Tesla Telematics Review & Complaints

Elon Musk announced plans for a Tesla telematics program through Tesla Insurance during the second-quarter earnings call in 2020 to address complaints about high Tesla insurance costs. Tesla drivers pay 30 percent more on average for car insurance than owners of other vehicles. Currently, Tesla Insurance is only available in California, and the telematics program has not officially rolled out. However, Tesla hopes to sell insurance nationwide by the end of 2021.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2021

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The Highlights

  • During the second-quarter earnings call of 2020, Elon Musk announced plans for a Tesla telematics or UBI program
  • Tesla aims to sell car insurance and offer the telematics program nationwide by the end of 2021
  • On average, Tesla drivers who use Tesla Insurance save 20 to 30 percent on their car insurance rates
  • Currently, Tesla Insurance is only available in the state of California

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla, announced plans to unroll a Tesla telematics program during the 2020 second-quarter earnings call.

If you compare car insurance costs for Tesla drivers to other vehicle brands, premiums are 20 to 30 percent higher than average.

To address these concerns, Tesla Insurance hopes to revolutionize the car insurance underwriting process with telematics technology.

Telematics programs, or usage-based insurance (UBI) programs, collect and analyze real-time driving data. The currently unnamed Tesla UBI program may allow Tesla Insurance to calculate rates month to month solely on driver performance.

Find out what data the company might collect, and determine if Tesla telematics car insurance is right for you.

You can’t buy Tesla telematics car insurance yet, but you can enter your ZIP code into our free tool above to compare actual rates from active and available providers near you.

What is Tesla telematics?

During a second-quarter earnings phone call in 2020, Elon Musk announced plans to sell Tesla Insurance nationally.

He also introduced ideas for a telematics program to revolutionize the underwriting process for month-to-month car insurance.

If you compare Tesla Model 3 insurance quotes across the country to other vehicle brands, one thing becomes clear. Tesla car insurance rates are higher on average despite being safe and reliable cars.

Currently, car insurance quotes depend on many different non-driving factors.

Depending on the state laws where you live, this can include your gender, age, and even your credit history.

To address customer concerns about these increasing insurance rates, Tesla created Tesla Insurance in California in 2019.

The new insurance provider helped Tesla drivers in California save an average of 20 to 30 percent on their premiums.

Telematics is a type of technology dealing with long-distance transmissions of computerized information, also known as usage-based car insurance.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Progressive was the first to introduce UBI programs and telematics to the car insurance market.

Usually, you install a tracking device in your car or download a mobile application.

The devices receive, store, and send information about your driving habits to your insurance provider.

Those habits often include:

  • Speed
  • Location
  • Idle time
  • Harsh acceleration
  • Braking events

Your insurance provider then analyzes the driving data collected and calculates a savings or discount amount to be applied to your policy.

Tesla vehicles, however, already come equipped with telematics technology, primarily through the Tesla autopilot.

By analyzing the Tesla autopilot data collection, Tesla Insurance rates can eventually be based entirely on your driving habits only.

The company hopes to expand Tesla Insurance across the country by the end of the year, along with the revolutionary UBI program.

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How will Tesla telematics work?

Technically, until the company officially unveils the program, we won’t know how Tesla Insurance plans to use telematics technology.

However, we know the company is seeking creative and revolutionary Tesla actuaries interested in shaking up the car insurance industry.

Tesla chief financial officer, Zachary Kirkhorn, says the company will use data already collected by the autopilot and full self-driving features to create insurance products for Tesla drivers nationwide.

Potentially, crash correlations and probabilities will be assessed monthly instead of every six or 12-months.

If so, Tesla Insurance costs might fluctuate month to month instead of following the traditional six-month policy term.

Most other UBI programs on the market today work more like discount opportunities, including the DriveEasy program from GEICO insurance or Drive Safe & Save from State Farm insurance.

Tesla’s telematics will be the basis for underwriting and updating actual insurance premiums, not simply a one-time discount.

Drivers will therefore be able to receive accurate Tesla telematics car insurance quotes.

What driving habits will Tesla telematics track?

Unfortunately, Tesla has not yet announced what driving habits will be monitored and tracked as part of its UBI program.

However, we can make a few educated guesses based on pre-existing UBI programs and the data already being gathered by Tesla’s autopilot and self-driving technology.

The most common driving information used in UBI programs includes your vehicle location, the time of day, your mileage, hard-braking events, acceleration, and idle time.

Many programs also monitor your phone usage or other distracted driving habits.

But what about the autopilot and full-self driving technology? What data does Tesla collect from its vehicles currently being driven?

The autopilot feature monitors three significant types of driving information:

  • Mobile or other devices used in your Tesla
  • Information about the vehicle itself
  • Updates and information about Tesla energy products

Tesla’s autopilot system uses eight surround cameras providing a 360-degree view around the entire car, with up to 250 meters of range.

A forward-facing radar also collects data about what surrounds the vehicle itself.

Tesla cars can steer, accelerate, and brake automatically within a single lane.

The technology performing these tasks can also monitor and evaluate your real-time driving habits.

According to multiple interviews, the plan is to reward safe Tesla drivers with lower insurance rates. However, risky drivers can expect higher rates.

Is a Tesla telematics program worth it?

It makes sense for Tesla drivers to also rely on the brand for insurance purposes. Who knows Tesla cars and drivers better than Tesla itself?

Besides, if you currently drive a Tesla, the company is already using your data to help develop the future telematics program to be released later this year.

However, Tesla’s telematics program has not officially rolled out, and Tesla Insurance is still only operational in California.

Fortunately, according to Tesla representatives, soon enough, you’ll be able to seek out affordable Tesla Telematics car insurance rates anywhere in the country.

While waiting for the Tesla telematics car insurance program to finally be released, you still need proper insurance coverage; enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below to receive reputable rates for the top providers near you.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

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