The $41,000 Dent Repair

  • October 13, 2023

If you’re wondering, as many American drivers are wondering, why your insurance premium recently got “adjusted” – even though you’ve not been in an accident or even gotten a ticket – you might want to watch the video below.

The owner of a Rivian electric truck took it to an “authorized” repair shop to get a fist-sized dent in the driver’s side rear quarter panel fixed. Guess how much the estimate to fix the dent was?

How about almost as much as a band-new EV costs?

Not quite the $50k the typical EV sells for. But just shy of it. $41,000 – to repair a dent. You can ponder what it would cost to repair worse than that. But why does it cost that much to repair a dent?

It doesn’t.

What costs is replacing most of the truck’s body to repair the dent. According to the man who performed unauthorized – but much cheaper – dent repair (the owner trucked the electric truck to another state to avoid having to spend $41,000 for the “authorized” repair) the Rivian EV is designed as a one-piece (or mostly one-piece) shell that is repaired by being replaced.

And replacing means removing, essentially, everything.

The carapace must come off, which includes the glass and weatherstripping. Then a new carapace must be installed, along with the glass and weatherstripping, everything refinished to match. As you can imagine, this gets into money.

$41,000 to be precise.

Lucky for the Rivian’s owner, he was able to find a shop that pulled the dent for a lot less than that. Unluckily – for all of us – the authorized cost of repairing EVs is going to cost us, even if we do not own an EV.

It is already costing us.

All over the country, people are getting “adjusted” by their insurance company; on average, premiums are up 15-20 percent and that’s for “customers” (in air fingers quotes to mock the absurdity of using that word to describe people who are forced by law to buy the “services” of the insurance mafia, italicized to emphasize that’s exactly what it is) who’ve not filed a claim nor had one filed against them. They have incurred no costs, in other words. They haven’t even given the mafia the usual excuse produced to justify such “adjustments” – i.e., that they got a “ticket” (in italics to mock the oiliness of styling legalized extortion so benignly) on account of having transgressed some arbitrary traffic regulation, such as driving faster than the white-and-black totem pole by the side of the road says is allowable.

Never mind that those who hand out the “tickets” for such transgressions routinely transgress the regulations they enforce. (A recent column gets into this matter; you can find that here).

The point is that “adjustments” are being made absent the heretofore usual reasons. Because there is a new reason – and you just watched a video detailing it.

EVs are not just much more expensive to buy. They are much more expensive to fix. Repair costs are often 50-plus percent higher than they would otherwise be, for a vehicle that’s not an EV. The reason why has to do with the way battery-powered devices are assembled relative to the way vehicles are put together. Different materials and processes are used that entail more specialized work – and expense.

Not to mention the EV itself is expensive.

It is the main reason why the average price paid for a new vehicle – generally – approaches $50k.

Put another way, more people are driving $50k (and costlier) vehicles now and that means replacement costs (as in the case of a total loss) have gone up. It does not matter, in other words, that you haven’t had an accident – or even a ticket that could be used to frame you as being more likely to have one in the future. What matters – from the point-of-view of the insurance mafia – is that someone they have issued a policy to could have one and then the mafia will be on the hook for the cost of the repairs.

Or the replacement.

If it costs almost $50k to replace a totaled vehicle – battery powered device or not – and $41k to repair a dent in a battery-powered device – someone’s going to have to pay for that.

There is also the increased risk of a spontaneous fire that attends owning a battery powered device, as well as the cost of of replacing the device’s battery, which isn’t generally repairable. The battery powered device is also very heavy – and so imparts more force (and damage) to vehicles it hits.

It all costs extra.

You might think the person who bought the $50k vehicle – or the battery powered device – ought to be the one who pays commensurately to “cover” the potential costs of repairing (or replacing) what he bought. As well as the costs imposed on others.

The problem is such costs are unaffordable. They would render the device unaffordable. So the costs must be spread out, to cover them.

And now you know why your premium just got “adjusted.”

. . .

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