Uncertainty swells over insurance impact of new driving technology

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  • These days, auto manufacturers are doing more to help ensure that drivers can operate their vehicles safely, by installing a number of features that can help prevent accidents. However, experts now note that even with all these improvements, consumers are likely to see little to no decline in the amount they pay for auto insurance going forward. For this reason, consumers who have invested in potentially non-standard safety equipment for their vehicles might want to talk to their insurance agents to find out what, exactly, they can do to better make their coverage more affordable in the future.

    Safety features such as automatic braking, backup cameras, radar equipment, and more have recently started becoming available in a large and growing number of vehicles across the country, according to a report from the Associated Press. The intention is that this will help to significantly reduce the number of road accidents every year, but insurance companies – for now at least – say that these features are going to have little to no impact on coverage premiums.

    So why doesn’t this help cut costs?
    It seems that insurance companies are getting a lot of anecdotal information from consumers about the ways in which all these new safety features aren’t necessarily helping them, the report said. In a lot of cases, this is early technology, and as such they don’t always work well in particular situations. For instance, at night or during bad weather, radar-based crash avoidance systems might not be as useful as intended. However, the IIHS notes that as many as 1 in 3 fatal accidents and 1 in 5 injurious accidents could have been prevented with standard safety systems.

    “Consumers tell us that there are a lot of false positives,” Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Virginia, told the newspaper. “This stuff doesn’t always work.”

    Insurance agents may have to do more in the coming years to help consumers better understand the ways in which their liability is – or potentially is not – affected by increasing safety features that come standard with their vehicles. The more that can be done to help people in this regard, the more satisfied a consumer is likely to be with their coverage and agent simultaneously. That, in turn, should help to improve customer satisfaction ratings, and thus any efforts on the part of an agent to provide additional discounts could be further appreciated.