Self driving cars might be self insured
California has been leading the way in self-driving car design and implementation. Testing of the complex autonomous vehicles has been ongoing, and there are encouraging signs found in the rich safety statistics collected on the cars. To date there has not been a single reported death or injury associated with any of the millions of miles that the autonomous vehicles have traveled during testing. The manufacturers have expressed confidence that this perfect safety record will continue.
This could have a lasting effect on the automobile insurance industry. It is estimated that U.S. car insurers collectively earn $220 billion in revenue each year and support hundreds of thousands of jobs.
All motorists in California are required to have liability insurance. However, with self driving cars, some manufacturers have indicated that they may self-insure the vehicles until the industry catches up. This, however, could prove to be a barrier to entry to manufacturing and technology firms that want to enter the market but that don’t have the financial deep pockets of companies like Google and Volvo. Self-insurers might also opt to limit their risk by programming their vehicles to avoid taking certain routes or driving through certain neighborhoods, with the resulting financial and social problems that could result.
Until the day that autonomous vehicles are ubiquitous, car accidents caused bynegligent drivers will continue to cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries to their passengers as well as to occupants of other vehicles. Those who have been harmed in such an incident may want a personal injury lawyer’s assistance in seeking recompense for their losses.
Source: Forbes, “No, Self-Driving Cars Won’t Kill the Insurance Industry”, Patrick Lin, April 25, 2016