Last spring you — and roughly 373,000 of your closest friends — plunked down $1,000 to get on the waiting list for Tesla’s latest “affordable” electric vehicle, the Model 3. If you’re among the first lucky customers to get your vehicle as they roll off the production line in August and September, you’re going to need an insurance policy to cover your fancy, new $35,000 machine. (For more on the total cost of a Tesla, head here.) Here’s what you need to know as you begin your search for Tesla Model 3 insurance.
1. It’s not going to be cheap…
We looked at several insurance company websites to see what coverage costs looked like in different states and among different age groups to get a sense of how the Tesla Model 3 will compare to other vehicles. Keep in mind these are just examples. There are many factors that go into calculating insurance premiums besides type of vehicle. These include your age, driving record, state and even county of residence, how far you drive, and your credit history, to name just a few. Plus, every insurance company uses its own rating software. (You can compare car insurance quotes for your current ride and profile here.)
That said, here’s what we found regarding the Tesla Model 3.
For a 50-year-old, married woman with a clean driving record and good credit living in Texas, the cost for coverage would run approximately $1,835 per year. That coverage includes bodily injury liability of $100,000/$300,000; property damage liability of $50,000; personal injury protection of $2,500; and uninsured motorist coverage of $30,000/$60,000.
By comparison, all coverages being equal, a 2018 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid, with a starting MSRP of $27,800, would cost roughly $1,410 per year.
And, for some more context, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ most recent auto insurance database report put the average cost of car insurance in the U.S. at $866 a year. (The report’s based on 2014 data. That average includes premiums paid for liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.)
2. …so you’ll want to to comparison shop.
Even if you have a great driving record and a solid credit history, you’re going to want to compare coverages, and you’ll want to consider more than just cost. Are the coverages equal? By all means, get quotes online, but you may also want to talk directly to an independent insurance agent who has access to multiple carriers.
You may find some great quotes, but going with the cheapest company isn’t always your best bet. Researching whether customers are satisfied with an insurer’s responsiveness when they have an accident can be very telling. If you see a lot of negative feedback in this area, you may want to move on to another insurance carrier. We've got a deep dive on auto insurance cost comparisons that can aid your search.
3. Be certain you understand what you’re buying.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and certainly push for an explanation if something seems unusual. Don’t know what bodily injury liability covers? Ask. Make sure your agent or company explains every aspect of your policy. Here are some of the basics:
Liability. This part of your insurance covers any damage you may cause to others in an accident. There’s both bodily injury and property damage liability, and the more assets you have, the higher you may want these limits to be.
Collision and comprehensive. This is your vehicle coverage. Collision covers your vehicle in the event of an accident, and comprehensive covers things like theft and vandalism.
Personal injury protection (PIP). This is the portion of your policy that covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. PIP is required in “no-fault” states because it pays regardless of legal liability (if you live in a no-fault state, you and your auto insurance company pay for your damages regardless of who was at fault).
Uninsured/underinsured motorist. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver and they’re at fault, this portion of your policy means you’ll still be covered without having to pay your deductible. It covers both bodily injury and property damage.
Knowing these things can help you fully understand what your financial responsibility will be in any particular claim scenario. The last thing you want to have happen is to find out you aren’t fully covered after you’ve had an accident. (Still confused about all this coverage? We’ve got a primer on how car insurance works here.)
Keeping these things in mind as you look for auto coverage for your new Tesla Model 3 will ensure you get the most enjoyment possible out of your shiny, new baby. Whenever your new baby may arrive, that is.
Image: Alexis Georgeson, Tesla Motors