The Journey of My Totaled Tesla Model 3

This is going to be a bit of a long one, but please bear with me.

I had a 2019 Metallic Blue Long-Range AWD Tesla Model 3 with the upgraded 19″ Sports Wheels and FSD. I bought this car in June 2019, so FSD was only $6k back then and I paid $59,600 total for everything, including the destination fee (from a no sales tax state).

In December 2020, I was hit by an oncoming Jeep on a stretch where the speed limit was 40 MPH, barely into my trip on my way to work. I did not have Autopilot engaged, and I wonder every day if that would’ve saved me this whole ordeal.

At first, I didn’t know who was responsible since it happened so quickly and I was shaken up. Some kind person stopped shortly after the accident happened and called 911 while making sure everyone was okay. In the meantime, I stayed inside my Tesla the entire time since I was in shock and panicking; I didn’t end up speaking to the other drivers involved at all. Police showed up fairly quickly and checked in with all of us, they took my information and gave me the other drivers’. At the time, I declined going to the hospital since I was concerned about outrageous medical bills and still did not know who was at fault. Besides me, the girl who hit me also managed to hit the car behind me.

Pictures of totaled Tesla

I get home and review the Tesla Cam footage. Since the airbags when off, it trigged the recording thankfully. The Jeep was significantly over the yellow line and proceeds to hit me, and I was also able to see a little of the crash behind me despite the camera being dirty — let this serve as a reminder to always clean your rear camera.

Tesla Cam footage of accident (front and rear cameras)

When we got home, my boyfriend pointed out to me that the driver who hit me was 16 years old, and she had just barely gotten her license. My guess is she was distracted and it seems she had just left her house.

I decided to file a claim with my insurance, Liberty Mutual, rather than her insurance which is Geico. I had Better Car Replacement coverage, and basically this means they would pay the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of a car with the same specs as mine that is one year newer and 15,000 miles less — since I only had 10k miles on the car, this worked out for me. A catch that I later found out that caps at 20% more of what the ACV of your actual car is.

Liberty Mutual reached out to me the next business day and asked me to give a recorded statement. I did this and sent them the footage, they told me they would be pursuing subrogation against the at fault driver’s insurance. They said they would send out a third party appraiser to check out the damage.

Said appraiser made his way out there a few days later on the 18th, after a huge snow storm hit. He submitted his appraisal the following Monday on 21st. The pictures he uploaded to my claim were covered in snow and you could hardly see the damage at all. He quoted $10k in repairs and it led me to believe that no one so far in this process knew anything about Teslas.

Next, I was asked where I wanted to bring my car to be fixed. At this point, I believed that my car would be significantly more to fix and believed it to be totaled, and I initially made an appointment with a Tesla Service Center in MA since I’m in NH. They reached out to me and let me know that this would be beyond their scope, and recommended Today’s Collision in Malden.

I called Today’s on the 23rd and the guy who answered showed immediate sympathy for my car, and for the first time since the accident, I felt relieved that someone was being empathetic and concern for my car. They immediately said they would send out a tow truck to get my car (that’s two hours away!) and I was incredibly impressed with their customer service. I sent them the pictures and after consulting with his manager, he believed the car was indeed totaled but wanted to check out the damage in person.

Car is brought down during Christmas and I have to wait another nerve-wracking few days. I hear back on the 28th, and Liberty Mutual decides to send another third party appraiser to look at it. This also takes a while and after a lack of communication from the third party company, and Liberty Mutual finally decides to send a staff appraiser.

In the meantime, I get in contact with Geico to file a claim with them. I have since gone to my PCP to get a check up since my back and neck are sore, I have brain fog, and I get incredibly anxious being driven around and even don’t want to drive now. PCP gives me some painkillers and we decide physical therapy would be a good idea if I continue to have issues, and mental health therapy might be a good idea as well. Geico says they can get me into a rental car, they will cover the medical bills for physical therapy, but they seemed hesitant about the mental health therapy. Still in the process of going to physical therapy now.

It’s not until 1/4/21 that I hear my car is finally deemed a total loss, and I hear it from Today’s Collision first. I thought this was pretty crazy that my insurance didn’t tell me immediately, but I was incredibly grateful to Today’s and their dedication to the customer. I was asked some questions by the staff appraiser about the extra options I had on my car to determine the ACV.

Since I was not at fault for this accident, Liberty Mutual reimbursed my $500 deductible and the initial ACV determined was $43,237.50. I did not believe this included all of the options, so I advocated for myself of the options I thought it was missing and they came back with $49,312 after a week or two. Overall, this was pretty good except for the lack of FSD with is now valued at $10k. Ultimately, it turns out Liberty Mutual values FSD at $5,600 due to “state regulations and industry standards.” Not too bad since I did originally pay $6k for it.

With the Better Car Replacement, the added cost was $3,300. This made my final settlement for just the car come out to be $52,642.50. I also asked if she could reimburse the winter tires that were on the car which added $811.75 and some accessories I had on the car such as the console and handle wraps, as well as the screen protector that came out to be an additional $100 or so. This was all discussed on January 20th, over a month after the accident.

I owed $37,654.03 left on my loan, so this was paid to my lien holder first. I was paid the remaining $15,478.50 plus the $500 deductible on the 25th. All in all, I made out positively with almost $16k throughout this whole ordeal. I also just canceled my auto insurance policy and got a $1200 refund back, as my policy was $1800 or so for the whole year and I had paid lump sum. I was told the lapse in auto insurance should be fine if I explain to Liberty Mutual that I canceled due to the car being a total loss and not replacing it immediately and should not hike my rates up, but we’ll see.

I thought it would be worth sharing some of these numbers and my experience with my Tesla being totaled, as I wasn’t able to find a lot of stories in detail while researching on this sub and others. It’s made me paranoid that someone is just going to hit me out of the blue again and I have a fair amount of back pain, but it’s really fueled my desire to get another Tesla thanks to how safe I felt and was following the accident. My girl did a wonderful job of protecting me — RIP Sapphire. For now, I’m actually considering buying a house and using the money towards a downpayment first before getting into another Tesla (which might be a Model Y)! It’s just a shame that FSD now costs $10k and can’t be transferred. I miss my Tesla very much, please give yours love from me.

TL;DR: My Tesla Model 3 was totaled in an accident that I was deemed not at fault. The ACV of my 2019 Blue Model 3 LR AWD with 19″ Sport Wheels and FSD with 10k miles was $49,312. With Liberty Mutual’s Better Car Replacement coverage, I was paid $53,632.53 (not including the amount I owed to my lien holder) after over a month of back and forth. Today’s Collision in Malden, MA is AMAZING and don’t forget to clean your Tesla cameras! Also, take care of yourselves if you get into an accident and get the proper physical and mental care. Drive safe and put all distractions away, two seconds could mean someone’s life.

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