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INSURANCE: BE CAREFUL WITH GEICO

If GEICO is your insurer, or you are considering insuring with Geico, read on. They are inexpensive, but you may get what you pay for.

I unfortunately had a fender bender last week, requiring replacement of the front bumper. Only one body shop in my area is authorized by Tesla to do body repairs; naturally, that is who I want to use. Their estimate is $2500, with a labor rate of $65.

GEICO refuses to reimburse at their rates, and will only reimburse labor at $45 an hour. This turns my $500 deductible into a $1000 deductible. I appealed the decision up the chain with no luck.

I have been a good customer with Geico, and have five policies with them. I will move them all.

Suggestion to others: check with your Service Center to get the names of the body shops in your area who they authorized to do Tesla repairs. Ask them to recommend an insurance company [mine recommends ACE or Chubb]. Make certain your insurer will allow you to use those body shops. Most insurance companies have an existing list of authorized repair centers.

For Tesla, "Aauthorized" means that the technicians in the shop have been to Tesla and have received specific training on repairing a Tesla and dealing with electronics involved, such as in the bumpers for cars with the tech package. They will have a big certificate on the wall from Tesla so stating. Whether or not this really makes them more able to competently repair this car than technicians who have not been so trained, I cannot really say. What I can say is that it gives me comfort. I like to choose my own doctor. I don't want my insurance company choosing my doctor.

I am pretty sure that all states allow the consumer to use whatever repair shop he wants to repair his car. However, this does not require the ins co to pay whatever the shop wants to charge. If it did, what would keep the shop from charging $1000 an hour? As I'm sure you all know, when you have a claim, the insurance company sends out an adjuster who frequently writes a check on the spot. You can then go wherever you want for the repair.

I am not saying that you should not use GEICO. When I am suggesting is that if it is important to you that your car be repaired by people recommended and trained by Tesla you make certain that your insurance company will pay those rates. That is all I am saying. If you do not care who repairs your Tesla, then you can use any insurance company that will underwrite the car and go to the shop whose rates they will pay or be willing to absorb the difference.

It's GEICO. What did you expect?

Hmmm. The labor rate for the shop in NYC is $115/hr. Comparable shops for high end cars has labor rate of $125/hr.

You must be getting a bargain with the $65/hr rate. Ask Geico to find a shop that can work on aluminum frame and sheet metal and get the labor rate for that shop.

Comparing rates between aluminum repair shop with tradition steel welding repair shops make no sense.

Karma sucks.

I have never chosen my car insurance company on the basis of who has the cheaper premiums. I have always chosen on the basis of who I think will give me better service if something terrible happens.

I have ACE and they are excellent.

Which state are you in Trekkie Not? In California the insurance company has to let you pick a Body Shop of your choice because it is the state law.

This is absurd. SO basically if you have Bentley, they still only allow the car to be repaired at a $45/hour labor rate?! The labor rate of more expensive vehicles, that require more skilled labor, should be built into the premium price.

When my Mercedes was keyed, I told State Farm it needs to be repainted at a Mercedes Certified body shop. They then said I may have to pay the difference and I refused to do that and State Farm somehow talked it over with the Mercedes authorized shop and got the repair done for me.

This is good to know and I think everyone should check with their insurance company to make sure their local Tesla approved body shop is covered by their policy. I'd get that in writing.

Yes, what state are you in? Here in CA, you are absolutely able to pick your own body shop. I'm with State Farm and have never had problems.

I like AMICA. They don't hassle you about it. They may negotiate with the body shop but they have excellent service.

I have GEICO. I haven't had any work done on my MS. However, I did have a mishap with my MB GL450. I bent the lower control arm, knuckle and blew out an air strut. The people and adjuster from GEICO couldn't have been better. I had the repairs done at a MB dealer in St. Louis, which means overpriced. GEICO covered the whole tab minus my $1,000 deductible. If I recall correctly the bill was about $4,400. In addition, when I got my renewal a few months later, my rate only went up $175/ 6 months.

My wife had a fender bender when we were with Allstate, they paid out a total of $1,200 to the other party.. There was no damage to our car. When I got the renewal, they doubled our 6 month rate. That's why I dumped Allstate and went to GEICO.

I am sure everyone, at some, point has a bad deal with an insurance company.

P.S. I ditched that crappy GL 450 to buy my MS.

In a recent 8K fender-bender the person who backed out in front of my car and I both had Geico. Repair shop was in San Diego. Geico performed well and took care of everything. I'm now in discussions with them over a loss of value claim. Stay Tuned

BTW the woman who backed out in front of me was driving a 97 DeVille with a tow hitch on the back. Opened up the side of my MS like a tin can!

Some tesla approved body shops overcharge. If you have a simple repair, with no need to get into electrical, you might consider shopping around. Geico is not the only company that reimburses based on their own appraisals.

I'm in AZ and can also go to the shop of my choice, but Geico does not have to reimburse at their rates. The adjuster visits, writes a check, and you can go anywhere.

I don't imagine it is that much different in CA, or the shop could charge whatever they wanted.

This is a horrible policy. The cost of the car should be taken into account when they set the labor rates. Obviously a higher end car will have a different paint job compared to a basic car and it is reasonable to expect better expertise at a higher cost to fix paint damage to a paint job that originally cost more at the factory.

As I told Geico ... "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen". They shouldn't insure the car if they won't stand behind their coverage.

Does anyone have PEMCO?...I have Geico but thinking of switching.

I had no problem finding a "high end" body shop to do my repairs after the local approved body shop estimated repairs at double the insurance appraisal. My insurance was not Geico.

We've lived in 5 states since I found AMICA in "Consumer Reports" back in the 1960's. AMICA's business model is similar to Tesla Motors'. AMICA sells direct. No middle-man insurance agent. Their service has always been excellent.

You choose your body shop. AMICA sends a professional appraiser. Our most recent claim was for a classic car that was totaled by a huge tree that fell on it. AMICA's first offer was full market value.

Other claims in 3 states over the years included a car extensively damaged in a rear end collision, fender benders and hail damage. So far, no body shop has tried to charge more, or haggle over AMICA appraisals.

After more than 40 years of outstanding service and low premiums, I continue to recommend AMICA to family and friends.

AMICA doesn't even list Tesla when getting a quote.

I was hit in my then 1 year old Chevy Volt and as soon as the police reports on site were done, I drove directly to the best body shop, IMHO, in Sacramento. The shop took my car, got me a rental, and negotiated with GEICO to get the job done at their highest standards. After starting to take the front body panels off, they found more hidden damage, so they called the GEICO inspector who came by the shop a second time, approved everything and after bit over 3 weeks we got our again beautiful red Volt home. Total repair costs were close to $9000.

I could not tell ANY increase in our insurance rates the next Yeats (ALL those costs were paid by the other person's insurance policy--which turned out to also be GEICO!

The next YEAR

I had Amica for my previous car and home. I have to say that their customer service is the best I have experienced while dealing with water damage in our home. When we got tesla, I was hoping to stay with Amica but their quote was almost twice that of Geico and could not justify that much premium.

It is not surprising GEICO is spending most of your premiums on advertising. Fun to watch, but would rather not be the one paying for them.

Trekkie Not | APRIL 11, 2014 NEW
I'm in AZ and can also go to the shop of my choice, but Geico does not have to reimburse at their rates. The adjuster visits, writes a check, and you can go anywhere.

I don't imagine it is that much different in CA, or the shop could charge whatever they wanted.

It IS different in CA! Ca law specifically states that a consumer can have his/her car repaired at a body shop of their choice. I have had my previous cars repaired at any body shop I wanted and the ins. co. had to work it out with the shop. Of course the ins. adjusters try to advise people to go to one of their "preferred" shops but we don't have to. Sorry about your state's bum laws. By the way I have GEICO and they have been great (maybe because they don't have a choice here) and their rates are the lowest.

Amica has insured our classic 1966 Mustang convertibles, and Ford v-8 cars for 35 years in San Diego, CA. On March 12, 2014, they added 14TFOR2 to our policy for $1227 per year.

I have been a body shop owner in California for the past 27 years, and the word "Authorized" does not eeally mean much as I have worked on high end cars like Ferrari, Aston Martin down to Kia! Every insurance company has their own guidelines and caps for labor rates and I still perform the same job using the same paint material ( PPG, 3M), so I would suggest that you find an experienced shop that cares about quality and their reputation than just trying to charge you more because they are "Authorized". You should also change your insurance to State Farm or maybe AAA. Good luck

Go with USAA if you can. They've taken care of every single issue I've ever had with cars (...and home, and property...) without a single hassle. Their policies are reasonably priced, and my family has had nothing but great experiences - my dad has been with them for 45 years, and me for 25. Highly reccomended.

To those who chose to insure their Tesla Motors autos through GEICO:

DON'T BE SO NAIVE

1 --- Who owns GEICO?
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-06/buffett-backed-byd-says-chin...

2 --- Who owns BYD?
https://www.geico.com/about/corporate/corporate-ownership/

DON'T BE SO NAIVE

I have GEICO and they've always been fantastic to work with. Specifically as it relates to my Model S, I recently had to have my windshield replaced due to a crack from a stone that got kicked up on the highway. No one around could handle it (including the glass repair people that GEICO recommends). When I had it taken care of by the Tesla SC, I submitted a note to GEICO asking them to reimburse me in full (at the higher labor rates) because know one else could handle the Tesla. Within 7 days I had a check for the full charge less my deductible. Couldn't have asked for better service or results.

Never heard of a deductible being applied to windshield replacement, and over the last 12 years in AZ, where rocks in the 'shield are a way of life, we have had at least 10 replaced, with State Farm and them AmFam. Is this another unpleasant Geico surprise lurking?


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