Although many people may not realize it, there is a call within the insurance industry and auto safety organizations to have self-driving cars on the road as quickly as possible. Yet this proposes a massive shift in potential liability. The discussion centers mainly around how they will provide so many safety benefits that they are in the best interest of the public. Let’s explore how these automobiles will affect your vehicle choices, finances and coverage options in the near future.
The Future of Self-Driving Cars
The first misconception that is repeatedly pronounced is that these vehicles will take over our roadways as early as 2020. Somehow, within a span of just few years all our vehicles can be our chauffeurs and there will be no need to bother with the physical act of operating it anymore.
There are several reasons why this timeline simply will not happen. The first and foremost reason is that the discussion around insurance and legislation needed to have these vehicles on the road has not advanced very far. Autonomous car legislation truly is only in place in a few locations in the U.S., and only deals with allowing these vehicles on the road but not with the ‘fault’ of these driverless cars.
Secondly, the traditional automakers are still dragging their feet on the implementation of crash avoidance and other safety features as requested by the NHTSA, which shows that they may not be ready to fully embrace the option to the fullest extent by 2020 either. Although the commitment to automatic emergency braking was made by 10 automakers the actual implementation has been voluntary and diluted. Imagine if they were required to be liable and responsible for autonomous cars?
There is no doubt that the future includes safer robotic cars, as it has been suggested that they could reduce auto fatalities by up to 90%, but are consumers ready to give up the thrill of the drive? Probably, this argument will not end for a long time and there will always be rebel motorists, if the choice is taken away in any way.
Auto Insurance Consequences
The second largest problem to be tackled in the area of driverless autos is the simple mechanics of coverage alluded to above. In the current system, you buy a vehicle and policy for accidents you cause or to protect yourself when hit by someone else. It is nearly hundred years old system with millions of workers and billions invested in.
However, this system is based primarily around the idea that ‘someone’ is eventually found to be at fault. You will face massive expenses for property damages, injury claims for pain and suffering and the medical expenses of the persons you may have injured if you are found responsible for an accident.
Instead, you pay a premium to transfer these liabilities to an insurer so that you do not have to pay out of pocket. In the end, your premiums may increase and you end up paying for the accident in the long run.
With an autonomous car however, the person that owns the car but never drives it is not ‘at fault’. These new cars will need a new way to be insured and consumers will not want to take responsibility for the technology of an automaker that failed. In this way, automakers will need to be the ones carrying insurance for their products. Yet to be sure, this increased cost will end up raising prices for vehicles.
With autonomous cars probably more like 20-30 years away, most motorists will still need to get the best possible price the usual way of shopping around for quotes from various sources. This website is dedicated to giving you the opportunity to choose from some of the best carriers in your zip code. We can all worry about those new legislations as they arise, years from now.