We’ve been hearing about Tesla collision repair costs for years, as YouTubers and angry drivers took to the internet to complain about massive bills after seemingly minor crashes. Insurance companies, bewildered by massive repair bills, tend to write the vehicles off rather than repair them – and many have astonishingly low miles.
Reuters reports that the Tesla Model Y can be so expensive to repair after a crash that they’re being sent to salvage auctions instead of fixed. The publication studied more than 120 Model Y vehicles listed on various auction sites late last year. Most were basically new, with fewer than 10,000 miles on the clock, raising questions about why a $50,000-$60,000 vehicle is tossed after a fender bender.
Many have proven Tesla’s in-house repair costs to be almost punitive, as YouTuber Rich Rebuilds showed that he could repair a Model 3 for under $1,000 after being quoted $16,000 at a Tesla Service Center. Another content maker in Finland filmed himself blowing up a Model S after an almost $23,000 battery replacement bill.
Reuters’ investigation found some fixes that topped $50,000. That cost goes beyond simple body repair and gets into battery packs, sensors, and technology replacements. However, regardless of the reason, it’s clear that something needs to be done. What, exactly, depends on whom you ask.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes the solution is to buy the automaker’s in-house insurance, which he promised is cheaper than traditional coverage options. He said changing software and updating vehicle design will help, saying, “we want to minimize the cost of repairing a Tesla if it’s in a collision.” He acknowledged that changes in design and parts could significantly impact repair costs but also admitted that most accidents are minor, such as a cracked fender or scratch.
Insurers write the cars off but hesitate to issue new Tesla vehicle policies. The ones that do charge for the privilege, knowing that someday they might be called to repair a bumper that costs more than the vehicle’s MSRP. That they’re willing to scrap Model Ys with less than 10,000 miles on the clock shows how unreasonable the costs can be.