Thursday, June 08, 2017 by Tim Wesley
AAA – The Auto Club Group is increasing premium rates on Tesla vehicles by as much as 30 percent based on data that show Model S and Model X have unusually high claim frequencies and insurance claim costs when compared with other vehicles in the same classes. The electric-car maker, however, is contesting the analysis because of inaccuracies.
The Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry research arm, deduced that Tesla cars get into more accidents and that they have more expensive repair costs. The report covered vehicle models from 2014 to 2016 and divided the classes based on size, weight, and competing models. They then compared the frequency and severity of claims with the total average claims of passenger vehicles and the average claims of the vehicle’s class.
“Teslas get into a lot of crashes and are costly to repair afterward,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the parent organization of the Highway Loss Data Institute. “Consumers will pay for that when they go to insure one,” he added.
The major insurer relied on this data and looked at other data sources. Anthony Ptasznik, chief actuary of AAA – The Auto Club Group said: “Looking at a much broader set of countrywide data, we saw the same patterns observed in our data, and that gave us the confidence to change rates.”
The institute’s findings show that collision damage claims for large luxury vehicles, like the Model S, were reported 13 percent more frequently than average and that these claims cost approximately 50 percent higher than usual. The Model S is involved in 46 percent more claims than the average. These were also reported to cost more than twice than the average.
For large luxury SUV class, collision coverage claim frequency is the same with the average for all vehicles; its cost is 43 percent above average. Owners of the Model X file for claims 41 percent more than the average and the costs are a whopping 89 percent more than the usual.
Tesla responded to the report through a statement sent to Electrek.co. It said: “This analysis is severely flawed and is not reflective of reality. Among other things, it compares Model S and X to cars that are not remotely peers, including even a Volvo station wagon. Model S has the fastest 0 to 60 mph time of any production car ever tested by Motor Trend, and Model X has by far the best acceleration of any SUV. Obviously, it is false and misleading to compare them to a station wagon without explaining this discrepancy.”
Interestingly, Tesla vehicles that utilize the Autopilot system are 40 percent less likely to crash, according to a federal investigation by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Autopilot is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that basically allows your car to drive itself, change lanes, and adjust speed in response to traffic.
Tesla also claimed that its Model S has the least probability of injury. They also expect the Model X to get the best score for any SUV ever tested.
Tesla is working with insurance companies for more favorable insurance premiums for its customers. This should give them more control over the premiums and the impact of its technology to car owners. “As part of the Insure my Tesla program, Tesla is working with leading insurers resulting in lower prices for Tesla insurance, not higher. These leading insurers also appreciate the added safety benefit of Autopilot, which NHTSA, and we expect Model X to receive the best score for any SUV ever tested,” their spokesman said.
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