Florida residents are often at the forefront of technology advancements. For example, just this week reports were released explaining how driverless cars–referred to by engineers as ‘Autonomous Vehicles”–were being tested in Florida. This makes it one of of three states where these revolutionary products are being explored. Google has been working on prototypes for this kind of car, but the earliest manufacture date is 2015, if not later. There is still a lot of work to be done before they are commercially viable.
While machine-controlled driving may revolutionize travel, it also reaises serious questions about potential liability for accidents and auto insurance coverage for the consequences of those potential accidents. This will add a layer of complexity to car insurance in the future, if and when these driverless cars become common on our roads.
One of the questions that will have to be addressed is if there is a car accident and someone is injured, who will be liable- the owner of the car (who was not driving) or the manufacturer of the car? On the other hand, if these driverless cars prove to be an improvement in safety, as proponents claim, then car insurance premiums could go down for everyone as fewer accidents occur.
Robert Passmore, senior director of personal lines policy Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, went so far as to say that there are those who believe the driverless car could mean the end of auto accidents, translating into the end of auto insurance. It is difficult to imagine that these new cars will have a perfect performance record 100 percent of the time, however.
Additionally, there will still be risks with manually driven cars. Legislation in Florida, where these vehicles have been approved require the cars to have a licensed operator and the ability to override the computer driving program. This means that truly driverless cars are even further in the future. Plus these cars are likely to be expensive, especially at first, and owners will still need insurance to protect from theft or property damage.
However, it does seem clear that this is an area of insurance law in California that should be followed closely in the coming years, as technology evolves and our insurance laws must change with it.
San Francisco Insurance Attorneys
Regardless of new technological innovations, insurance companies will still be both necessary and a risk to consumers in their quest for more and more profits. If you are having a problem with your insurance, on property old fashioned or high tech, contact an experienced Palm Beach insurance lawyer in your area today.