Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge
Just a few hours after Tesla launched its in-house car insurance product in California on August 28th, the company stopped offering rate quotes and suspended access to the insurance website. It now appears to be live again as of 8PM ET on August 29th. But even during the time Tesla’s insurance site was working and offering owners quotes, some people weren’t happy with the results.
The problem with starting up a whole new part of your business is… you have to start up a whole new part of your business
Tesla tells The Verge those two things are actually related; the company says it found “bugs” that were affecting some customers’ rate quotes, but it declined to offer any specifics beyond that. The company said it will get the website back up as soon as that’s resolved, without saying when that resolution might be. We found it had gone live again as of this evening.
Tesla’s insurance mini-site launched around 3PM ET on Wednesday, but users reported trouble accessing the site within just a few hours. At 6:49PM ET, the company tweeted it was “making some updates to Tesla Insurance” and that the service would “be back online shortly.” Seventeen minutes later, the company tweeted again that there was an “Algorithm update in progress.” That same language also shows up if you try to click on the link that originally took people to the Tesla Insurance mini-site.
Both the Tesla Motors subreddit and the company’s owner forums are littered with posts from people who claim they received quotes that were higher than expected. That appears to have disappointed some owners since the company promised rates that were up to 20 percent lower than the competition. (However, most of those irked owners didn’t provide evidence of the comparisons they were complaining about.)
The insurance offering may give Tesla a way to create bigger margins with a product that doesn’t require as much money to set up as the process of designing and manufacturing cars. But the problem with starting up a whole new part of your business is… you have to start up a whole new part of your business. And sometimes, new things break.
Update, 8:20PM ET: Added that Tesla Insurance’s site appears to be live again.