Insurance Question

Insurance Question

My Model-S Sig is the first time I'm owning any kind of "select car". Does anyone know how insurance works with unique cars? It's not like I can get a new Sig if my car gets smooshed flat by a cement mixer. Hell, it'll take over a year to get a new Model-S.

jbunn | 01. april 2012

This fall I asked my insurance agent about insurance for my car. He's a gear head and I figured he'd be able to advise me.

It takes a few years for the underwriters to figure out how to rate the car. Perhaps a rear end damages the battery pack and a 4,000 job goes to a 34000 job... Or perhaps the car stands up really well, Tesla drivers turn out to be a sensable lot, or the low slung battery and powertrain turn out to survive impact better than ice cars. They don't know... It's also tough with a small sample size. Until enough of us crash our cars, we won't have much of a sample. And I'm hoping we never do.

So he said, they will base the premium on comparable cars of the same price range. Roughly speaking the Teslas might have premiums similar to the BMW 5, 6, and 7 series matching the entry, midrange and Sig models. I'd also expect the underwriter will pad a bit for his uncertanty... My agent though did not seem to think getting coverage would be an issue. I advise everyone to check it out in advance though.

Financing is another issue. My credit union is NOT set up to finance this type of electric car. Right now they only do 4, Tesla not being one. Again, I'd advise to start calling your lenders. We have two Tesla facilities here in Seattle, and one of our largest credit unions BECU is not with the program (yet).

To you point, about replacement... You crash it, you get a check. What you do with the check is up to you, but if the car can't be fixed, and if it's a year wait, I don't think your policy cares. The carrier can pay you, but they can't speed up the Freemont line for you, I don't think...

Brian H | 01. april 2012

Unless you're in a big hurry to total your Sig, I wouldn't sweat it too much. By the time you get around to wrecking it, the production line will be running full tilt, and waiting lists will be much shorter. And if you can hold off till 2 or 3 years from now to smoosh, mushk, cronge, or grunch it, the model upgrades will probably give you as much or more than your Sig now offers.

olanmills | 02. april 2012

It's wierd, I can understand why there are unknowns with regards to insuring the cars, but I don't understand why banks are avoiding/having trouble offering financing for this car.

I mean, it's not like it's some crazy custom flying contraption or something. From a practical standpoint, it's just a car. Yes, I know that this car is a game changer in many ways, but from a high level view, this is really just a car like any other. I mean, if you know how to operate any other ICE car, you can operate the Model S. I understand that for the loan underwriters, determining the residual value of the car should the car be repossessed or totaled or stolen may be a little different, but come on, they can just base it off of the same major features that they use for other cars: base price and optional features (sun roof, leather/fabric, etc etc)

jbunn | 02. april 2012

Olan, they seemed to be in the same mode as my mom. She asked about the car. What kind is it? I said, it's a Tesla. She said, who make it? I said Tesla.

I had the same conversaion with BECU. They had never heard of it.

Since you're local, I hope you'll help us out, and give them a call.

jbunn | 02. april 2012

Oh, and I also went to the Tesla dealer and tried to get him to call BECU... Good to lean on them too.

BECU has much better rates than BofA.

DeDe | 03. april 2012

I just got off the phone with USAA and the preliminary quote I got from them will increase our premiums about $90/month. We'll be adding the S as a third car instead of replacing.

Liz G | 03. april 2012

@John_DeDe looks like that's pretty consistent with the quote we got from USAA which was right around $800 annually

Brian H | 04. april 2012

That's <$70 month, quite a difference! Maybe the gender premium?

DeDe | 04. april 2012

I did indicate that John was the primary driver (he actually has the cleaner driving record!) driving around 20k miles annually. Our current insurance is at 15k miles per year... I think the premium was quoted more on the price of the car which I told her was $88k for the signature non-performance. Of course, no quote is final until VIN available. We're also in CA...

Jerry | 10. april 2012

To put it in perspective, my Tesla roadster (3rd car, so not as many miles as a primary car) was less than $900/yr (GEICO). I have a clean driving record and no speeding tickets (surprisingly). I would have expected it to be more, as I figured parts replacement and such would be very difficult. Not complaining though...

Brad Holt | 10. april 2012

I have a clean driving record and no tickets, BUT I'm 25 and single, so I got quoted at $2700/yr (Progressive). Yeesh! Maybe I should ask Geico too?

ddruz | 10. april 2012

Brad Holt, Please post what Geico tells you if you check with them. Thx.

EdG | 10. april 2012

I think 25 years old (and single male) or younger puts you in the highest priced group. Will you get the car before you turn 26? I think it may make a significant difference.

Slindell | 11. april 2012

Or hurry up and get married...

BYT | 11. april 2012

@Slindell, I was thinking the same thing! ;)

kent | 11. april 2012

It's less expensive to pay the insurance than to get married.

BYT | 11. april 2012

LOL, and in my case you also don't have to negotiate for every option you would like on your Model S as well! At this rate I will have to pay in a free spouse-to-spouse massages until I'm retired?

Brad Holt | 11. april 2012

Ha! We'll see if I get mine before I'm 26. February birthday and I'm P#4559. Might be a close call!

I haven't talked to Geico yet, but if/when I do I'll post here ASAP.

DallasTxModelS | 11. april 2012

@Brad Holt, Oh, to be 25 again. When I was 25 and single with a 10 year perfect driving record and no tickets, I had a brand new $25,000 Buick Riviera and my insurance premium for full coverage was $3500 a year. If I can buy a $80,000 Tesla Model S with an insurance premium of $2700 a year I'd be happy.

I haven't checked with Farmers Insurance of Texas about the insurance for the Model S because I didn't figure, that without a single car being delivered as of today, that they would even be able to speculate the cost of insuring one.

Once you get yours, I will check with my agent about the cost of insuring mine. (And maybe get a ride in yours, if I'm lucky.) Being that I'm 20 years older than you and now with a 30 year clean driving record and no tickets, I hope that I am rewarded with a nice low premium.

Unfortunately unlike John_DeDe I am replacing my one and only vehicle so I get no discount for multicar or recreational driving only, which is what third cars enjoy. But believe me if it was my third car it wouldn't be the one that stayed parked except for the occasional weekend drive in the country, I'm going to be driving it everywhere I go.

I hope you do get yours before your birthday because my reservation is 3000 higher than yours and I'm hoping to get mine by your birthday.

CIAOPEC | 19. april 2012

came across this article today. another positive for driving electric...


Chris DC | 23. kan 2012

Just got a quote from Liberty Mutual on a Model S. Rep had to verify with the underwriter since she didn't know about Tesla. Turns out the premium for a Model S is almost identical to my seven-year-old RAV4. One-year-premium for Model S and our Sienna will be less than $1,000.

That's good news. Now all I need is the Tesla delivery truck in our street...

ViewAskew | 23. kan 2012

@Chris DC. How were they able to give you an accurate quote without an actual VIN#? Just wondering?

Peter Spirgel | 23. kan 2012

@Chris DC. Chris, I had the same question as ViewAskew. I tried to confirm my insurer would cover my Model S and they said I needed a Vin# for them to issue a quote.

Chris DC | 23. kan 2012

For the quote only all they required was make, model and year of the vehicles, including the tesla.

ThomasN | 23. kan 2012

They shouldn't need a VIN for a quote.. I'd be extremely suspicious of any carrier that did insist upon it. Most people get quotes on various makes of cars to see which fits in their overall budget.

Teoatawki | 23. kan 2012

The VIN should only be required to issue the policy.

ViewAskew | 24. kan 2012

Just an article I thought I post for some reading.

"The best information you can offer to any auto insurance company is the VIN of the vehicle you’re thinking about purchasing (or already own). The VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is found on every vehicle. It can tell an insurance company the make, model and year of the car, truck or motorcycle. It also helps with auto insurance quotes because the insurance company can determine what kind of equipment came standard on that particular car. This could include things like front and side airbags and alarm systems, as well as anti-lock brakes and other options. The higher the number of safety features the lower the cost of insurance – no matter what type of car you’re driving. The VIN will provide the insurance company with the most accurate description of the car and, therefore, making it possible for them to provide the most accurate auto insurance quotes. You can certainly get auto insurance quotes without it, but you might find that your auto insurance policy doesn’t cost what you thought it would as it may adjust when you actually enter your VIN for the final purchase."

I don't want to rain on ANYONE'S parade for sure. If that's the case I'm more than happy for you. I just find it hard to believe that the insurance will be soooo low. I mean based on the cost of the vehicle and how EXTREMELY rare the parts will be, it's hard to wrap my head around. I think when insurance companies hear EV they think Volt and Prius. Once the reality hits that it's more along the lines of say a Jag in cost... I think that quote jumps. I hope I'm wrong

EdG | 24. kan 2012

I think a good part of an insurance quote is for the catastrophic. (Anyone who actually knows about insurance, please correct me.) Any supersafe car should get lower quotes than others.

On the other hand, the insurance companies surely haven't figured in any professional repairs of the aluminum structure or the battery.

On the other hand, they haven't had the time to actually get the official safety figures anyway.

And on the other hand, the number of cars like this they'll insure is far smaller than necessary to get any statistical significance to the numbers. Is the car so good to drive that drivers tend to avoid accidents? No data.

Brian H | 24. kan 2012

On yet another hand, the first owners are likely to be hyper-conscientious, and perhaps the i-companies know that.

That's 5 hands. Anyone have any more?

Thumper | 24. kan 2012

Repair costs should be somewhat similar to an Audi A8. These cars have been in production for a few years and companies should have some experience with them.

Jason S | 24. kan 2012

On the other^6 hand maybe the quote was for liability insurance and not comprehensive?

Liability is about the chance you run into somebody else. Comprehensive is chance you screw something up or run into somebody else or anything in between.

Vawlkus | 25. kan 2012

Now there's something to think about: repair costs.

Think about it, there are fewer parts, and I'll wager they're mostly cheaper than their ICE counterparts excepting the aluminum & the battery. Wonder how that'll work out.

Chris DC | 02. juni 2012

The quote included comprehensive coverage for all cars

pdesamours | 02. juni 2012

I was able to get a quote from State Farm (728 for 6 months with a 500 deductible) State Farm has the car in their database and asked the apprpriate questions (battery size? Performance Model?). The rate was roughly 10% higher than my 2006 Mercedes CLS 500 which it will replace.

jbherman | 08. juni 2012

I was quoted about $1400/yr on a fully loaded Sig Performance (Fireman's Fund). I'm in my 40s, married, children, clean driving record with no tickets (till I get my Model S!).

Brian H | 08. juni 2012

So, how many tickets per year are you now budgetting? ;) ;p

jbherman | 08. juni 2012

There is ALWAYS a policeman that sits on the corner of my street (right over the top of a hill)! I'm pretty careful...but this car on the highway...smells like trouble!

Timo | 09. juni 2012

It's good to have a strong regen. One of my favorite routes does have one "ticket trap": long downhill with speed limit dropping directly from 100km/h to 60km/h while still in downhill and right after that a speed camera. Regen helps to slowdown fast enough there without jumping to brakes. Too bad that insurances don't cover speed tickets.

Brian H | 09. juni 2012

If they did, your premiums would go up every time you got one!

BYT | 11. juni 2012

If they require a VIN# for a quote, just use one of the Beta's, it is just a quote after all. I always believe that if the system is broken, manipulate the hell out of it!