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Staggering Estimate!

So my car was hit last week while parallel parked. I was at lunch when it happened but judging from the damage it looked as if the car in front of me backed up travelling at a speed of 5 mph or less. There is only one Tesla approved body shop in the Orlando, FL area and I just heard from my adjuster that their estimate for a new hood painted and installed is over $10,000! Naturally the adjuster is balking at that. The breakdown is approximately $2000 parts and $8000 labor. They will be negotiating and hopefully I will not be charged any more than my deductible. I may be without the car for I don't know how long - all this for a small dent that you could barely see! It would be nice to get a loaner but I am not feeling that either. I will not be bringing my Tesla to lunch anymore and parking on the street!

Why posted 4 times


Well CSAA/AAA here is the Bay Area where Tesla is headquartered charges me only $800 a year vs S1800 for the Porsche Cayman S I still own. Their reason is it costs much more to repair a Porsche because of the higher parts cost. I would think they have more experiences with Tesla than insurance companies in other parts of the country.

Could you post photos of the damage and a copy of the insurance estimate with your personal info redacted? It would give the forum more of a basis to assist you with ideas on dealing with the situation. Just for the heck of it, have you taken the car to a reputed very high end body shop to see what they had to say?

If the damage is so limited most high-end body shops that work with aluminum should be able to get this fixed for you.

That certainly is a lot of labor. I wonder how much of that is for the VOC painting and how much of the front of the car has to be disassembled in order to replace the hood. Still though, I feel your pain--They're saying mine is out of commission for about 2-3 months (25k) for the crushed rear right fender area. I'm not sure if the insurance will cover a rental replacement for that long. Fun times.

Hi Michael, did you also file a diminished value claim? Why is it taking 2-3 months? That's a crazy long time. Is it to get the parts?

Seems I've been reading a lot of stories about how the Tesla certified body shops are inefficient and crazy expensive for small repairs.

If this keeps up we will likely see Tesla insurance rates go up.

The OP's claims of $10K damage for a parking mishap seems excessive. Would this be the same with any other aluminum car?

Too bad the did not design this car where you can snap in and snap out body parts for minor repairs.

These "Tesla Certified" shops are existing body shops that just meet the requirements of Tesla. I recently learned that there is only 1 body shop in CT that is certified to work on them. The shop has to send people to Tesla in CA to learn how to repair the cars. From the videos at the factory, Tesla uses 4 different types of fasteners to attach the various panels. Perhaps Tesla is following what the Germans use to do and that was to over engineer/ over build their cars. So repairing them involves a lot more work.

I just received a mid-year premium notice from my insurer (State Farm in GA), meaning that they recalculated what they need to be charging for Tesla coverage - and the additional premium was $400. This was in addition to the premium that they already charged me for the time period. Troubling sign.

If these are actual costs, insurers will likely try to up premiums. Quotes like these don't go down well with insurances.

When the front of my car was gouged, I got 3 estimates from different high-end certified aluminum shops. The estimates varied from a few hundred to a couple grand. I didn't have to get any parts replaced though. The shop did a great job. The Signature Red Paint matched perfectly. I told Tesla about them and suggested that they add them to their list. I had experience in the past with my BMW and Jaguar. They always did great work. I ended up not reporting it to my insurance because it was way under my deductible.

As an Automotive collision repair shop owner for the past 27 years, would recommend to any Tesla owner to take their vehicles to any experienced professional body shop that they know or have visited before to get the most minor or moderate repairs done! Thea word " Authorized" does not mean much especially if you have a high deductible or paying the total repair amount out of your own pocket. Believe it or not I only carry a $500 deductible on all my cars. Remember you always have the right to negotiate the cost of repairs, specially for their labor rates.

I'm having my good replaced after damage from falling ice. Estimate from Boston area authorizes tesla body shop was just over 4k.

Notice......I would love to get the details of your hood replacement and installation. Can you please email me @

Tesla Seattle gave me the same estimate from their "authorized repair shop" ($10k for a front hood dent). I was shocked to see that more than half of the cost was labor on the paint. Hoping I can find another shop willing to do the work.

BE WARNED, if you dent your hood (which is very easy, a car backed into me going less than 5 miles per hour and it creased the front lip) it will cost you big time.

Like dbower, I also just received a mid-year premium notice from State Farm (SoCal). For me the increase is about $72 ($144 annual premium). The invoice says, “The claim experience on your make and model of vehicle has resulted in an increase to your vehicle rating group for collision coverage.”

I have no accidents or tickets, multi-car coverage, low mileage and long term “loyalty”discounts, etc. I dread to think how much the increase would be otherwise.

BTW, some insurers offer EV discounts. Do a web search to find out if your insurance company might offer this; e.g., enter [your state] EV car insurance discount. If so, you might save a few bucks. Unfortunately, in California, State Farm does not offer an EV discount.

I also just received an interim billing from State Farm increasing my (accident-free) rate by $225 for six months, up about 50%, based solely on their experience rating for the Model S. It turns out that the aluminum parts and labor costs are much higher than steel/plastic - well over double according to my agent. He said to expect more increases. In my case, this is now at our prior Porsche Turbo price levels.

I think at some point Tesla needs to get a handle on this repair situation and present a way to get minor damage fixed without incurring a cost of $10-$30K.

I think insurance companies have been pretty good with pricing insurance for the Model S at the inception but the last thing we/Tesla need is for their cars to get a nasty reputation that they are impossibly expensive to fix minor body damage and it will greatly increase the insurance premiums and add to the total cost of owing a Tesla.

Also this would greatly affect the resale value of used Teslas 3-5 years down the road. It would not be good for the brand to see a bunch of banged up Model S vehicles being driven everywhere because they are ridiculously expensive to fix.

If you have a minor fender-bender or hood damage there needs to be a way to get that fixed at a reasonable cost without having all the Tesla insurance premiums double or worse.

What are they to do? The materials and car construction methods result in expensive body parts and labor techniques. Repairing aluminum bodies costs at least twice as much as steel. That's just a fact, and Tesla doesn't have a magic potion to make it go away. Some things can't be solved.

When Ford recently announced that it will produce the 2015 F-150 pickup with an aluminum body, the initial reports were that repairs and body parts costs will be dramatically higher, potentially threatening the truck's position as the best selling light vehicle. It is seen as the biggest single risk that Ford has taken in many years:

That's pretty much the problem: low-VOC/water-based paint and aluminum paneling. Perhaps someone else can shed more light on why the paint is necessary (it IS very environmentally friendly), but the aluminum is not going to change.

Based on those two things alone, I'd suspect insurance rates will creep up for most people as insurance companies deal with more and more claims in regards to the Model S.

Concerning the OP's damaged hood, wouldn't it be cheaper to just replace the whole hood rather than fix it?

I think the labor rates quoted would have me considering a wrap job.

@michael1800. I'm guessing the paint type is probably due to environmental regulations in CA since that is the state where the painting takes place. If the factory was n Texas, we'd probably have more robust paint on the Model S.

That said, I'm sure Elon is on board with being as environmentally friendly as possible.

This sounds like another deep-pockets issue. You roll into a body shop with a Tesla, and they know you can afford to pay a lot, so they quote high.

Agree with @Tesla CA: go to someone you trust and ask them if they can handle aluminum or refer you to a trustworthy body shop that can. This industry is rife with shadiness, so caveat emptor.

Who paints the new hood? It sounds like the body shop does. Wouldn't it be cheaper if Tesla did it?

1. This can kill the reality and perception of this being a good purchase for 30 years to come, so it needs to be fixed. Just like the tire issue had to be mitigated and improved, this absolutely needs to follow, before it causes any
critical damage in consumer perception.

2. Easily dented or damaged panels should be of other materials, not necessarily aluminum. The hood does not carry and weight or has any structural function, just like bumpers. It should be made of composite materials. Also, Tesla needs to equip SCs with such basic parts in colors matching cars sold and bring at least some of these repairs inhouse. At least for main parts
replacement. And set up equipment for automated painting of such basic parts,
not just full cars. It could collect dented, chipped and otherwise damaged
basic parts, straighten them our centrally and put them back into circulation, whereas the driver should get a new part on first visit, with paying the difference + some premium. A reasonable premium since he/she just returned the same material in return. Centralizing the work on it/labor, should make it much cheaper.

3. It should at least offer a variation of the car with composite panels and
parts. Any limo, taxi or other such use will probably dwindle quickly otherwise. The buy back program from Tesla is an important factor, but who knows if Tesla's offer won't be something like what one would expect, minus
some 10k for a dent.. Then it would be unpleasant. This should be addressed.

Car t man said: "And set up equipment for automated painting of such basic parts, not just full cars."

Oh, I see. Of course. Tesla currently only paints whole cars at once. That's why the body shop has to do it.

Market forces are at play here, and @Car t man, you point out the first thing that has made me want to sell my Tesla stock in a while.

The Ford F150 being made of aluminum will drive body shops to learn to handle aluminum. If aluminum doesn't break Ford, then the large numbers of aluminum cars on the road in the next few years will drive competition to make our body work cheaper.

However, that will likely take several years. In the meantime, there will be a lot of people complaining about expensive bodywork on their Teslas, and insurance premiums will rise.

You're right... this is the Achilles heel of Tesla. I'm kicking myself for not anticipating it.

And I'm annoyed at Tesla for not having a comprehensive solution in place. (like placing body shops in SC's).

I haven't been this annoyed since they delivered my car without talking to me about charging. I was ignorant and it took me a week to come up with a solution (while my car sat in the driveway, uncharged).

Car is electric: have comprehensive plans to make the consumer charging experience as smooth as possible.
Car is aluminum: have comprehensive plans to make aluminum bodywork as smooth as possible.

A couple of duhs.

Body work is expensive but human injuries cost way more. Premiums are likely to fall (long term) once the lack of serious injuries and deaths are more apparent.

Right now the cost of aluminum repair is manifesting. Driving the safest car ever made takes time to be digested by insurance companies.

Then Auto Body and Paint
1231 W Robinson St, Orlando, FL 32805

My Tesla got swiped in a parking lot crushing down the hood and front tail light. They had to fix the form on the hood and repaint. They did a really good job and the price was very fair. I think authorized means more money. That's about it. I would get a quote from these guys.

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