Self-Driving Cars Might Kill Auto Insurance as We Know It – Without humans to cause accidents, 90% of risk is removed. Insurers are scrambling to prepare.

16 comments

  1. Mugros

    |Author

    The article is foremost sensationalized BS.
    Yes, auto insurance will change, but insurers are not “scrambling”. First there aren’t even cars that take the human factor out of driving. Even the few assisted driving features are nowhere near fully autonomous cars. And as long as the driver needs to and can take control of the car, the human factor is still there.
    Tesla misinterpreted data which supposedly showed that with the “autopilot” installed there were less incidents with airbags deployed, while in reality the amount of incidents went up.

    It will still take many, many years until cars are really autonomous. And many decades until autonomous driving is the norm. And there is plenty of time to adjust the insurance.

  2. obi1kenobi1

    |Author

    Insurance companies don’t make money off of car accidents, they make money off of insurance payments. They actually don’t like car accidents because then they have to pay out. Reduced risk is the dream of insurance companies, the holy grail of insurance is something with zero risk, like UFO insurance, because then they can make money with no chance of ever having to pay out. And even in some far future world where 100% of cars are self-driving and self driving systems are 100% reliable there will still be a need for insurance, because you will never be able to eliminate deer jumping in front of cars, invisible ice patches on the road, storms, road debris, mechanical failures, improper vehicle maintenance, unauthorized/unsafe changes to vehicles, or hardware/software failure. There will *always* be car accidents, and thus a need for insurance.

    Also, do you think people buy insurance for the fun of it? No, they buy it because it is *required by law*. There’s absolutely no possibility that that will ever change even after self-driving cars are the norm, there’s just way too much liability and risk involved. Not to mention that one of the supposed benefits of self-driving cars is the ability for traffic to move much faster than is safe with human drivers, so while accidents may be less common they would also be far more devastating and deadly.

    It’s naive and honestly downright stupid to think that self driving cars would hurt insurance companies. On the contrary, they will *love* self-driving cars, as their claim numbers will go down and they’ll be able to rake in more money than ever before even if they dramatically lower their rates. This wouldn’t be the “death of insurance”, if anything it would be the golden age.

  3. From the article:
    > That’s because the driver won’t be the risky part. “Liability is likely to migrate from the individual to the manufacturer and the licensers of the software that drives the AV,” said Rodney Parker, an associate professor of operations management at Indiana University.

    This is highly speculative. If the manufacturers take on all the risk, there’s a chance the risk is so high they can’t turn a profit. If the buyer takes on the risk, there’s a chance no one will buy an autonomous car. It’s a huge roadblock for the industry becoming mainstream.

    RadioLab did an entire [episode ](https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/driverless-dilemma) on this topic.

  4. CivilServantBot

    |Author

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  5. Glennus626

    |Author

    I work for a major auto insurer, and internally this question has been brought up in some big, company wide video conferences. We do not foresee adaptation and implementation of significantly proven technology at this scale for decades. Too much infrastructure and interconnectivity that would vastly affect your privacy has to happen to ensure no accidents.

  6. upbeatchris

    |Author

    They’re certainly not scrambling and there is certainly no rush to. Fully autonomous cars will take decades to become the norm. There has been great progress made, but we are far from them taking over the road.

  7. liquidream

    |Author

    My first thought is if the cars become driver-less why would i own a car. If I can pay a company to taxi me around when ever I need it, I cut out the cost of owning, insuring, servicing, and maintenance of the car. My car sits idle almost 90% of the day taking up room that I could use in converting my garage into living space, saving money and no worries.

    Also the police departments will have to rethink their roles. Cars will be travelling at much higher speeds and closer together, would speed limits matter? The cars should be driving automatically at the safest highest speeds for any given area. Plus the police cars will also be autonomous.

  8. TheThirdStrike

    |Author

    Fuck em… You pay insurance your whole life, without ever filing a claim, then the second you do they try to fuck you over and find ways not to pay, and if/when they finally do, they jack up your rates.

    Like mosquitos… If they die, they won’t be missed.

    Unfortunately, they’ll still have home owners/renters insurance to fuck people over with.

  9. ledfrisby

    |Author

    In the “cars as a service” scenario of future transportation, insurance might not matter anyway, as the service providing companies could be large enough to absorb the costs of individual accidents. That is, of course, assuming that they own the cars, and that there will be exceptions.

  10. SCMarion

    |Author

    The shift to purely self driven cars will probably take decades. The risk is to the company that manages the autonomy. Insurance providers would probably just insure tesla as a company to cover accidents. People will definitely still drive motorcycles, atvs, etc so these insurance companies should be fine.

    Did you know you can save 10% or more switching to Geico?

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