Tesla Model S. Before leaving the dealer, he bought insurance from Tesla itself, finding the initial $93 monthly premium “really reasonable.”
Sixteen days later, as he drove along the Capital Beltway to his Maryland home, he engaged Autopilot, Tesla’s automated driving system. The car started beeping and lurched left — striking a median and flipping.
He escaped through a window as the car filled with smoke. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital with back injuries that later required surgery.
“I’m a former Green Beret,” Bova said, referring to the U.S. Army Special Forces.
“That was probably the second-most traumatic thing I've gone through other than being in combat.”
His ordeal isn’t over. Tesla Insurance, launched in 2019 by the electric-car company, has promised policyholders “vastly better” service than rivals, as Tesla chief Elon Musk put it in April 2022. Musk also said he aimed to offer “same-day” collision repairs.
But Bova says he has been battling the insurer ever since the crash.
He said he waited seven months for payment on the totaled vehicle and still hasn’t been compensated for about $50,000 in medical expenses. That required a call to the automaker’s product liability department because the crash involved Autopilot, he was told. He waited on hold for hours and got hung up on four times, he said.