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Man's Model S Was Hit By A Drunk Driver, What To Do Not To Be Ripped Off By Insurers

Today on Reddit I read a story of a Tesla Model S owner, who bought his Model S less than a month ago and was hit by a drunk driver. He was asking an advice for getting it repaired and not getting ripped off by the car insurance company.

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What would you recommend a Tesla Model S owner whose car was hit by a drunk driver and he doesn't want to be ripped of by his auto insurance company.

Here are few pieces of advice that fellow forum members gave him on Reddit.

One option is to ask your insurance company to talk to the drunk driver's insurance company and have some type of a settlement. This can help to find a middle ground. Police report is also a major factor to which both car insurance companies will look.

"Make sure you file for Diminished Value against the drunk driver. You are probably looking at least a $15K claim for diminished value on that car as a bunch of used car buyers may not want to buy a car with accident damage. I would actually get an attorney and a diminished value expert to handle all this for you and add attorney fees to what you get from the insurance company," suggest a user named ThermoElectrickMan

Another member, named Lyounis says that he was in a similar situation and his Tesla Model S had 11,000 dollars of damage on the outside and 40,000 damage on the inside. If yours is totaled, make sure to talk to both auto insurance companies. Make sure you get the best price.

My personal experience with the auto insurance companies is that you have to fight for your write. They will naturally want to offer your their best, which is not always your best. Repeated call, going to upper management over the phone helps.

If it's not your fault, I seems to me that the drunk driver's insurance must pay to repair your Model S.

Here is an interesting insight from another forum member, who writes this.

Are you filing a claim against their insurance? If so, you are entitled to pick the repair company! If you are filing on your policy, check the terms, but chanced are you are still entitled to pick a repair company. They may try to swindle you into letting them 'take care of the difficult part of picking a place to fix the car,' but that is their way of saving money. Decline and be sure to pick a place that is Tesla approved.

Be prepared to wait, though. You are entitled to get a rental car as long as the repair is happening (if filing under their insurance). If you don't have rental car coverage on your policy and filing under your insurance, you don't get a paid rental car unfortunately.

Also, mention demenished value claims. Used car buyers will not like to pay full market value for a car with an accident. You can request compensation on the difference the car will now be worth and the market value of an non-wrecked car.

Welcome to insurance. You WILL get push back, but don't cave in! If you are struggling with them, contact a lawyer who specializing in insurance claims and they can get things sorted VERY quickly. Insurance companies HATE victims with lawyers.

Advice From a Licensed Insurance Agent

Another member in the group, who claims to be a licensed insurance agent, suggests the following.

  1. First, turn in the claim to your insurance company. Provide details on the accident and the at-fault party, police report, etc.
  2. Second, contact Tesla to find a certified body shop. That's where it's getting fixed.
  3. Third, let your insurance company recover from the at-fault driver. They'll refund your deductible.
  4. Fourth, if you want to pursue diminution of value, loss of use, etc. you'll need an attorney to at least write a letter, if not file suit against the at-fault party to trigger defense and indemnification by their policy. Calling their insurance company directly is a fool's errand because you are not their customer and they do not have a contract with you. By starting the legal process, it triggers the contract the insurance company has with their insured, forcing them to respond. Note that any money you get via this method first has to reimburse your insurance company, but you get to keep the rest.

"This is the fastest and most reliable way to your car back on the road," he writes.

Also See: How the Tesla Model S Narrowly Missed A Poor Crash Test Rating. And don't miss this story about how deaths in Tesla Model S crash might have been prevented by common safety system.

Have you recently repaired a crashed Tesla Model S? If yes, how bad was the damage and how much did it cost you? Please share your experience and opinion in comments section below for discussion.

Image Source: Reddit.

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