Auto Insurance and the Driverless Car

MARCON Mobility Newsletter

Montreal, QC (Apr. 18, 2014) – We are currently seeing steady increases in ridesharing and carsharing to match trends in reduced car ownership and reduced interest in becoming a licensed driver as soon after turning age 16 as possible.

These trends do not generate the press attention that the driverless car has generated. Google cars seemed to lead the charge, but all of the major car manufacturers and even some new entrants are in the game, it seems. Every year, new features appear that improve safety and presumably reduce insurance claims costs – especially by high-end car manufacturers in their top models. But these features migrate into other models over time. In recent years, these new features have included adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance system, autonomous braking, adaptive headlights, backup camera, reverse backup sensors, sideview assist and parking assist. Each of these is a learning opportunity and development step toward more comprehensive functions to come, ultimately leading to fully autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

These cars of the future potentially bring big benefits: vastly improved safety and reduced accidents, convenience, environmental impact improvements and improved independence for those who are not able to drive.

But insurance is another matter. If one does not own a car, but merely uses a driverless vehicle, who insures it and for what? Who buys and who sells the insurance on the vehicle? Do passengers/riders need insurance? With fewer accidents, how much will auto insurance premiums be reduced and what will be the impact on insurers and distributors? What are the legal and insurance implications in a mixed environment combining driven and autonomous vehicles? Automobiles already generate large amounts of data; driverless vehicles may generate orders of magnitude more. The issue around data ownership and privacy seem to be growing.

Catch more on news topics that address some of these issues, including first regulations, privacy, ride-sharing insurance, driverless vehicles in off-road mining, and insurance industry research.

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MARCON Management Consultants Inc. is a specialized market research, strategy and management consulting firm based in Montreal. For more information, visit

Source: MARCON