Tesla just officially launched its highly anticipated Tesla Insurance offering for Tesla owners in California. It promises to save owners up to 30% on their premiums compared to traditional automotive insurance companies. Tesla Insurance also sets the company up to provide the end-to-end vehicle purchase, service, fueling, and insurance services in a buildup to the launch of the Tesla Network. Talk about integrated.
Tesla Insurance is initially offering “comprehensive coverage and claims management to support our customers in California,” with other states being added after the company works the initial bugs out of the system via customers in its home state.
Saving cash is great and the opportunity to save even more money by getting in the insurance bed with the automotive manufacturer comes with its own series of potential risks and benefits. First off, Tesla presumably knows its vehicles better than anyone else, so can initiate claims, start shipping parts, and schedule repairs faster than anyone else.
Getting insurance through Tesla also puts the company on the hook for getting owners back into their vehicles as quickly as possible after an accident. In my mind, this is the real incentive for signing up for Tesla Insurance, as stories of long delays to get Tesla vehicles repaired after an accident are a dime a dozen on any internet forum.
The prospect of having an integrated pool of Tesla Insurance loaner vehicles for customers getting vehicles repaired is also attractive, as Tesla wouldn’t have to pay an outside rental company to provide a combustion vehicle. It could instead keep owners in a Tesla vehicle in the zero-emission Tesla ecosystem. It could even use the loaner process as a tool to encourage owners to trade up and get into a new, higher-performance Tesla while their vehicle is being repaired.
The lower prices come from Tesla’s direct knowledge of the passive safety of its vehicles as well as the active safety technology present in every Tesla rolling off the line for the past couple of years. Tesla has more nuanced knowledge about the safety equipment in each specific vehicle as well as the statistical safety of similar vehicles on the road, giving it a much more accurate ability to price in or out the risk of an accident. The lower premiums reflect what Tesla has been telling us all along about the safety of its vehicles. When a vehicle is 4–6 times less likely to get into an accident than the average vehicle driving around in the US today, that means lower insurance costs.
Tesla Insurance is currently only available to owners of a Tesla Model S, X, 3, or Roadster in California, with the prospect of further improving the total cost of ownership of a Tesla compared to other vehicles. In other words, this makes the all-in cost of electric vehicles that much more accessible to people in California, and around the world eventually.
The new offering can be added to an owner’s Tesla account in less than a minute. After logging into the Tesla Account, all that’s needed is a confirmation of the owner’s address and driver’s license information. Then a preliminary quote pops out. Coverages, deductibles, and the like can be adjusted as needed and the price adjusts accordingly.
For customers purchasing a new Tesla, Insurance can be added as soon as a VIN is assigned to the order, making the pickup of a new vehicle that much easier.
Importantly, Tesla specifically notes that it will not use or record vehicle data, including GPS and vehicle camera footage, when pricing insurance. (Doing so, it seems, would be illegal.)
Also, this article from our in-house insurance expert is mandatory (recommended) reading: Tesla Insurance: Information Arbitrage To Save You Money.