When they talk about self-driving taxis on the news, they don’t often mention self-driving taxi insurance. That’s likely because nobody’s quite certain how to insure a self-driving taxi service yet.
Several models have been proposed, however, and some of them are solid, workable starts. The most important points they have in common seem to be that a) there would be fewer collisions and b) a given insurance company would probably compensate its customer and then, if appropriate, try to get compensated in their turn by companies like automakers, software developers, etc.
Fewer Self-Driving Taxi Insurance Claims
Out of the top 10 causes of car accidents, 8 are due to human error (distraction, speeding, etc.). In fact, at least 16 of the top 25 are variations of human error.
In a world where 100% of cars drove themselves, those human causes of accidents would be virtually eliminated. This would in all likelihood drive down premiums as well as claims for all cars including those in the fleets of self-driving taxi services. Insurance as we know it would have to change. One possibility could be insuring private citizens’ self-driving cars when they rent them out for ride-hailing.
Instead, the culprits will be things like “…network failure, software choices, hacking and cybercrime, [or] failure to install updates….” Now, because a self-driving taxi is a supercharged data-gathering machine, it should be easier to pinpoint the cause of any given collision, which is great news for everybody. No more court battles over who remembers the event more clearly; just an unbiased look at the data.
Blame could lie with the automaker, the maker of a specific part, hosts of networks, etc. As a result, the process of filing a claim and receiving compensation could get much shorter and more pleasant for drivers. The self-driving taxi insurer would just pay out according to their plan and then begin investigating what company, if any, to approach for its own compensation.
Self-Driving Taxi Insurance: Summary
The most important point here is that there isn’t a complete, concrete answer to the question of how to insure an autonomous taxi service yet, but that we have some good pieces of a plan. There will first of all probably be fewer collisions and therefore generally less need for insurance as we now know it. But when claims are filed, if there’s a fight, it will likely be between an insurer and the company whose part or service failed.