Tesla Model S vs. Model 3: There Is a Hidden Factor To Consider Before You Buy

Andrew Koole
· 4 min read
If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you might be thinking about
buying a Tesla
. The Model S and Model 3 are two of Tesla’s most beloved offerings. While almost every major player in the automotive industry has rolled out a fully electric product in the last few years, Tesla is still leading in EV sales.
Before you run out and get your hands on one of these cars, you should remember to factor in the
cost of car insurance
before committing to anything.

Why should you buy a Tesla?

Tesla has made going electric easy. Their online shop, unparalleled safety scores, self-driving technology, and an ever-growing network of Supercharger Stations continue to make the trailblazing company an EV industry leader.
Tesla has also evolved by diversifying the price range of its vehicles. While the company’s first release, 2008’s Roadster, went for a whopping $190,000, the price tags on today’s models are a lot easier to swallow. The Model S, Tesla’s current luxury sedan, starts at around $79,000 and the most affordable member of the family, the Model 3, can be purchased for under $40,000.
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The cost of going electric

There are many incentives to switching from gas to electricity, from the decreased environmental footprint to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of charging your vehicle at home. But there’s one factor you might not have thought about that will impact the cost of your new Tesla more than you expected–your
car insurance
Of course, not all Teslas are equal. The price range mentioned earlier exists for a reason. The extra $41,000 you spend on a Model S compared to a Model 3, for example, gives you a battery with more range, more cargo space, and higher performance overall.
Here’s a basic spec comparison from
Tesla’s website
, to give you a clearer picture:
Model 3 (Standard Range Plus)
Model S (Long Range)
263 miles (est.)
412 miles (est.)
Acceleration (0-60 mph)
5.3 sec.
3.1 sec.
Top Speed
140 mph
155 mph
Seating Capacity
As with all vehicles, choosing a more luxurious option will mean an increase in your insurance costs. In this case, data from
says the average policy for a Model S is $1,000 more per year than for the Model 3. But that’s not the only way you’ll see an increase.

Tesla vs. big Insurance: the cost conflict

The problem starts with the fact that most insurance companies classify all Teslas as luxury cars–even the Model 3. They also increase their prices because of the high cost of replacement parts and service at Tesla-specific body shops.
Tesla has spoken out against what it sees as "severely flawed" analysis that "doesn’t reflect reality." Per
Automotive News
, the company claims that their vehicles are being compared to competing models that "are not remotely peers."
They also argue that their positive safety scores and self-driving technology make their cars some of the safest vehicles on the road, but that these facts are not reflected in the data insurance companies are using to determine their rates.

Tesla is creating its own solution to its car insurance problem

In response to this conflict, Tesla started rolling out
its own insurance policies
in 2019. They plan to "provide insurance at a lower cost" by "leveraging the advanced technology, safety, and serviceability" of their cars. Tesla Insurance is already available in California, and plans are already in motion to expand into Illinois, Texas, and Washington.
They’re not alone. Other insurance providers across the country also include features like semi-autonomous driving to help determine their rates. They hope to keep up with the ever-evolving auto industry.
Staying up to speed with all these changes can seem like a daunting task. Luckily,
is here to help. Jerry compares quotes and coverages from up to 45 companies so that you know you’re getting the best deal.

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