>$20K for a rear quarter panel! Do insurance rates reflect that?

>$20K for a rear quarter panel! Do insurance rates reflect that?

Lolachamp quotes very high cost to repair minor damage. Panels are welded, rather than bolted on. How do rates for the Tesla compare to cars of similar purchase price? Has anyone renewed their Tesla policy yet?

petochok | December 23, 2013

What other current production cars do you know that have bolt in rear quarter panels in either aluminum or steel, for that matter?

Steve_W | December 23, 2013

I had to get the fender replaced on my car after a deer ran into the side of the car. The insurance company covered the repair under the comprehensive section of my policy. When my 6 month renewal came up, the renewal cost for months 6-12 was less that the initial cost for months 0-6.

Dramsey | December 23, 2013

My Tesla insurance costs about the same as my 2013 Audi A6 insurance, even though it's a much more expensive car.

Welded-on body panels, especially in the rear, are quite common in modern cars.

YMMV, of course. I'm 57 and insure 5 cars with State Farm, so perhaps I get a break.

DTsea | December 23, 2013

Al modern cars are welded unibody construction, because its cheap ($1700 for a steel car body) and absorbs energy much better in a crash than chassis and body panel construction.

jbunn | December 23, 2013

I agree with the consensus. Rear quarter panels are part of the car and welded. The front fenders on most cars are bolted on, including the Tesla if you look at the body in white.

Nu2Ecar | December 23, 2013

Does the consensus believe that >$20K for a rear panel replacement is in line with other cars in the same price category?

Suturecabre | December 23, 2013

Yes, my rear panel's in that ballpark also, including prep/paintwork...The parts are not going to be as cheap as there aren't millions of MSs to spread the development and manufacturing costs over per unit, plus being a high-end car, most of the Tesla-authorized shops are also high-end and charge more - in some cases a lot more. For painting, the best shops use the most expensive paints and spend very little time actually painting, over 90% of the job is prep. The place my car is at now has Ferrari Enzos and such shipped in from out of state. I would think you're looking at similar figures for $100k+ cars like Porsches and S-Classes taken to the same shops.

bradtesla | December 23, 2013

Insurance cost is pretty much the same for our 2012 BMW 750i ($100k MSRP) and our 2013 Tesla Model S P85+ ($116k MSRP) ...

carlk | December 24, 2013

I understand Lolachamp is selling the demaged MS but I did not see where he said about the repair quote. Could you direct me to the post?

riceuguy | December 24, 2013

Repair costs are indeed very high compared to many pay of our previous cars (Infiniti G37 for me), but thanks to the combination of limited repair data and insanely low injury rates (0 serious injuries, 0 deaths after 100 million miles), insurance rates from a number of major carriers are dirt cheap. For better coverages on a car that is roughly twice the cost of my previous car I am paying less than $30/month difference, so no complaints here!

PatT | December 24, 2013

I hit a deer -- rather it hit me in the front fender; broke the windshield and required some work to the bumper connections and the side view mirror. The front fender was readily available from the factory for $550 but, because I have a Pearl White, they can't ship a painted fender. Bottom line out the door was $8200 paid as a comp claim.

I just got my renewal from Safeco and my premium went down 20%.

Andre-nl | December 24, 2013

"insanely low injury rates (0 serious injuries, 0 deaths after 100 million miles)"

Repairing humans is very, very expensive.

SamO | December 24, 2013

Even a $20,000 panel is cheap as compared to a back, neck or even an arm or leg.

The fact that the car keeps the insured safe will eventually drive down insurance costs even further. Can't wait for Tesla's autopilot feature.

AmpedRealtor | December 24, 2013

100/300 insurance for my P85 costs less than it did for my 2007 Prius Touring.

Pungoteague_Dave | December 24, 2013

@SamoSam, will that be a downloaded update?

SamO | December 24, 2013

Elon Musk mentioned GEN III as having 90% autopilot. I hope it will be backwards compatible with hardware upgrades, but I'm not holding my breath.

lolachampcar | December 24, 2013

You can do a search for MS repair on TMC and you will find a few examples of rear quarter panels between $17K and $21K depending upon the labor rate in the geographic area.

The Tesla Certified shop I took my wife's car to for a quote (on Monday, do not expect to hear back until after Christmas) had an A8, Quattroporte and Panamera all getting either quarters or rear sections. All were welded, riveted and bonded in place and all were VERY expensive repairs. My wife's car is a RR quarter plus two door shells thus the large number.

avanti | December 24, 2013

I don't have specific data to contribute, but it is certainly the case that repair parts for very expensive cars (of which the MS is obviously an example) are in general vastly higher than for mainstream vehicles. There are many obvious reasons for this including: (a) limited volume; (b) lack of aftermarket competition (because of "a"); (c) higher overall quality (sometimes); (d) price elasticity from deep-pocket purchasers; (e) free biscotti and Keurig coffee at the repair shops; and (f) extra manufacturer profit.

I once owned a rare 1990 Audi V8. It had a serpentine belt that cost $1000 (in 1990 dollars).

[Don't get me started about how appalling Audi customer service caused this to be the last Audi I will ever own.]

lolachampcar | December 24, 2013

The would need to burry me in that RS6 for me to ever brake even :( I did like that stereo.

Brian H | December 24, 2013

Only till the organ vats get going. ;p

Just remember, other cars are flimsy junk by comparison, and you will damage or kill the contents if you hit them.

Brian H | December 24, 2013

↑ is to Andre-ni

Memo to self: refresh, then post. Duh.

jordanrichard | December 24, 2013

As Andre-nl said, humans are expensive to repair. Insurance companies really don't care about the money to repair the car, it's the medical bills be it short term or long term, that they are worried about. So as time goes by and the insurance industry gets data to back up what the NHSTA says about the MS being the safest car on the road, they will lower the insurance rates. It will be interesting to see what the insurance industry's pet project the IIHS, says about the MS once they crash test one.

Lessmog | December 25, 2013

@ Brian H: But the juxtaposition was full of comic. Thanks for the laugh!

LEvans | December 26, 2013

If insurance costs for a small repair end up in the $20K range sooner or later premiums will go up for Model S vehicles though. There has to be a reasonable way to fix and repair relatively minor damage or the slightest issue can total a 5 year car destroying its resale value.

jcaspar1 | December 26, 2013

The insurance for my P85 is less than my wife's 2012 Ford Explorer. Maybe because it is such a safe car. Similar to my 1997 Dodge Viper.

Nu2Ecar | December 27, 2013

Thanks for all the information regarding insurance rates and repair costs to expensive cars. I agree that the really expensive accidents are those that involve injury, but there are very many more minor fender benders. My guess was that minor accidents are a substantial feature of total repair costs, but insurance companies are not charities and they are in competition. The car has been available for long enough now that they have data.

jackhub | December 27, 2013

Hey guys and gals, get off the metal. Personal safety/injury is the story. I asked my insurance agent how the insurance for my Tesla could be less than for my 2005 Buick. Safety he said. Personal injury is the big issue in auto insurance. The insurance industry has tested and knows the Tesla to be the safest car on the road.

jackhub | December 27, 2013

Oh, yes. I just renewed the insurance on my Tesla with State Farm. The premium went DOWN.

Suturecabre | December 27, 2013

My insurance agents and claim adjuster have expressed interest in taking the matter up of going about proving who hit my car. I think we know who it was, but since there were no eyewitnesses, evidence is currently circumstantial unless they can match paint, broken bits, and impact damage from car to car.

One personal injury claim can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, and just a few of those can outweigh a hundred fender benders. Tesla drivers tend to be some of the most responsible drivers around, they care about their cars and are not apt to drive them recklessly, and in the event something happens, there has to date been very little payout involving injury if any, and certainly no fatalities. That's where the majority of the money that insurance companies pay out comes from, and is not really a factor for the Model S.

My claims adjuster said they normally don't do anything extraordinary to solve hit and runs unless there was major property and injury damage (well into 6 figures), but that my case was expensive for a parked car, it's kind of unique being a Tesla, and he has a personal interest in checking it out as they are very close by. Hopefully we get somewhere and the other guy's insurance pays for my quarter panel!

Brian H | December 28, 2013

"Don't ding a Tesla. The Insurance Agents will hunt you down, cost no object."

carolinagobo | December 28, 2013

If you have a car in the range of 70 to 100K high tech repairs are expensive nothing new here. Just imaging the repair cost of carbon fiber in BMW i3 and i8. The problem is that many owners of MS came from cars below 50k and now you are dealing with the maintenance and repairs in a different league. If you think 20K tear panel for a 100K aluminum car is the end of the world is not is what I expected. I use to own a Maserati and I think Tesla is actually cheaper about repairs. In Italy reach people drive Ferrari not because they are the once who can afford to buy it, because they are the folks that can maintained and repaired. Do not buy a mansion and expect repairs be quoted as a 1 bedroom apartment in a middle income neighborhood even is is the same repair.

lolachampcar | December 28, 2013


Can you share the cost of rear quarter panel repair (either quote or finished invoice)? Can anyone else chime in with documentation?

I'm in the midst of a "conversation" with the at fault insurance company regarding my wife's car and am collecting data points. Apparently State Farm has a history of coming in with an $8ish K quote when the final is in excess of $20K. I have no proof yet but it seems the tactic is to slow the process with supplementary adjustments to reduce losses. More data points on how other insurance companies approach this problem would be helpful.