Tesla test-drive collision nearly resulted in $6,000 fine for Ontario driver

Tesla ultimately dropped the charges, despite the company’s policies regarding damages incurred during test-driving

An Ontario driver was nearly responsible for paying Tesla over $6,000 in damages following an accidental collision while test-driving their vehicle.

In 2022, Ontario resident Rock Garel and his wife decided to test-drive a Model 3 before purchasing the electric vehicle (EV). During the test drive, Garel was involved in a hit-and-run accident, resulting in damages to the rear passenger side door. Thankfully, no one was injured. However, the Model 3 did succumb to small dents and scratches.

Garel then contacted the police and Tesla, reporting the incident. His impression was that upon returning the vehicle, his insurance or Tesla would cover the $6,845 repair costs. However, to his surprise, Tesla has a policy protecting it from covering the aforementioned total for repairs.

Tesla’s test drive agreement paperwork states, “You will be responsible for any losses that result from a breach of the terms of this agreement.” To make matters worse, Garel’s insurance wouldn’t cover the repair costs either. The claim was ultimately denied because test-driven vehicles don’t fall under rental cars. It was beginning to look like Garel would have to cover the bill.

Speaking to CTV, lawyer David Levy spoke about how the dealership should have insured vehicles for test drives. “As the adage goes — when you lend someone your car you lend them your insurance too.” However, in the fine print, some dealerships place the responsibility on the driver as a way of reducing insurance costs. This then holds drivers liable for any incurred damages.

Following CTV’s coverage, Tesla decided to drop the charges against Garel. While it’s unlikely Tesla will refine its policies on test-driven vehicles in Canada, Garel is off the hook now.

This story serves as a reminder that if you do plan on test-driving a vehicle, be sure to ask whether the dealership’s insurance will cover any damages ahead of time. If not, make sure your own insurance will cover you.

Source: CTV Via: Driving