't take any more than a week to get in and from the estimate cost around $1600. The labor however is $3900. Now, we did take it to a body shop Tesla has certified. The body shop did warn us that they regularly have issues with the insurance companies paying the full claim and the back and forth with the insurance companies can delay the repairs. The reason for that is because this body shop has a separate labor rate specifically for Teslas ($95/hr vs the normal 50/hr labor). Now, not all body shops do that, but if they are smart they do... The reality is that its a supply and demand problem, there is a demand of Tesla approved body shops, and a limited supply of body shops that are approved to work on them. I don't think that it's any more difficult to repair a Tesla than it is any other car (with the exception of aluminum) I just think that these shops are charging higher rates because they simply can, they are piled up with work, and the insurance companies are delaying the repair process. As much as I hate it, I can't blame them. It's like the difference between hiring a licensed electrician to install some plugs in your house, that will cost you $200 bucks, or you can hire a handyman to do the same job for $45...the only difference is that the electrician is "qualified".

I think overtime costs for repair will decrease once more body shops to become "qualified". Obviously parts are not an issue, as soon as the body shop ordered the parts for the car, I got a message from Tesla about the order. It had a list of all the parts that were ordered, when they shipped and when they arrived. All the small parts and pieces were received the next day.. the largest part "M3 ASY, BODY SIDE OUTER LH" which is almost the entire drivers side panel, arrived 6 days later.

Also, people are going to have good and bad experiences. Sometimes it's pure luck that you had competent people on your case and everything went smoothly. Other times its pure luck that everyone involved was a moron and no one wanted or could do their job. It just sucks when that does happen.

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