It is likely that self-driving cars will not be a common sight on Tennessee roads anytime soon, but when they finally are, they will have an effect on the auto insurance industry as well. It is not clear how these cars will be insured, and in part, this is because the safety of the cars is not yet known.
The technology companies that are developing them tout their safety, yet algorithms are vulnerable to both software errors and hacking. Even if the cars are considerably safer than those driven by humans, accidents will likely still happen. Insurance companies may work alongside car companies to develop regulations around autonomous cars.
One innovation that may appear is micro-premiums. An insurance company might judge a particular time of day as unsafe or may detect that a driver has been drinking. There might then be a requirement for the driver to pay a couple of dollars extra in premiums in order to use the car under those circumstances. However, this might introduce privacy issues. Another option could be that technology companies will introduce their own insurance. However, this could restrict drivers’ freedom if the company does not wish for a person to go to certain parts of town or do other things the company may consider unsafe.
It will be some time before autonomous vehicles are commonplace, and in the meantime, drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other people using roadways will be taking their chances with accidents that are largely caused by human error. People who are injured as a result of another driver’s negligence may be surprised to learn that an insurance company might not cover all their medical expenses. They may then want to have the help of a lawyer in pursuing appropriate compensation through a lawsuit filed against the at-fault motorist.