The Tesla Model X and its Hong Kong insurance implications


Electric car with plug

The Tesla Model X is out and the company's first crossover SUV is in demand. The new vehicle has come with its share of problems, though. Find out more about them and how this could effect your motor insurance in Hong Kong.

Electric car enthusiasts of Hong Kong rejoice! The newest Tesla model is here, and now SUV lovers have something to crow about. The new model promises all the space of a crossover SUV with a fancy dash console and super cool looking falcon doors. However, it hasn’t all been peaches and cream when it comes to the launch of Tesla’s latest offering. The Model X has seen some problems that have been receiving public criticism. Here, Kwiksure discusses these issues and how they may relate to motor insurance for Tesla drivers in Hong Kong.

Model X problems

Besides the fact that the Model X was finally released over a year and a half later than it was originally announced to be, there have been a host of more tangible issues that could become a headache, or even a real danger, for Model X owners.

One such disturbing early issue was with the windshield, which was angled in just such a way that motorists would see double vision when looking through it after dark. This effect was not so pronounced that the driver would wonder which vehicle in front of them was the real one, but it was nonetheless quite distracting to some drivers.

Another annoyance that could lead to distraction while driving is that the onboard computer, complete with its 17 –inch display, was freezing for some Model X owners. The trickiest part of this bug is that Tesla has removed most of the knobs and buttons normally found on a car’s dashboard in favor of this touch screen console, and if it is frozen, there are many controls that are not accessible. Seemingly, merely turning the vehicle off and on wouldn’t solve the problem in all cases either. Some affected owners were required to travel to a service center in order for the software to be properly rebooted.

Owners also reported a Model X flaw where their vehicle’s windows wouldn’t open, or close in some cases. This has been blamed on both the car’s software, and the way the vehicle has been assembled.

Perhaps the most dangerous problem stemmed from a back seat that tended to fold when a Model X is in a collision. This issue even resulted in a recall of all of the Model Xs that had been delivered at one point (the number of the crossover SUV in the wild was 2,666 at the time.)

Clearly there have been a number of issues with the Model X that early adopters have had to put up with, but many of them have been, for the most part, corrected. The one area where problems continue to pop up is with the Model X’s signature ‘falcon doors’, which rise up vertically for backseat passengers rather than opening out horizontally (think the DeLorean from Back to the Future.) The sophisticated design of the doors uses an array of sensors to avoid obstacles when opening and closing, but the system has proved to be far from foolproof. Model X owners have complained about doors smashing into walls, low hanging obstacles,  and even the frame of the car itself. The doors are also programmed not to open when there is an obstacle immediately outside the vehicle, but glitches in the sensors are causing the doors to not open even when nothing is in the car’s vicinity or even to open and close on their own.

Attempts to solve the doors’ problems have been made via software updates, but it has been reported that updates may be creating situations where doors have become even more hazardous than before. Some owners now fear for the personal safety of those entering, exiting, or just standing near their Model X. YouTube videos have even appeared showing the doors shearing vegetables in two without reacting to the resistance at all.

Potential risks

Tesla always reiterates that improvements are on the way, and future successors of the Model X will likely iron out many of the kinks in the current design. However, for those bold enough to purchase a Model X in Hong Kong today, you should know how some of the issues facing the vehicle could affect your insurance.

First and foremost, damages to others and their property are of the utmost concern. If your car is parked and, without warning, the falcon doors of the Model X begin to open, they could strike a passing person, or even potentially scrape an adjacent vehicle, or some other nearby structure. In this case, as it was your vehicle that did the damage, you would almost assuredly be held responsible for reimbursement related to damages. 3rd party liability insurance will likely cover this, but this could potentially lead to your insurance premiums increasing.

On a personal level, what if your car is parked, but the doors open up spontaneously when you are not around? This could lead to the contents of your Model X being stolen, and potentially even the vehicle itself. Here, 3rd party liability insurance would not be enough to guarantee reimbursement of any kind from your insurer, but a comprehensive plan likely would. Outside of this, it would be up to the police to apprehend those responsible.

It has also be highlighted that falcon door misalignment could lead to damage to your vehicle. Misalignment can be especially pronounced when the vehicle is on a slope. If it is dramatic enough, merely slamming one of the front doors could do cosmetic damage to the vehicle. This is another accident that could only be addressed by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but depending on the circumstances may not be covered.

How Hong Kong insurers might approach Tesla

So if these types of malfunctions begin to add up to significant payouts for insurance companies, is Tesla exposed? Hong Kong drivers and insurers alike could go after the company as the Model X is a faulty product that has led to monetary costs, time loss and undue stress through no fault of the owner. Owners elsewhere have already had some success with this kind action. Tesla has performed numerous repairs on vehicles at no charge, but one owner in California invoked that state’s ‘lemon law’ in order to try to get a full refund for his consistently faulty Model X.

Whether you’re a Tesla aficionado, or you like to keep it old school with a car that runs on gasoline, you will need insurance to drive in Hong Kong. Third party liability is the required by law, but if you are a Model X driver, you will no doubt want to make sure you have comprehensive motor insurance coverage to cover not only damages to your car, but other problems that are not caused by general wear and tear.

If you have any questions about car insurance for a Tesla Model X or any other vehicle, talk to the knowledgeable experts at Kwiksure. Our agents are standing by to provide you with information, motor insurance plan comparisons, and a free price quote.

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