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How insurance may fare in an age of driverless cars

Experts have made predictions already about how the auto insurance industry will fare in an age of fully autonomous cars. Drivers in West Virginia may be interested to know that newer research differs from older in suggesting a less dire future for the industry. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has issued a report stating that the industry will likely evolve rather than disappear.

Part of the reason is that while coverage may become obsolete for individual drivers, that probably will not be the case for technology companies and manufacturers. The parts that are unique to driverless cars, such as cameras and sensors, are expensive. Even minor fender benders will raise the average cost of accidents, and the fact that there have already been fatal crashes involving driverless cars shows that the need for insurance will not go away.

New revenue sources may open up, too. Insurance companies could offer cyber insurance, for instance, to protect against cars getting hacked. In the transitional stage where drivers use autonomous features only part of the time, insurers could offer policies for both individuals and vehicles. All of this, the report predicts, could be a boon for insurers quick to adapt. By contrast, a 2016 Morgan Stanley report predicted a sudden decline for insurers. It estimated that the insurance industry would shrink to about 20 percent of its current size by 2040.

When drivers are negligent, they can have claims filed against them in the wake of a car crash that they have caused. Injured victims might want to have legal assistance when seeking a settlement from the at-fault motorist's insurance company.

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