Driverless cars – what will they mean for insurance!?

Driverless cars are closing in on becoming a reality on our roads. Certainly, some estimates suggest that they’ll be on our roads by 2020 and this may yet prove conservative. It’s hard to resist some of the logic for their introduction.

In the UK there are around 1,700 deaths and 180,000 other injuries from motor vehicles each year. 90% of these come about due to human error. If the technology can eliminate these accidents, the impacts on our lives, and our insurance policies will be significant.

There is likely to need to be a significant re-think of the car insurance product. If the individual can’t take control of the vehicle, some of the risk will surely be transferred from the driver to the car manufacturer?

Sound great? Well some estimates say that it could reduce premiums by 75%, but it’s too soon to get excited yet.

A worry for the industry as a whole is that the move from personal lines motor insurance to product liability could concentrate risk. It could get nasty for example, if there’s a bug that grounds an entire fleet.

It’s certainly going to be interesting. Clever thinking suggests that the cars will also be connected to each other, which coupled with infrastructure on road sides could help reduce congestion, fuel management and pollution.

Will we want to give up our steering wheels though? Even faced with the road safety stats, over half of drivers have significant reservations about trusting the technology. Early days. Watch this space.

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