One of the most vexing aspects of self-driving cars is what it will do to the concept of auto insurance. When the computer is driving and you get into an accident, whose fault is it? It is yours because you turned the car on in the first place? Is it the other driver’s for not using an autopilot himself? Is it the programmer for not programming around whatever situation caused the accident in the first place?
And if you have a self-driving car, should your insurance be cheaper because you’ve removed human error from the equation?
Some say yes, some say no.
Tesla, the world leader in self-driving cars, is saying, “Don’t worry, we got this,” as they’re beginning to bundle their own insurance packages into car sales, starting in Asia.
“We’ve been doing it quietly,” Tesla President of Global Sales and Service Jonathan McNeill explained on a recent earnings call. “But in Asia in particular where we started this, now the majority of Tesla cars are sold with an insurance product that is customized to Tesla, that takes into account not only the Autopilot safety features but also the maintenance costs of the car.”
"It’s our vision in the future that we’ll be able to offer a single price for the car, maintenance and insurance in a really compelling offering for the consumer,” he continued. “And we’re currently doing that today.”
It’d be a welcoming change in the car-buying world. As it stands, it’s a complex production: base price, incentives, financing, taxes, fees, licensing, registration and insurance to name just a few. If Tesla can steer the world toward a future in which buying a car is a simple, one-price affair, that sounds pretty good to me.