More than seven in 10 motorists think that the arrival of driverless cars will cause car insurance to be more expensive, with about a third worried that the rise will be significant. This was revealed by a study by market research agency Consumer Intelligence.
Regulations to include driverless cars to be covered by standard insurance policies was included in the Queen’s Speech, heightening the possibility of self-driving cars on UK streets by 2020.
The Association of British Insurers organized a forum of 13 major insurers to deal with industry issues raised by the advent of self-driving cars. Car insurance prices have gone up by 13% in the past year, reaching an average of £683.
However, Consumer Intelligence’s research says that 71% of UK drivers think that insurance will get more expensive due to self-driving cars. Additionally, 35% believe that the rise will be substantial. Motorists below 18 years old were less concerned with the impact on insurance prices, but 65% still think rates will rise.
On the contrary, insurance industry data indicates that around 94% of motor accidents are due to human error. This means that rates may actually fall, and long-term projections show that premiums could drop by up to 80% in 25 years.
Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence said: “Driverless cars sound like science fiction but will be a reality on UK roads within four to five years.
“Motorists are definitely not convinced yet of the benefits at least in terms of the impact on insurance prices despite the reassurance from the industry that human error is the main cause of accidents.
“With more than seven out of 10 people convinced driverless cars are going to cost them more on insurance there is a job to do on selling the benefits.”
The insurance industry is currently identifying issues such as who would be held responsible in case an accident happens, whether drivers, manufacturers, system developers, car dealers or maintenance firms. The industry is also examining whether new road legislation is needed and how to deal with vehicles with various levels of automation and data recording methods.