Self-driving vehicles and the auto insurance industry

North Carolina motorists may have read that automobile manufacturers and technology companies are predicting that self-driving cars will seriously reduce or eliminate injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. This raises the question of how the auto insurance industry will be affected.

The industry will probably not come to an end, but it is likely to undergo significant change. It is not yet clear what form those changes will take. For example, insurers may end up working closely with automobile and technology companies in deciding what cars will and will not be programmed to do. Another scenario might see manufacturers self-insuring their vehicles. However, consumers may resist this if the companies can program autonomous cars to refuse to do certain activities they have deemed too dangerous such as traveling in certain neighborhoods.

Even outside the realm of self-driving vehicles, telematics allow cars to increasingly gather information about drivers including whether motorists are speeding or how drowsy they are. This same technology can be used to calculate risks and demand micropremium payments from drivers. One example might be a driver who is intoxicated. The car could judge that the person might need to take the wheel in an emergency and require a small additional premium payment. However, this could raise privacy problems. There are also issues around safety and ethics that still must be considered.

Unfortunately, when auto accidents happen now, insurance companies do not always offer an adequate settlement. Even if another driver is responsible for the accident and is fully insured, the compensation offered might be too small. A person in a situation like this might want to talk to an attorney about how best to seek an appropriate amount of damages from the at-fault driver.

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