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Self-driving cars and the insurance industry

In the future, people in New York who own self-driving cars may have different auto insurance plans than the ones that exist today. The technology companies that are developing these cars say that they will be much safer than cars driven by humans, but the insurance industry is unlikely to go away. Instead, it may change just as self-driving cars may change other industries.

The auto insurance industry might end up working closely with technology companies to develop standards. Another alternative is that technology companies may offer their own insurance. However, this might lead to car owners having less freedom. Cars could be programmed to avoid neighborhoods the company has deemed dangerous.

Insurance companies may move into assessing small risks and assigning micro-premiums to cover them. An autonomous car might note when a person is speeding or has been drinking and request a small additional insurance premium charge in order to continue. However, drivers may feel their privacy is being violated.

Another consideration is bugs in the system and other glitches that may cause the cars to malfunction. Just as personal computers give users problems sometimes, self-driving cars might as well. It is still too early to say how dangerous this might be. They may also be vulnerable to attack by hackers including people committing insurance fraud.

There will be many things to work out beyond simply the technology before self-driving cars are ready to hit the road. In the meantime, motor vehicle crashes will continue to be a major problem around the country. People who are injured in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence might assume that insurance companies will take care of the costs, but often, this is not the case. An injured person might want to have legal counsel try to obtain a better settlement and to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if necessary in order to get appropriate compensation.

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