The Mafia Rides Shotgun

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What is the point of owning a vehicle capable of “ludicrous” speed if using it results in being dunned over it?

Tesla owners might want to ask themselves this question before they buy insurance – from Tesla – to go with the car. Part of the deal is automatic rate hikes based on the driver’s safety score. You probably do not need to guess how that is scored.

What you may not know is the way it is scored.

Think Flo – the Progressive termagant – along for every ride. But without the dongle – the wireless transmitter the owners of other-brands of cars choose to plug into the vehicle’s OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD) port under the dashboard. Via this device, Flo can monitor your driving, using every incidence of “speeding” or “abrupt” braking (and so on) to adjust what you are forced to pay Flo. It’s a neat deal – for Flo – because it is almost impossible to drive “safely” (that is, obediently) and the kicker is she convinced you that you’d save money by having her along for every ride.

But – with Tesla insurance – it’s the device (i.e., the car, itself) that is narcing you out. To Elon, this time. No need to plug anything in to the device.

It comes pre-wired.

Now, the thing to pick up on here is just that. People who buy Tesla devices do not have to buy Tesla insurance. But if the buy a Tesla, they have already bought the driver-monitoring technology embedded in their device. It is part of the package.

Think about what that means.

It means every Tesla is set up to be monitored by Tesla – which means they are ready to be monitored by Tesla whenever the government gets around to saying the insurance mafia now has the power to do so. Just the same as the mafia already has the power to take as much of your money as it decides to – having established the fact of its power to take any of your money. The only restraint on it is its own effrontery – and (possibly) the willingness of the victim to do nothing to oppose it – beyond grumbling about it, in the manner of a slave cursing his master under his breath.

Already, the insurance mafia immediately alerts the government if a policyholder cancels or fails to renew his “coverage” – the anodyne euphemism for the unwanted services the mafia forces people to pay forby using the government as its very own Luca Brasi. It was once the case that the government had to check – and for that reason, often didn’t know – that you’d failed to hand over the money to the mafia the government requires you to hand over to the mafia. But the mafia missed the money they weren’t getting and so it now alerts the government immediately you don’t pay up. So as to induce the payer to never miss a payment.

The mafia will say, of course, that it is just looking out for (here it comes) safety – and some will bite down on that hook, line and sinker on that, too. As if were – somehow – “unsafe” to not hand over money to a money-grubbing (for-profit) cartel. As if that had anything to do with how you drive.

Well, if it is in the interests of safety to notify the government you’ve failed to pay the mafia, then it is also in the interests of the mafia to make you pay for every instance of unsafe driving.

As defined by the mafia.

We already know how the mafia defines it. A driver who has never filed a claim – nor had one filed against him – and who therefore has never cost the mafia any money can (and will be) made to pay more money, to the mafia, if the mafia becomes aware of that driver “speeding” or some other such thing that it can claim amounts to unsafe driving.

The mafia has every incentive to construe and characterize all kinds of reasonable driving as unsafe – in order to justify making the victim pay. The list includes driving any faster than whatever the arbitrary speed limit is, however absurd it is, making a safe (but illegal) right turn on red or U-turn, failing to “buckle up” and so on, even if the “unsafe” driver has a record of decades of accident-free driving to establish that his driving is in fact safe.

But it won’t end there. Even if a driver manages to obey every traffic law to the letter, if he accelerates too aggressively or brakes or steers too abruptly, he will be instantly adjusted.

Bear in mind that the victim hasn’t got recourse to refusal – just as a person confronted by a street thug can’t say no (and expect to “get away” with not being made to pay).

In both cases, you pay what they say.

So, how long will it be before the mafia – generally, not just Tesla – decides it’s safest of all to make sure everyone is driving safely, every time they drive?

One thing’s for sure: It will make driving a Tesla capable of even Prius-speed as pointless as a rock star’s spandex pants stuffed with a sock.

. . .

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  1. Thank you for this information. I did not know Tesla offers its own insurance. I’m going to have to think about that. It makes no sense to me on the face of it. There is a way in which it could be a good thing, but apparently this is just another insurance mafia scam. But imagine being able to negotiate rates with purchase price. Could be different anyway. The monitor box, of course, is a non starter. Speaking of which….

    • I was thinking of something similar, Re: negotiations.
      Except I would ‘negotiate’ by saying, “OK, but you will not monitor and/or apply ‘adjustments’ to my rate at all, in writing”.
      Hopefully people on tesla forums will band together and send a message. I fear that the typical Tesla owner will not, and their ownership experience will continue to worsen.

  2. The only good human is a dead human, according to the ideology of the human haters or whatever they are anymore.

    Killing humans is a sport over there in the Middle East.

    Have fun killing each other.

  3. Eric, you insult the real Mafia by comparing them to the insurance “industry”.

    I’d actually rather deal with the real Mafia. The insurance industry gives the Mafia a bad name. When you make a deal with the real Mafia they are generally known for sticking to the terms of that deal. The insurance asswipes don’t its like dealing with Darth Vader. “I have altered the terms. Pray I don’t alter it further.”

    Get a pre-purchase “quote” from the agent. Use that to drive a purchase decision. When you get the bill it is always higher than the “quote ”

    Complain about the rates increasing constantly, they will suggest lowering coverage to save. Do that and the price will go down for maybe 2 billing cycles then it’s tight back where you started.

    Give me the real Mafia any time.

  4. Fun fact– You will take an insurance hit from Tesla if you drive after 10pm. Statistically, the most serious accidents happen between 10pm and 5am. If you work overnights do NOT buy a Tesla or at least don’t buy their insurance. Your premium will be significantly higher because you are considered “high risk” through absolutely no fault of your own. You will find much complaining about this on Tesla forums.

    Mafia indeed…

  5. More importantly, the mafia inflates the cost of repairs, parts and the TCO of vehicles in general. We see this all the time in health care, where the doctors keep two rate cards. One for insured, one for cash.

  6. Cars made since around 2018 have just about every way to snoop on people and report driving. Since On-Star came around in 2001, the Kill switch was installed. If they can unlock your doors, they stop you from running. People are acclimated to this crap.

  7. Driving is a right. You Nobody has the right to snoop on you, require a seat belt or helmet or mask or injection, require you to take a sobriety test or submit to a search without a very specific and justified warrant.

    Our near ancestors did not require a license or insurance or a belt to walk, or ride a horse, or drive a carriage, or fly a plane. These are all inventions of the communist /democrat ruler state.

    Driving/travel are not specifically mentioned in the bill of rights, but neither is eating, breathing, or fucking. Though all militaries rely on logistics and transport so likely the second amendment protects your car usage as a necessary part of your militia equipment.

    How much do we have to endure before we assert our rights and refuse to comply with illegitimate authority? Because we’re dangerously close to extinction. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism ….

    They have evinced a design to reduce us to absolute despotism.

      • On Florida we have a financial responsibility law that makes it possible to opt out. The only problem here is there are large numbers of illegals here with license and no insurance they will hit you and haul ass away or back into you in a parking lot. Unless you have some manner of coverage you could be hit with a massive repair bill of even have your car totalled, actually totalled not “insurance totalled” and have no one to sue.
        I have no idea what a libertarian/free market solution to that would entail.
        Here all the yard maintenance, roofing contractors use the illegals with unmarked white vans. I suppose if you can find who hired them you could go after them, but it would be a major challenge and take possibly years.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving, yall.

    I’m thankful for Eric penning these articles and maintaining this website. I’m thankful for everyone in the EP community as well.

    Blessings this and every day.


  9. Our ‘friendly’ local sales person is on the bandwagon as well. My rates almost doubled this year. No reason given. Both of my cars are unconnected so there’s that. No accidents, tickets. Retired,,, only put about 1500 miles a year on both.
    Everything remotely called insurance is now scamming most,,, I believe it is due to those damn fire bombs now sold as good for the environment and even the new IC cars where prices have made a moon shot due to being forced to buy all those assist packages.
    My sons daughter got into a slight bangup. They totaled the car for half the total owed. She is now on foot and has to still make payments on the car. So the purpose of insurance is?

  10. @Eric – Didn’t Flo have to end the dongle tattletale program because of fires resulting from having a device drawing current sufficient to run a small computer (what the hardware actually is inside the case) plugged into the OBD-II port 24/7?

  11. Brilliant. Sell the car, extended warranty, now insurance.

    I expect other industries will find a way to employ this model on their product lines.
    Once it is figured out how to mandate insurance on other items, they will have you writing checks forever.

    This move toward subscriptions for software & use of options is a way to get paid for doing nothing.

    • Capo Gecko will soon sell you the insurance, run “fast” charging stations (Pilot/Flying-J), and, in Texas, even generate the electricity used to “fuel” your EV.

      A few weeks ago, among other proposals, voters in Texas approved the slush fund the Capo will use to finance construction of the generators using money from the state’s budget surplus.

  12. Don’t buy a connected car. If it isn’t already wired and programmed to tattle on you, I suspect it will only require an “update” to make it so. As with the “assisted” driving features, staying within the parameters of “safe” driving is often DANGEROUS. If someone pulls out in front of you, or makes a left turn in front of you, you better brake hard, or make a hard turn, or you may die, or kill others. Flo doesn’t care. Into the penalty box you go.

    • I can testify that is absolutely true. I let Flo have a look at my driving for 6 months.
      That’s in a rural area with at most weekly trips to the grocery, 15 miles away, with 11 miles on a 4-lane with speed limits of 55 to 65 mph and with 9 traffic lights. I don’t commute to work or drive in any metro area.
      In 6 months, the only things Flo’s device saw were about 20 ‘hard stops’ and every single one of them was when one of those traffic lights changed to red. I obeyed the law and slowed quickly from 55-65 mph to stop, so I wouldn’t run the light and risk being t-boned by another driver obeying the law.
      Flo’s device programming penalized me (with a higher insurance rate) for obeying the law and when I called to complain the reply was, ‘pay up.’
      Go straight to hell, Flo, and burn for all eternity. I only wish that I could make the truly guilty parties in D.C. suffer the fate they have earned.

      • ◦ Not only does “Flo’s” “vag” stink, the rest of the Progressive insurance fags have to go too.
        Progressive insurance commercials are repulsive.
        Since auto insurance companies have a “captive audience” (which requires the “captive audience” to purchase a product from a private company under penalty of law) why do they even have to advertise? Cut out the fancy advertising, let “FLO” go home and clean herself, and mandate a reduction in insurance rates. Since the states control insurance companies, this should be easy to do.

        not lol

      • Yeah, the “hard stop” thing is stupid.

        Sometimes you have to do it, to avoid an accident.

        I get what they are driving at—a lot of dangerously unskilled drivers are hard on the pedals—but this is the kind of crap you get when people try to distill human behavior down to an algorithm. It just doesn’t work that way. Sooner or later a lot of people are going to learn this the hard way.

        • Hi Publius,

          Yup. If I were to plug the Flo Dongle into a car, I’d be judged very “unsafe.” Yet I have not so much as scratched the paint – mine or anyone else’s – in decades of driving all kinds of cars, including my own. I ask the Safety Geeks the following question and have never had any of them offer a coherent answer:

          At what point does the objective fact of my decades-long record of accident-free driving take precedence over your assertion that my driving “too fast” and so on is “unsafe”?

    • It should be relatively easy task to disconnect the system. It has to use some firm of digital communications like 4g cell. The antenna can be shaded or shielded or even be yanked out entirely.

  13. And, don’t think that if you get the Tesla “insurance” don’t *t think you can escape in the future. Any company you go to will know that Tesla had you on the Bad Boy List and will price accordingly.

    Once you pick up the s#!t stick you get both ends.

  14. The north Austin suburbs experienced a severe hail storm the first week of October, and Tesla owners who opted for non-Tesla insurance are learning the hard way that Capo Musk places repair priority on his vehicles covered by the company insurance racket.

    Annecdotally, from what I’ve heard first hand, owners of Tesla vehicles not covered by the company’s insurance face wait times for certified body/glass repair service of up to six months. Of course, non-certified is an option, but that voids the warranty on the vehicle, even if purchased right before the storm.

    So many Teslas around where I lie are damaged to the point of requiring qualified repair that, for policyholders not wanting to wait, the other Capos (Flo, Gecko, General, Emu, …) are offering half of the new purchase price to total what is, in many cases, a nearly six figure purchase, often financed and requring the owner to come up with the difference to pay off the loan.


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