How Driverless Cars Could Change Motor Insurance

Driverless cars will change many things for drivers, insurers, vehicle maintenance professionals. When software takes over the control of a car, there are a number of issues to consider. Motor insurance is one of the most important factors to consider. If an autonomous vehicle is driving itself, who holds liability in an accident? Although autonomous vehicles won’t be available to the public for another few years, we need to start looking at how they might change insurance policies now. These technical issues should be examined before driverless cars are available on the general market.

Lower Claim Rates

The use of autonomous vehicles could actually reduce the rate of claims for motor vehicles, according to experts. Autonomous systems can be programmed to react faster and smarter than humans if given the right input. For example, autonomous emergency braking. Rather than a sudden availability of entirely autonomous cars, we’re likely to see a slower adaptation of various autonomous elements, with AEB being one of them – all new cars manufactured for the EU must feature AEB. According to Peter Shaw, research chief executive at Thatcham, the technology could save approximately 1,200 lives in the next ten years.

Reduction in Fraud

Fraud causes an increased number of claims and can be difficult to prove. Autonomous technology could help in several ways, including detecting how many passengers are in a vehicle and providing evidence of the causes of an accident. Cameras, sensors and other technology can provide more information for insurers investigating claims, helping them to spot cases of fraud. This could lead to more competitive prices for consumers with cars with autonomous features.

Emergency Response

Automatic emergency response is one of the features that important to pay attention to. ECall must be fitted to all new cars in the EU, meaning that the emergency number will automatically be called in the event of an emergency. Emergency services receive the location of the vehicle and can respond more quickly. Insurers are also using eCall and breakdown calling with connected cars to help their customers. Several insurers provide apps and other technology that utilises information from connected cars to help customers drive better and reduce their insurance costs.

Greater Focus on Product Liability

The future of motor insurance, where driverless cars are concerned, is likely to require a shift more toward the product than the driver. If the car’s software is in charge, we need to rethink liability. The driver will become less important when insurance policies are underwritten, at least during the times that the car is using autonomous features. There will be more focus on the product and the condition it’s in and less on the actions of the driver. When autonomous vehicles do need repairs, insurance companies will also have to take into account that the specialist maintenance could be a lot more expensive – at least, at first.

Motor insurance needs to adjust to accommodate autonomous vehicles, whether they’re fully driverless or have various autonomous features.