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Collision repairs, insurance companies, body shops and Tesla

My wife has asked me an interesting question:

If someone rear-ends me in my theoretical Model S, how does the repair process go? Normally the insurance company would send your car to one of their authorized body shops, who would then order replacement parts (often aftermarket generics) for the car and replace any piece they couldn't repair. Are there parts companies currently manufacturing generic Model S bumpers? If not, is Tesla selling parts to 3rd-party body shops? If not, it would make a random body shop useless - and in that case would my insurance company pay to get it repaired at a Tesla repair shop?

I don't know if anyone has dealt with this yet (I've only seen self-inflicted scratches and scrapes so far) but it's bound to occur any day now. How does it work?

Seems like if only Tesla has the expertise, you have answered your own question. There obviously is no aftermarket of Tesla body parts available, nor is there likely to be for a long time. Remember, Tesla has at least 250 patents awarded or pending on this car. That is not only the battery, includes extruded steel "welds" and probably the body also which I believe is aluminum. Hence, if Tesla is the only game in town for repairs, insurance companies have no choice. Looking at the thread about insurance costs, they appear very reasonable except my insurance, Allstate which quoted $1600/6 months as a tentative quote. I note someone in my area with a sig was quoted about $560/6mos. with Geico. Guess where my insurance is going!

My quote from Liberty Mutual is $890 for one year


Where do you live and how many miles drive per year? What deductable?

I guess we'll have to wait til someone gets into a collision to see how this goes.

AllState quoted use $600 / 6 months.

In Ontario your insurance provider cannot direct you to any repair shop; you are free to take your car anywhere. In my case I'd drop the car off at the closest Tesla repair depot.

For me, State Farm @ $602/6mo, $1k deductable, doubling uninsured coverage from $25k to $50k given the price of the car. For reference, my LEAF is $386/6mo, so the premium is roughly proportional to the prices of the two cars.

Good question Archibald, I just posted a new thread about this subject.

Allow me to give you some professional advice about the process.

First of all, let's clarify the difference between how it is supposed to work and what you called "normally works" (I call it insurance company taking advantage of misinformed customer). You never have to go the insurance company's choice of shops. This is not to bash on all insurance co's but most will take your car to a shop under the ruse of providing a service, in order to minimize expenses for themselves. If you know a good shop that will take care of YOU, use them. If you have no clue on where to go, either do the research (yelp is a good resource) or just roll over, play dumb and let the insurance handle it themselves.

There are no aftermarket parts for Tesla. And I wouldn't expect to see any in the near future. Not because of patents, but rather the demand is really low (for now).

Since the Tesla is aluminum, the repairs are NOT run of the mill. Maybe 1 in every 100 shops is equipped for aluminum repairs. Keep in mind, none of the 2 or 3 welders approved by Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, etc is NOT the welder approved by Tesla. So just cause they say they are aluminum equipped, doesn't mean they have the right equipment.

Teslas are ONLY approved to be repaired on Carbench jig system. So if the shop has conventional frame machines, or even Celette jigs, they will NOT be able to do structural repairs on your Tesla.

Up until recently, any Model S that sustained collision damage, would have been sent back to the factory for repairs. As Tesla continues to certify shops all over the country, the collision repair process has become MUCH easier. Insurance adjusters (in my experience) are willing to accept the expertise of a certified shop and do what is asked of them. So whatever the certified shop says will go. If you chose to have the repairs done at a non-certified shop, you will see some resistance from the insurance. More importantly, Tesla WILL NOT sell structural parts to non-certified shops.

So IF something happens to your Tesla, you have nothing to worry about. Tesla will point you in the right direction and make sure your experience as an owner is a pleasant one. I've seen first hand the amount of care and research they have put into the collision repair process (as it's a realistic part of ownership) and I can assure you, you have nothing to worry about.


Good to know.

Also sounds like simple body work on the Model S is going to be obscenely expensive for insurance companies.

Someone was already in an accident. See post (may be private) "first scratch, ding in your Model S" He has to obviously have factory handle and was told it would be ninety, yes, ninety hours of work!

Someone was already in an accident. See post (may be private) "first scratch, ding in your Model S" He has to obviously have factory handle and was told it would be ninety, yes, ninety hours of work! (lajollan)

Here's the thread:

Tesla has approved an aluminum-certified body shop in the Seattle area. It is Queen City Auto Rebuild in Redmond, WA. It's got a very good reputation, but I was told by an insurance guy that it's the most expensive body shop in the state -- handles very high end aluminum body cars.

I assume that they would get their replacement parts from the factory and do the body work themselves.

@appljd - can you share your allstate agent contact with me -
I got a quote from allstate for 1150 for 6 months. (its 1800 for six months with my 18 year old on the policy - may move him to his own policy - expensive either way)

@WSC - Just called liberty mutual and they told me they stopped insuring the tesla. :-(

I had a minor bump/scrape on the front driver side corner. DC store sent me to a shop they are buds with. Got an estimate where they plan no part replacement just repaint, multi layer, sig red. $2700. They say I am the second Model S, they have done many Roadsters. I'll let you know how it goes.

Drive cautiously everyone. Our recent minor dent/scratches on rear passenger door and quarter panel were just estimated at Beaverton Oregon Precision Auto body for 5,591.20. Ouch. I suspect Insurance rates will likely be going up.

I was rear ended by a Hyundai Elantra this afternoon. The feeling was so surreal...REALLY REALLY did someone just rammed into my 4 1/2 mo. old baby?! My rear bumper broke but still hanging in there, the lip of the trunk lid dented some with chipped paint noted, plastic parts right inside the trunk broke apart. The car felt rough driving home, luckily it was only about 1 mile from home. I am not crying right now in front of my kids, but perhaps after they have gone to bed :((( The guy's insurance, liability only as it is the minimum required in Texas, was effective only today at 2:21 pm and the accident literally happened an hour after that! I called his insurance company and they did not have Tesla in their database. They said someone will call and come look at it. What should I be concerned about the car since I was at a stand still and he hit me hard enough to really damaged his front end. I would post a picture if someone shows me how. Anyone knows how to calculate the lost of value amount because of the accident? I have 3,700 miles or so on the car. Had anyone been rear ended, and what is the outcome? Thanks for any guidance.

My 11 month parked S60 was hit by 4500 pound Land Rover doing about 40 in residential street by a drunk. Drunk in jail. She's insured. Car taken to approved Tesla repair (Chilton - in SF Bay Area). Declared total loss (Tesla would provide one of the parts - compromises structural integrity. Tesla gives classes on aluminum welding to Chilton. Close relationship. Both my insurance company (USAA) and Tesla said go to Chilton. Tesla told me to go there. USAA said they trust Chilton and they don't second guess their estimates. Problem now is how to determine loss - replacement value: well they have the colors and features I had. Features actually better, but more expensive. "Depreciation" - Tesla uses a monthly and mileage combo formula. Looking at Craig's list (don't buy there!), the prices all over the map. Plan to get S85 demo that's closest to what we had.

Host a picture on a website like photobucket. They may have special procedures or code for HTML posting, but if not display the pic full size, then rt-click and select Copy Image Location. Paste that url in <img src="URL" width="600"> , using the quotes as shown.

@Brian H,
Do you think photobucket is the easiest site to host a photo on? If not, which other one do you recommend? I tried dropbox, but do not like it.

Flickr also works, but you have to follow their procedure and copy their HTML generally. All the sites seem to be messing around with what works; Dropbox is the worst right now, for allowing display here.

My insurance had an "replacement cost estimator" provide an estimate. Condition average. I argued it's perfect. They said, yes, perfect is average for a Tesla! They raised to to above average.

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