Telsa's autopilot feature has resulted in the death of a Florida man. One of the first deaths of its kind, the semi-automatic driving feature may make the auto insurance industry scrutinize the new technology in cars.
In typical scenarios, automobile insurers and insurance defense attorneys are faced with damage claims against another individual that caused a crash. However, what happens when there is no other vehicle or no other driver? If the plaintiff is injured in a semi-automatic vehicle, who is the negligent party?
Driverless technology has been booming in the news lately, with reports of self-driving or autonomous car technology from big-name companies like Google, Uber and Mercedes gracing the headlines. As more companies test out this advancing technology, there are several issues that automobile insurance establishments may need to consider.
- Insurance coverage: While states like New York offer no-fault insurance for injury in an auto accident, the matter of different levels of coverage, such as product liability, may stretch the boundaries of current insurance coverage plans. New policies may need to be created in order to cover autonomous vehicle crashes.
- Driver control: Depending on the vehicle and the driver, the amount of control the driver has over the vehicle, or if they were using the control that they had available to them, may blur the lines of liability.
- Current rates: Age, experience and driving history will matter little when determining insurance rates if the car is autonomous. Insurers may need to rethink how they decide to charge individuals for insurance.
As this technology continues to advance, automobile insurers and their defense attorneys will need to keep a close eye. The events unfolding could have significant impact on the industry.