Breaking Down the Cost of Owning and Insuring a Tesla
With Tesla’s entry into the mass market with the Model 3, you may be considering buying one for yourself. You may also be wondering if you can afford one.
How Much Does a Tesla Cost?
The price tag on the 2019 Tesla Model 3 is about $36,600 with a standard range battery. Here’s a breakdown:
Standard Range Battery $36,600
Long Range Battery: $51,100
Sports Car Performance: $61,100
Differences in cost relate to things like how long a battery can go without being recharged, acceleration rate and maximum speed.
Costs go up from there depending on features, tech, trim, etc.
How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Tesla?
As with all vehicles, how much you pay for insurance coverage is dependent upon several factors.
- Model: Tesla Model 3 is considered an electric, mid-size luxury sedan.
- Fuel: It’s typically more expensive to insure a gas car. The most popular option is the long-range battery, which goes longer than a standard range battery, and also a little more expensive to insure.
- Cost of repairs: Teslas are generally more expensive to repair, but this could come down over time as repair methods and parts may become more common.
- Safety features: Tesla Model 3 cars have many safety features, which can bring down the cost of premiums.
The average monthly cost of insuring a Model 3 in 2019 is $363.
Car insurance rates for Tesla Model 3 by year
What is Tesla Insurance?
In August 2019, Tesla introduced its own insurance product, Tesla Insurance Services, in California only for now. It was launched with a goal to counter the higher costs Tesla owners often pay for car insurance. One review shows that Tesla Insurance premiums for Model 3s are below average by 22% compared to other policies in California. A Tesla Insurance policy for a 30-year old driving a 2019 Model 3 is on average $2,965 for a year.
But more competitive rates can be found:
Like other insurance providers, Tesla Insurance offers:
- Roadside assistance
- Loan and lease gap coverage
- Total loss deductible waiver
Premium Cost Influencers: Safety and Reliability
In tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Tesla Model 3 received a 5-star rating, the highest possible. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+, gave it a superior rating for its front end crash prevention and an A rating for its headlights.
Safety features include:
- Driver-assist program (automatic lane changes etc.)
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Standard adaptive cruise control
The 2018 Tesla Model 3 received a score of 9 out of 10 by the US News in the Luxury Small Cars category, based on reliability data and range of safety and style features.
Tesla recalls have been somewhat limited, including for defective Takata airbags in the 2012 and 2013 models of the Model S.
Other Factors that Affect Premium Costs
Beyond the Tesla-specific influences, a car’s premium is influenced by a variety of factors including:
- Your driving record and claims history (no car accidents, moving violations or claims for the past 3-5 years)
- Car make and model
- Where the car is usually parked
- Consistent insurance coverage without lapses
- Where you live
- Your age and gender
- Your credit score
- Car safety features
- Type and amount of coverage
For more details see our article titled How to Estimate Car Insurance Before Buying a Car.
Discounts That Can Lower Costs for a Tesla Model 3
As with any automobile, a new Tesla might qualify for discounts that lower the cost of insurance. Ask providers about discounts you might qualify for. Possibilities include:
- Anti-theft discount
- Anti-lock brake discount
- New car discount
- Low mileage discount
- Good vehicle safety rating
- Bundling insurance with other policies you own, such as home
- Defensive driving class discount
Special discounts for Tesla might include:
- Autonomous vehicle owner liability (only available through Tesla Insurance)
- Cyber identity fraud expense
- Electronic key replacement
- Wall charger coverage
You can also keep insurance costs down by raising your deductible, avoiding tickets and accidents, and being sure to compare insurance quotes before you buy.
How Much Does It Cost to Fuel a Model 3?
A car that has been driven roughly 15,000 miles a year on highways and in cities will cost about $500 a year the charge. Savings of up to $5,250 in fuel costs is expected over five years compared to the average new car, according to the US Department of Energy.
For a Model 3, the range for a fully charged standard range battery is about 220 miles. A long-range battery will take you about 310 miles.
Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Model 3
- You can only get your Tesla repaired at Tesla-approved repair shops, where certification is expensive, and repairs are therefore more expensive.
- Some insurance companies don’t yet cover Model 3, Tesla’s entry-level model.
- Tesla offers a loyalty discount for referrals
The Tesla Warranty
If you buy a new Model 3 you receive a new vehicle limited warranty covering:
- 4 years of 50,000 miles
- Standard battery for 8 years or 100,000 miles
- Long-range battery for 8 years or $120,000 miles
- Towing up to 500 miles for non-warranty issues and towing for flat tires, up to 50 miles to the nearest Tesla service center.
There are additional coverages beyond a basic policy you should consider, such as:
- Comprehensive Coverage
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Collision Coverage
- Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection
- Property Damage Liability
- Replacement Value Coverage
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- SR22/FR44 High Risk Coverage if your state requires it
Yes, the Tesla Model 3 is more expensive to buy due to their luxury status. That said, there are ways to bring insurance costs down. As with any vehicle, it’s important to shop around to find the best insurance coverage for you at the best price possible.