Driverless Cars a Coming Reality for Auto Insurers

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  • These days, auto insurance companies have a hard enough time assessing risk overall, but things might soon get a little more complicated when driverless cars start being rolled onto streets across the country. These vehicles could significantly alter the entire auto insurance industry, and though in many ways they may seem like science fiction, the general consensus is that they’re really not all that far away from ubiquity. This is something that insurance agents will certainly have to keep an eye on over the next few years, as many manufacturers are starting to introduce these cars on a test basis already.

    In recent weeks, three auto insurance companies and an auto parts manufacturer have weighed in on driverless cars, saying that they’re going to fundamentally alter the ways in which their industries function, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. All three insurers, for their part, don’t necessarily feel that the coming acceptance and broad use of these cars poses a risk to them right now, but they merely warned investors that, in the long term, they could be disruptive to the industry as a whole.

    A closer look at the data
    In 2013 – the latest year for which data was available – auto insurers received $107.4 billion in premiums from drivers, but that number could change dramatically going forward, the report said. In the future, it probably won’t be people who carry risk themselves, since they won’t be the ones driving, but rather software companies and auto manufacturers might be the ones facing suits. That’s not to say people won’t continue paying for auto insurance of their own, but they might not carry premiums that are quite so high as risk changes.

    The more that insurance agents can do for both themselves and their clients when it comes to understanding how driverless cars can impact risk overall, the better off all involved are likely to be. Again, whether people accept it or not, these vehicles will be getting on the road in larger numbers over the next couple of years, and will dramatically alter the way in which auto insurance risk is assessed. If people understand that, they may be more likely to be satisfied with their own coverage, even if they don’t have a driverless car of their own any time soon.