Tesla owner looks to sue insurance after Model X survives deliberate burning attack

(Credit: Den Dal/Twitter)

Last year, Elon Musk proved skeptics wrong once more by launching Tesla’s in-house insurance service despite serious doubts from giants such as Warren Buffett. The service was initially launched for owners in California, with an expansion set for other states across the US. A Model X owner’s recent experience suggests that Tesla may need to expedite its plans to roll out its in-house insurance, perhaps even to other territories abroad. 

Tesla Model X Long Range owner Den Dal ended up in an exhausting predicament after his all-electric SUV was deliberately set on fire by vandals late last year while it was charging at a public station in Düsseldorf, Germany. Amazingly, the Model X actually toughed out the flames from the vandals, remaining drivable despite being partially burned. This was incredibly impressive, but it also became a big point of conflict for the Model X owner, particularly when he was trying to reach a deal with his insurance provider. 

Tesla does not operate its in-house insurance service in the Netherlands. Thus, it only works with suggested providers in the area. Dal’s Model X was covered by Victor Insurance UK, one of Tesla’s recommended providers for the country. In a message to Teslarati, the Model X owner noted that the vehicle was not considered by Victor Insurance UK as a total loss. The company also maintained that it would only cover the exterior damages in the Model X resulting from the fire. 

The Model X owner strongly protested this, as the cabin already smells strongly of smoke. This is especially risky considering that Dal’s kids regularly ride in the Model X. Dal then opted to seek legal advice, and a lawyer noted that there may be a compelling case against the provider, considering the circumstances. 

One cannot help but ponder that if Tesla were operating its in-house insurance service in the Netherlands, it would be far easier for owners to file a claim when damages to their vehicles occur. Tesla has the data on each member of its fleet, and the company knows its EVs inside out. Thus, when unusual circumstances arise, such as those involving Dal’s Model X, Tesla will likely have a better way of addressing owners’ concerns, especially if safety is involved. Tesla, after all, is a company that values safety, as evidenced by its vehicles’ stellar crash safety ratings, and the fact that Dal’s Model X actually remained driveable despite being deliberately set on fire.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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