How could autonomous vehicles affect your insurance?

Insurance is one of those facts of life in Australia, but new autonomous car technology could be changing the rules of the game. Just how could driverless cars affect how much you pay for your vehicle insurance?

Safety first

One of the primary features of autonomous vehicles is that they are (hopefully) going to be considered far safer than a regular driver. The safer your car, the less likely you are to make a claim, and thus your insurer has to pay out less. So, you end up paying less because your vehicle is not as much of a risk.

Usually, safety features included in premium calculation would be things like crashworthiness (how well the vehicle protects the passengers in the case of a crash) and crash avoidance and mitigation (staying out of trouble entirely). As a car becomes more autonomous and more advanced, you will find that a computer can react far faster than a human can in order to, for example, avoid smashing into a kangaroo, or bashing into the back of a car that brakes too suddenly.

Even now, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who assesses these factors, has been reporting that manufacturers are racing to get more advanced safety systems into their cars. Autonomous cars are being pushed by a number of different makers, and the industry as a whole is finding that automated safety features are becoming a competitive battleground for consumer favour.

No more driver error

Of course, there is also the fact that software theoretically doesn’t make nearly as many errors as humans do. In fact, for all the years that Google has been developing its autonomous fleet, only one accident has been even vaguely related to a mistake in the car’s software, which only resulted in a minor crash anyway. In comparison, a Monash University Accident Research Centre study found that the majority of vehicular accidents in Australia were the result of the human factor.

Drunk driving was the worst from 2000-2011, followed by falling asleep at the wheel and fatigue. If there’s one thing all of these errors have, it’s that it can’t happen to computer software! As such, not only will you be driving more safely, but you’ll be paying less for your insurance because your skill as a driver is no longer a factor. Young people and old people will both be equally affected.

This kind of technology is, of course, still all in development and we’ll be unlikely to see it appear on the market for a number of years. Until then, if you want some great options on car insurance or vehicle loans, make sure you get in touch with the team at Bank of Heritage Isle!