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Geico

I have a one month old car. It has been flawless and I love it. When I got the car I shopped for insurance and found Geico had by far the best rates. Last week while driving on the freeway (in Las Vegas), a truck kicked up some debris(probably a small piece of metal) which hit my hood and put a 2 inch gash in it, luckily not all the way through the metal. I called the local Tesla service center, and they sent me to a high end body shop. I was quoted about $1,000 to fix the ding. My deductible is $1,000, so obviously I won't make a claim. But the body shop (which had 2 other Tesla's there as well as other exotics) told me that if the damage WAS substantial enough to make a claim, Geico would not authorize them to do the work. Instead they (Geico) would insist on a cheaper second rate body shop which might not do the repair correctly. They advised me to switch from Geico.

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with filing a claim with Geico and if so how things worked out.

I have Geico and had to file a claim for damage to my bumper soon after delivery. I have a $500 deductible so a claim was inevitable. Initially, the process was pretty painless. They set up an appointment with an adjuster at their local collision shop. Their normal mode of operation (at least in Flirida) is to push you towards letting their sponsored shop do the repair in return for a garuntee. But they did let me know that I could choose any repair shop I wanted. I got the impression they were compelled to tell me this by law. Again, this could be a Florida thing.
I chose to go to a specialized body shop recommended by Tesla. They were certified to work on the aluminum panels and had done several already. At the end, I was very pleased with the repair, but the game the body shops play with the insurance companies can be very frustrating.
I went to several comparable shops for quotes before my meet with the adjuster in an effort to see if I could work the system to have the repair covered 100% (no deductible). What I found is that the process makes that almost impossible. Without fail, they all took a quick look and, within 1 minute, started telling me about the supplemental claim they were sure to file.
Geico will do the initial estimate and low-ball the repair by about half, then write you a check on the spot for that amount. The body shop you go will immediately file a supplemental with Geico and negotiate for the difference. Typically, it seems, no work will begin on your car until this "negotiation" is complete. In my case, it took almost three weeks and was only completed thru intervention, phone calls, and complaining by me. The repair could have been completed in the first week but the game they played stretched it out unnecessarily.
I would use my experience to start asking questions about the requirements in your state.

"I chose to go to a specialized body shop recommended by Tesla. They were certified to work on the aluminum panels and had done several already."

I guess I don't know enough about auto construction. Are aluminum panels not commonly used? Do you really need a special body shop to work on a Tesla?

It could be a state by state thing, but im pretty sure you have to get a adjuster to look at the car and they can require you to come to them. But after that in every state i have been to you can get the car fixed by the shop of your choice.

I have comparable quotes from Geico, Progressive and Hartford (my insurance guy) which are all between $100-$150/mo. I believe Geico and Progressive offer windshield coverage. Given that Tesla windshields are almost $1,000 and probably have to be bought from them, will these companies ultimately honor their windshield replacement? Mercury Insurance (on my Prius) tried to push me off onto their windshield people, who were awful.

Also, Mercury quoted me $4,000 per year for the Tesla policy while Progressive quoted $1,200, Geico quoted $1,500 and Hartford quoted $1,800.

Coverage:

  • 100/300/100
  • No medical
  • Uninsured motorist
  • $500 deductibe
  • $30/day rental reimbursement
  • No roadside

Progressive does not differentiate between Model S variants - they will insure an S60 at the same rate as a P85, I even had one of their agents input a P85 VIN and the rate did not change. Progressive was the lowest.

It definitely varies by location. I tried to get Progressive, since they do our boat and RV, and were awesome when our boat had to be repaired after hitting a sand bar. But, they couldn't come close to Geico. Salt Lake City, UT.

My driver side front fender was hit by a deer that ran into my stopped car. I went to Geico for an appraisal. The appraiser was located at a body shop and had no idea what the cost of the repair would be as the car was not in their database. The appraiser eventually estimated the repair at $902. All the cars at the shop there were Hondas, Toyotas, etc. I called Tesla and they told me to take it to a shop 50 miles away that was certified to work on the car.

Geico paid all the material costs but refused to pay the labor rate for the repair, saying it was greater than the amount they allow. It took 6 calls from me (going up the ladder at Geico) and threatening to file a lawsuit before they agreed to pay the labor fee.

I'm stuck with them for the moment because I had a 17 year old son that just got a license, and Geico was thousands of dollars less expensive than other companied. However, when he goes away to college this fall, I can remove him from the policy and I will then shop around for other companies. The body shop noted they alwatys have problems with Geico and recommended State Farm.

@rdalcanto

Aluminum body panels are selected for weight reduction in higher end cars like Jaguar or Aston Martin, but are more expensive than their sheet metal counterparts, so not as common. Aluminum requires a slightly different skill set and tools for welding or forming, thus the specific certification.

ChasF;
Heh. Aluminum is a sheet metal. It is not steel, of course.

Tesla stamps all of the body parts in-house. Not knowing anything about automotive manufacturing, I found that impressive - along with the size of the machine that does the stamping! Tesla's electric motors and a lot of the parts that make up the car are manufactured on-site as well.

@BrianH

"Heh. Aluminum is a sheet metal. It is not steel, of course."

Heh. While technically true, industry standard vernacular differentiates between the two. Sheet metal is always assumed to be steel by those that deal with it.

Geico was pretty insistent with me that "their" body shop could have repaired my car for their labor rate. I argued that the car is aluminum and they said the Tesla is no different from a Honda or a Prius. They took the position that any shop could have bolted on a new fender and then painted it.

Needless to say, I was not pleased with Geico. This was the first time in nearly 40 years of driving that I needed body work on my car, and I hope it will be another 40 years (should I live that long) before I need such work again.

@AmpedRealtor, I am really surprised at how high your quoted rates are (especially Mercury, wow!). I know it can vary a lot by location (I live in MN), but I am with State Farm and before I finalized my order, I asked my agent to quote it and she said it would be $1088/yr for an 85kwh and the 60kwh would be less. I have the highest liability limits they offer (everyone should, they are not expensive), but $1,000 deductible for comp & collision. I have a clean record and am in my upper 30's. looking forward to getting my car in about 2-3 weeks.

This is not Tesla related but it is Geico related. My wife and I had a mishap in the snow with our MB GL450. We were on a road trip at the time. I called Geico and told them what happened. They told me they would get moving on it as fast as possible considering we were on a round trip drive. I got a loaner from the Mercedes dealer and told him I would be back in 5 days and I needed the car by then. One air strut, a lower control arm and a new knuckle later, the dealer had met with the Geico adjuster and done all of the repairs in 5 days. The Geico guys were extremely helpful in getting the work done as quickly as possible. In fact, the dealer said the Geico adjuster he met was the best adjuster he had ever dealt with. The bill was $4,200 and Geico wrote a $3,200 check on the spot to the dealer. My deductible was $1,000. I have nothing but great things to say about Geico. Now, I don't know how things will go with my Tesla, but I am confident they will take care of me.

P.S. They did raise my rates on renewal, $170, which I find pretty reasonable considering the payout they made.

Personally, I find the "raising rates on renewal" to be a ripoff. What was the pool of shared premiums doing before the accident? Funding exec parties?

Coincidentally, just saw a TV blurb for the new 'esurance', pure internet dealings, backed by Allstate. Don't have any details tho'.

Thanks for all the responses - although some did get a little off subject. Not really talking about comparing rates - more on whether Geico will live up to its end of the bargain and pay for the work in a body shop that does quality work, instead of a bargain basement shop.

ChasF, it seems like you got the work done, but with a lot of complaints first.

Steve_W, did they eventually do the work to your satisfaction?

I assume any insurance company has a legal obligation to have the car repaired to a "pre accident" condition. So if the car is new, to a new car condition.

We have GEICO, and they have been VERY good about letting us take our cars where we want, though they "try" to suggest a connected repair shop. I have been hit by other vehicles while in both pou Leaf and Volt. We simply insisted on using the best body shop in Sacramento and GEICO was totally cooperative.

We have recently added out Model S to the coverage of the above cars and it is increasing our annual bill a bit under $800.

Working with aluminum DOES take very special welding if any of that would be required.

The Tesla certified shop did a great job. I do not think Geico's shop would have done the same quality job.

I have been a GEICO customer > 30 years. So I have had been through the claims department a few times. They have never required me to use there approved shop. They have only strongly encouraged me to do so. If I choose not use a GEICO shop they would be no guarantee of the repair. I live in VA... and some rules are state specific (don't know if this is one of them).

After many years (12+) of having Geico, I had to finally file a claim against Geico for hitting a falling derbies on the road.

Geico denied my claim suggesting that I haven't done enough to avoid the derbies.

Gievn that changing the lanes was not an option, I tried to convince him that if I had tried to avoid I would have it the other lanes and I would have been injured.

Thye Geico guy said, "well that's the only way we could have approved your claim"

Basically Geico was suggesting that I injure myself.

I basically said FU Geico on the same day and switched to AAA.

Geico is a scam.

debris?

ChasF

Any idea who finally approved? Have a name and number, by chance? I have calls in to Geivo HQ in Atlanta, but no replies yet.


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