Car insurance for a Tesla Model S

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Teslas are reportedly the best-selling electric vehicles in the country, with all Tesla models appearing in the top 10. The Tesla S is the company’s sport luxury model. Although you may save on gas, there are other costs associated with Tesla ownership you should keep in mind. According to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums, Tesla Model S car insurance averages $3,802 per year.

Tesla Model S insurance costs may vary, depending on factors such as the year of the vehicle, equipment upgrades, the limits set for coverage, driving record, location, your age and other variables unique to each driver. Here’s a closer look at the factors that could affect your premiums.

How much does it cost to insure a Tesla Model S?

The Tesla Model S insurance cost is $3,802 per year for full coverage, based on quoted annual premiums. Rates may be higher or lower depending on the insurance provider you choose. Teslas are likely more expensive to insure because of the manufacturing cost and materials used. Besides the personal factors mentioned that could affect the cost of car insurance, model-specific items that can have a significant impact to vehicle coverage rates include:

  • Crash rate stats per make/model: The Model S exceeded IIHS vehicle safety ratings back in 2013, earning 5.4 stars out of 5 stars. No other vehicle has surpassed the agency’s rating system. Since the original rating, the model continues to earn superior ratings from the IIHS, except for headlamps, which the IIHS believes do not provide sufficient visibility in curves.
  • Price of parts: Tesla manufacturer parts can be pricey, with few aftermarket alternatives available. The sunroof may be the most expensive part of the S, with a price of $4,500. Repairing a Tesla provides an additional level of complexity; there are limited authorized repair shops and dealers. In addition, Teslas are manufactured using unibody casting. Minor damage to part of a front panel, for example, means a whole major section must be replaced. Cast frames are safer, but much more expensive in case of damage to isolated areas.
  • Safety features: Tesla Model S vehicles come with a number of standard safety features that may offset the cost of coverage. Multiple cameras monitor surroundings to alert the driver of any hazards or vehicles in potential blind spots. There are airbags throughout the cabin including knee and overhead airbags. Traction control keeps the car safely on the road.

Car insurance for a Tesla Model S

Bankrate’s review of quoted annual premiums indicate minimum coverage for a Tesla Model S is not far from the national average for an economy sedan. However, most Tesla drivers will likely opt for full coverage due to the value of the vehicle, which provides comprehensive and collision coverage. Compared to the national average, full coverage for a Tesla Model S is quite a bit higher than the national average of $1,674 (average based on a 2019 Toyota Camry). Given the fact a Tesla Model S is considered a high-end, luxury vehicle, this difference in coverage cost is to be expected.

Model S car insurance Average annual premium
Minimum coverage $525
Full coverage $3,802

Cheapest car insurance companies for a Tesla Model S

Bankrate collected quotes from a few of the best insurance companies for a better idea of how Tesla Model S car insurance rates can vary from one carrier to another. While these averages may be useful for the sake of comparison, actual rates will be different for each Tesla Model S driver.

Average annual premium for full coverage by model

The five following insurance companies have different rates for the same level of coverage, based on the Tesla Model S. Keep in mind that personal factors could affect your premiums, such as your location and driving record.

Car insurance company Model S
Amica $2,646
Erie $1,901
Geico $3,378
State Farm $2,761
USAA $2,248

Tesla Model S features that impact insurance costs

Some of Tesla’s unique features may help reduce the cost of car insurance, while other aspects may cost more to insure. The features that may most significantly affect pricing are:

  • Tesla’s own insurance: Tesla sells its own insurance to keep rates competitive for drivers. Insurance costs may be lower due to the added competition in the field.
  • Higher repair costs: The Model S unibody aluminum frame is more expensive to repair. Instead of fixing a small panel or part, a repair shop may have to replace an entire section of the body. While this is great for safety reasons, it does likely result in more costly premiums.
  • Auto-pilot mode: You may qualify for a discount for auto-pilot mode, which is similar to driver assistance tech and designed to help you avoid an accident. This discount availability and savings may vary by provider.

Other car insurance coverage for a Tesla Model S

Few Tesla owners would opt for the minimum of vehicle insurance required by the state. The main reason is coverage; most states only mandate that drivers carry liability insurance. Liability insurance only pays for damages and injuries you cause to third parties. In case you are at fault in an accident, liability coverage does not reimburse you for damages and repairs to your car. Given the cost to repair or replace a Tesla Model S, full coverage is likely the preferred option for Tesla owners. Besides full coverage, other Tesla car insurance options worth considering include:

Gap coverage

If you are financing a new Tesla, gap insurance coverage may be useful; it will pay the difference between the amount outstanding on the loan and the actual cash value your insurance payout amounts to, if the car is declared a total loss. For brand new cars that depreciate significantly after driving off the lot, the amount owed can quickly exceed the actual cash value of the car.

Guaranteed replacement cost

Most carriers will pay you actual cash value for a vehicle. This means your insurance company will adjust the payout amount for the vehicle based on what other models similar in age and mileage are selling for. Actual cash value factors in depreciation for your car, deducting age, mileage and condition from the final payout amount. This might not be enough to replace your Tesla with a new similar model year, whereas guaranteed replacement cost would provide a payout that does not factor in depreciation, ensuring you can afford to replace with a new vehicle of the same model year as your original Tesla.

Rental reimbursement

A standard policy may already provide some funds for a rental car in case your vehicle is in the shop, following a covered loss. Due to the complexity of repairing and rebuilding a Tesla, you may need to upgrade rental reimbursement. Otherwise, you could potentially exceed the days included in the coverage while you are without your vehicle.

Full glass coverage

The Tesla Model S has quite a few surface areas featuring glass. The glass sunroof is one of several spots, in addition to the large windows. Full glass coverage pays for the cost of repairing or replacing glass zones on the vehicle, deductible-free. In many cases, repair or replacement is covered under this add-on, and the repair company typically sends a mobile technician to do the work at your location.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Tesla Model S, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually:

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.
Edited by
Insurance Editor