The idea of cars that drive themselves from one destination to the next may seem fantastical – the kind of far-flung notion that one would only see in science fiction movies – but the fact of the matter is that many experts think they could make their first arrival to the marketplace within the next decade. As such, many auto insurers are hard at work trying to determine just how much these kinds of vehicles will increase liability, and it’s something that agents will have to keep a close watch on in the long term as well.
Vehicle manufacturers are already developing some fairly advanced versions of self-driving cars that will, as their name suggests, let everyone in them relax while a computer takes control of the driving, and could be ready to bring them to market relatively soon, according to a report from financial news site The Street. However, it’s important to note that, while these computers will likely be able to significantly reduce the number of accidents based on how they are capable of seeing the road and reading conditions, those in the auto insurance industry say that they might actually end up increasing premiums.
Why is this the case?
The fact of the matter is that while occurrences of accidents could go down considerably, the cost of dealing with them would probably surge, the report said. The advanced equipment these driving computers will have to use to operate is likely to be quite expensive, and thus something that would have been as simple as replacing a bumper before could end up costing thousands of dollars. Therefore, instead of 10 crashes with an average cost of $1,000 each, for example, just two or three crashes might cost an auto insurer that same $10,000 at the end of the day. Further, auto insurance policies might even have to start including other types of coverage that protects sensitive information stored in these vehicles’ hard drives.
“The higher costs associated with driverless cars will also be reflected in other forms of insurance that will still be unavoidable,” Loretta Worters, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, told the site.
Auto insurance agents will certainly have a lot on their plate before this technology is being rolled out, but making sure to keep up on emerging trends in the industry is a great way to ensure that they’re positioned to take advantage of whatever comes along.