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INSURANCE: BE CAREFUL WITH GEICO

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.

renwo S alset | 11 avril 2014

It's GEICO. What did you expect?

Mathew98 | 11 avril 2014

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.

Captain_Zap | 11 avril 2014

Karma sucks.

hamer | 11 avril 2014

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.

DTsea | 11 avril 2014

I have ACE and they are excellent.

nvjx | 11 avril 2014

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.

LEvans | 11 avril 2014

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.

shop | 11 avril 2014

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.

Plugged In | 11 avril 2014

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

nbw13462530 | 11 avril 2014

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.

jinglehyme | 11 avril 2014

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!

Dwdnjck@ca | 11 avril 2014

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.

Gadfly | 11 avril 2014

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.

LEvans | 11 avril 2014

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.

Gadfly | 11 avril 2014

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.

P85D | 11 avril 2014

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

Dwdnjck@ca | 11 avril 2014

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.

mallynb | 11 avril 2014

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.

P85D | 11 avril 2014

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

George with SacEV | 11 avril 2014

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!

George with SacEV | 11 avril 2014

The next YEAR

GIdoc | 11 avril 2014

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.

lph | 11 avril 2014

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.

nvjx | 11 avril 2014

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.

sbeggs | 11 avril 2014

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.

TESLA CA | 11 avril 2014

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

NomoDinos | 12 avril 2014

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.

TDurden.or.us | 12 avril 2014

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

dfriedman415 | 12 avril 2014

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.

Gadfly | 12 avril 2014

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?

Bighorn | 12 avril 2014

Glass coverage depends on the state. It was eliminated in WY because of all the claims, according to my State Farm agent.

Gadfly | 12 avril 2014

TeslaCA: what "authorized" means is 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 have a big certificate on the wall 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.

NVJX: we have the same law in Arizona. You missed the point, so I will make it again. The law does not require them to pay whatever the shop wants to charge. If it did, what would keep the shop from charging $1000 an hour?

And I am happy that many of you have had nothing but good experience with Geico. 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.

AmyOo | 12 avril 2014

I have Geico in Los Angeles. I was backed into by a truck. Fender and parking sensor needed to be replaced and damage behind bumper needed repair to allign trunk. After Geico handed me the estimate I was told it was probably way off base (it was by a long shot) and they would negotiate with repair shop. I used the shop recommended by Tesla Service and they handled everything although there was a lengthy delay of two weeks before work was started. The shop even negotiated the payment of redoing opticoat on the bumper! In the end, Geico came through.

riceuguy | 13 avril 2014

As for glass claims, this does in fact vary by state. Here (TX) it is covered after your comprehensive deductible, unless it is a repair, then no deductible. This isn't a Geico thing. My experience with Geico has been great. You shouldn't generalize about an insurer based on one experience in one state. Insurers have to operate differently in all 50 states.

Brian H | 13 avril 2014

gparrot;
Fascinating to imagine the two agents or adjusters at Geico going at it hammer and tongs over the claim ...

Gadfly | 21 avril 2014

Good experiences with Geico don't count unless you have actually have them do a body repair on a Tesla.

Steve_W | 21 avril 2014

I was insured with Amica for about 20 years until I got my Tesla. They did not want to insure it, as they considered it an exotic vehicle. When push came to shove, the underwriters quoted me $4,000/yr for insurance, twice what I was paying for 3 other cars. So I switched to Geico.

Shortly after getting the Tesla, a deer ran into the front left fender. Took the car to the authorized repair shop and ran into the same problem Trekie Not did. But he did not handle the situation properly. The problem is that Geico has recommended shops that agree to do work for agreed upon reimbursement fees. If Geico agreed to pay the authorized Tesla shop a higher rate, the "geico" shops would demand the same reimbursement rates. It took a few calls to Geico, going up the chain of command, but they ultimately said that if I paid the disallowed amount out of my pocket, they will send me a check for that amount. I paid the disallowed amount, send Geico the bill and had a check from them within a week. By this method, they paid the bill, but could assert to their shops that they did not pay a higher repair rate to the tesla authorized shop.

SDR06 | 22 avril 2014

I agree with many of you. As I have posted in the other thread, GEICO is a big scam. I switched away from GEICO about 2+ years back after they blamed me for not doing enough to avoid debris on the road. Basically the guy was saying that if I had injured or died by hitting the car in the next lane, they would have covered it. I couldn't believe the crap he was saying. I even complained to his superiors with no avail.

Please don't be fooled by their ads. They apparently are the best insurance company to have if you NEVER had to file a claim. They have the worst claims department I have ever dealt with.

If you continue to have GEICO, please don't say later that you have NOT been warned ;)

GoBlue88 | 22 avril 2014

Yeah, USAA is definitely great if you can get it. I will never switch from them.

drax7 | 22 avril 2014

I've had a bad experience with geico, after 20 years at the first insignificant
Claim they screwed me. I moved away, they are thieves.

Gadfly | 22 avril 2014

Steve W

I also made several calls up the chain of command but got no satisfaction. That is another knock on this company: They do not have a consistent way of dealing with these things.

So go ahead and continue with Geico and have The hassle of having to make calls up the chain of command every time you have a claim, submitting bills, etc.

I am in the process of switching to Encompass, Allstate's high-end product for the HNW market, which is an Agreed Value policy. Not only will they pay 95% of the full original pre-rebate purchase price of the car if it is ever totaled, they pay the manufacturer's recommended labor rates on repairs, which means no more GEICO type problems. $1450 per year, all the bells and whistles, $1000 deductible, and I have had three claims since 2011.

If you live in Arizona or California you can get a policy like this through Bennett and Porter. Call Josh Johnson at 480-212-1150 office, or 602-525-7118 cell. Or email him at jjohnson@bapins.com. Josh is an excellent high end broker AND a Tesla owner!

AmpedRealtor | 7 juin 2014

I just received an agreed value policy from Encompass Insurance with 250/500 coverage for under $100/mo. They will cover the full purchase price of the car if it is totaled. Not only that, but I got a killer multi-policy discount for all of my properties and other vehicles. Call Susan w/ BBVA Compass at 602-977-3646 or email her at susan.fragoso@bbvacompass.com.

s.tournier | 7 juin 2014

I had 2 insurance companies quoting me $2500 and over for my coverage. A lot of insurance companies don't know what a Tesla car is. I personally stayed away from Geico because they could not insure my house (something about my diving board and fence - really?). They also seemed too cheap to be true which based on this post might be true. I am with State Farm and so far, so good. Good rate.....

Steve_W | 7 juin 2014

Gadfly,

In 39 years of driving, the incident with the deer running into the car was the only accident I had. My Geico policy is $750/yr (adding two 6 month policies together), which is half of what your policy costs. Plus my deductible is $200 which is $800 less than your deductible.

Yes, it took a few phone calls to get the issue resolved. But over 39 years, the savings between my policy and yours is tremendous.

Sudre_ | 7 juin 2014

I am with Steve_W.

Using the OPs example. He paid 500 extra for his repair.... I don't know about all of you but I don't have fender benders that often... maybe one every ten years if that. Looking at the quoted policy prices from all of you I am coming out ahead by a lot using Geico. Who cares about the extra 500 when I am saving thousands over the years.

If you have accidents on a regular bases then I agree you would probably be better off with an insurance carrier that suits your needs.

windex | 7 juin 2014

I got an online quote from GEICO and they called me six times the next day. On top of that I have a roughly $200k net 90 line of credit from dell for my side business and they sent me a letter that my rate quote was increased for having a "consumer direct credit account". They aren't getting my business but not for these reasons in the thread.

Ma'Tes | 8 juin 2014

@TDurden

Sorry, but what is BYD?

Intros | 9 juillet 2014

State Farm wanted me to pay $7000 of my repair bill one month ago, a month later they came down to $4500 that I am suppose to pay.

A Tesla was in the same shop a month berfore mine with State Farm and is in litigation to get his repairs payed for by State Farm.

State Farm does not want to put down the 115 dollar labor rate on paper so they would rather pay after being sued or the threat of being sued thus avoiding putting the 115 dollar labor rate down on paper but instead categorize it as a different payout.

amatiych | 9 juillet 2014

I called Tesla in NY asking them about approved body shops. They said there is only one in NYC. Precision Auto in Long Island City (Queens).

I also called several insurance companies (Nationwide, Statefarm, Liberty Mutual) and every one of them confirmed that they would have no problem paying the cost of the certified body shop. I went with nationwide and got this confirmation in writing.

I also asked the shop which insurance they prefer and they said as a certified body shop they never had an issue with any of the major insurance companies.

LEvans | 9 juillet 2014

@amatiych: As long as you get it in writing. Many forum members have been shafted by their insurance companies by not wanting to pay the labor rate of the certified body shop.

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