The Department for Transport has proposed to change the UK’s compulsory motor insurance framework to include the use of automated vehicles (AVs), which are expected to reach the market in five to 10 years.
Responding to the consultation on driverless cars, the government said it will make the minimum legislative changes required to enable the market to develop appropriate insurance products for AVs.
The government is proposing to extend compulsory motor insurance to driverless cars and establish a single insurer model, where an insurance company covers both the driver’s use of the vehicle and the AV technology.
According to the government, the single insurer model would ensure that motorists are covered both when they are driving and when they have activated the automated driving function (ADF).
Under the proposed model, a victim would be able to claim from the insurer in the event of a collision while the ADF was active.
When a crash is determined to have been caused by an AV where the ADF was active, the insurer would be liable to pay compensation to an injured motorist and third party victim.
The insurer will not be liable if the crash resulted from unauthorised modifications made by the motorist to the vehicle’s operating system or from failure to install required software updates.
The insurer will not be able to exclude payment of compensation to a victim if the AV caused the crash as a result of it being hacked.
“Our new proposal offers flexibility for industry to make their own decisions as to the insurance products they wish to offer and the arrangements reached between insurers and manufacturers within a framework that offers security to motorists and which will support a functioning market for automated vehicles,” the government said.
The Secretary of State would be given the power to publish a list of cars or vehicle types to be classified as AVs.
The government’s insurance proposals for driverless cars will be taken forward into the Modern Transport Bill, which is due to enter the Houses of Parliament this year.
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