There are multiple unknowns that insurance companies are trying to manage with Tesla coverage so until these things are resolved, premiums will be higher to protect the companies from loss.
TLDR: It’s expensive now but will get much cheaper very quickly for the Model 3.
#1 Bad - Aluminum body - The S/X and For F150 were the first cars to have all aluminum bodies. Most car repair shops don’t know how to fix aluminum. It requires different skills and different decision making by body shops to decide what is repairable and what needs to be replaced. The Model 3 is a hybrid steel and aluminum body but most of the surface panels are aluminum. The above article from Torque news is somewhat misleading. Tesla has a list of certified body shops that have been trained to repair the aluminum on Teslas (and not kill themselves or you by knowing how to repair the electrical properly). Most states have laws in place requiring the car manufacturer and insurance companies to allow 3rd party repairs and also OEM parts without voiding warranty. This will improve as more body shops learn to deal with aluminum.
#2 Bad - Autopilot and driving characteristics - I am lumping these together because these are things the driver needs to be responsible for. If you have a $150k car that can accelerate 0-60 in under 3 seconds and give it to an immature teenage driver and load the car with their friends, bad things will happen. If you drive a Level 2 autonomous car without being fully aware and ready to take control in an instant, more bad things will happen. As these issues have been discussed ad nauseum on other threads, I won’t say any more here.
#3 Bad - There is ALOT of glass on the Model 3. If you get a chip or the glass needs to be replaced, expect it to cost a small fortune until the aftermarket glass companies get on board. IIRC, there were reports of the Model X windshield costing almost $3k to replace when it first came out. Thankfully, the large glass on the 3 is the rear which shouldn’t be so subject to damage. PLUS, the rear windshield appeared to remain intact after the high speed rear ending recently in Seattle that was widely posted. WOW!
#4 Good - Tesla has such a huge demand for batteries, motor, and electronics that the salvage market is VERY hot for even a completely demolished or heavily flooded Tesla as long as it hasn’t had a fire. This puts a floor on the value of a used Tesla but also dramatically lowers the bar for what an insurance company will declare “totaled”. If an insurance company needs to pay more to repair a Tesla plus pay for your rental while it’s being fixed and warranty the repairs, they will be more likely to “total” the car and just sell it in the hot salvage market. Between people piecing out the batteries and motors for solar power and kit projects, apparently the other car manufacturers are still dissecting Tesla’s to figure out the secret sauce. The result is that a demolished Tesla with intact battery can easily sell for more than $25k (try saying that about any other demolished car)
#5 Good - Tesla S/X has always been a very pricey, low volume car. Cars like that will always be expensive to repair and hard to get aftermarket parts. As the Model 3 ramps, with annual production estimated to eventually be at 500k, the Model 3 will be more ubiquitous than a Honda Civic or Toyota Camry. The aftermarket parts market will explode and every body shop will NEED to know how to fix it. Repair costs will drop dramatically.
#6 Good - Tesla’s are some of the safest cars ever built. Driver/passenger fatalities in Tesla’s are the lowest among all car manufacturers. This reduces some of the bodily injury/death payouts which is a small portion of the insurance premium.
#7 Good - as Autopilot develops and becomes level 3 and 4, accident rates should drop. As more cars develop high level autonomous tech, all accident rates should drop. At a future point, it will be MORE EXPENSIVE to insure a car that doesn’t have high level autonomy. This will force many drivers to give up their older cars for new autonomous cars or perhaps forgo car ownership and use TESLA RIDESHARE instead.
This is probably the biggest factor giving me reservations. Still holding my spot in line since March of this year. Will see how things play out over time. I guess I have 6-9 months since I am waiting for the P3D.
I am pretty darn unlucky with new cars. Always end up getting a few dings within the first few months.
A data point: Full coverage 6-month premium for my Quicksilver is $399 with eSurance. I was with Geico for over 10 years and for same coverage, they wanted $494. No accidents the last 10 years on my records.