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How self-driving cars may change the insurance industry

New York motorists who are waiting for self-driving cars to go on the market might wonder how they will affect the insurance industry if they lead to fewer or no accidents as companies predict. It is likely that a number of industries will change with the advent of self-driving vehicles. For example, there may no longer be a need for truck drivers.

However, it is not possible to predict what will happen. One reason is that there are not yet enough autonomous cars on the road to say if they are as safe as technology companies claim they are. It is likely that insurers will participate in risk assessment. Another possibility is that the companies that develop the cars will self-insure, but this may have implications for an owner’s freedom. For example, the cars might be programmed not to go into certain neighborhoods.

One potential solution is something known as micropremiums. An example might be a person entering a car who has been drinking. The car might detect that the person is under the influence of alcohol and require an increase in the person’s insurance payment over the next few hours because of the slim chance the person might need to take the wheel. However, this also has privacy implications. There may be many other issues to work out as well such as the potential for insurance fraud.

Although autonomous cars are not yet available to consumers, similar technology that does things such as braking or slowing down in a potential rear-end collision can already reduce the likelihood of injuries. However, motor vehicle accidents still occur, and they still may seriously injure people. Furthermore, insurance companies for an at-fault driver often offer insufficient settlement amounts, which may lead to the injured victim filing a lawsuit with the assistance of counsel against the motorist who caused the accident.

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