tesla-crash-test

A report in Seeking Alpha says replacing a quarter panel on a Tesla Model S costs as much as $18,000 versus, which is more than a lot of people pay for a new car. Why is the cost so high, and how is that affecting insurance prices?

To be sure, repairing any expensive luxury car like a Tesla Model S is going to cost a big chunk of change. However, there are some unique factors governing the high costs of repairing the Model S, including:

1. The Model S is only two years old, and that means there are few (if any) used parts available at any given moment.

2. There are even fewer body repair shops with experience in repairing the Model S. Again, because it’s so new and relatively rare (with just over 50,000 on the road so far) few people have had a “hands on” experience with them.

3. Repair costs for the Model S are still about equivalent to those for other premium luxury cars like the Audi A8. In almost all cases, a quarter panel repair typically costs about 20% of the car’s original purchase price.

In other words, there really isn’t enough of a problem here for people to get their jockey shorts in a wad about, at least not yet.

The report goes on to say that high repair costs afflicted early hybrid vehicles but now that those have been around for a decade or more, prices have come back down. In fact, over the long term hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius have proven to be among the most reliable on the road. Seeking Alpha expects the same normalization to occur as more Model S cars hit the roads and more body shops gain experience in fixing them.

In a survey, Model S buyers rated the cost of insurance 12th on the list of things they consider before buying one. In other words, insurance costs are about as important to Tesla owners as gas prices.