Tesla's cars are tremendously complex, with a multitude of sensors and custom body parts.
That makes them extra difficult to repair in the event of a crash.
Insurers are increasingly declaring Tesla cars totaled in an accident instead of paying for a fix.
Crash your shiny new Tesla?
You may be in for a surprise when you get an estimate from your insurance company about getting it fixed.
Insurers are increasingly writing off — or "totaling" — a Tesla even after light damage because of their complexity and repair cost, according to market-watchers at Kelley Blue Book.
Because there are so many tech features like sensors and cameras in the car — on top of highly specific parts that can only be fixed by Tesla or one of its approved body shops — it's often cheaper to declare the vehicle destroyed and send it to the scrapyard instead of getting it back in working order.
Luckily, many elements of an electric car's drivetrain can be salvaged. In some cases, parts might find themselves powering a classic conversion by a small handful of enthusiasts who are retrofitting some of the most famous cars ever made to run on electricity.
The manufacturing expert Sandy Munro said matters were made more complicated by Tesla's new "structural battery packs" that he said had "zero repairability" because they are integrated with the car's body.
"A Tesla structural battery pack is going straight to the grinder," Munro, who's known for his vehicle teardowns, told Reuters earlier this year.
A study by two major salvage companies found that "a vast majority" of the more than 120 Model Ys that were declared totaled had fewer than 10,000 lifetime miles, Reuters reported.
Tesla is acutely aware of the high insurance costs of its vehicles. Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged in January that the costs were "unreasonably high" but said that the company had implemented design changes in the bumper to make some repairs easier and was also working to ensure the availability of spare parts.
"So if you're waiting for a part to get repaired and that part takes a month, now you've got a month of having to rent another car. It's extremely expensive," he said on Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call in January. "And, of course, you're missing the car that you love and the one you actually want to drive. So this has actually a very significant effect on total cost of ownership and customer happiness."
Tesla has also been working to offer its own insurance products in some states, including California, with premium prices based on driving data from cars' onboard sensors.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Are you a Tesla owner who's struggled with repairs or service? We want to hear from you. Reach the author of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the original article on Business Insider