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How self-driving cars may change the insurance industry

Some New Jersey motorists who have been following the development of self-driving cars might wonder if they will need to have insurance on the vehicles. Self-driving cars may change the auto insurance industry, but they are unlikely to put an end to it.

In fact, it is likely that insurers' risk assessments will have some effect on safety regulations. Some technology companies may develop their own insurance. However, this could be problematic for several reasons. Companies could set their cars so they do not travel in certain neighborhoods that are deemed risky, and this could affect their drivers' freedom.

Insurers might deal in areas of micro-risks and micro-premiums. What this means is that autonomous cars might assess a particular risk, such as a drunk driver, and increase the premium by a few dollars for a certain period of time. The risk may be that while the car itself is self-driving, the driver might need to take over in an emergency. However, this approach raises privacy issues.

It is also not clear how safe the cars are. Software algorithms can behave in unpredictable ways in other contexts, and the cars might also be vulnerable to hackers. Other industries may be affected by autonomous vehicles as well such as long-distance trucking.

Automobile accidents are a leading cause of injury and death, and it will be some time before autonomous vehicles are making roads safer. A person may suffer a catastrophic injury in a collision that is caused by a negligent driver, and that motorist's insurance company might offer a settlement that is inadequate. When this is the case, it may be necessary to seek an attorney's assistance in filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.

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