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If autonomous vehicles prove to be safer than regular cars, insurance costs will plummet, and by the time roads are filled with self-driving cars, insurers like Geico will have taken a serious hit, the Berkshire Hathaway chief said. Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies offers commercial auto insurance.

"If they're safer, there's less in the way of insurance costs, [and] that brings down premium buy significantly," the investment guru said.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/27/buffett-self-driving-cars-will-hurt-the-insurance-industry.html

He does not think this will happen quickly, just that it will happen.
 

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Yup and at the same time, vehicle ownership is declining as car/ride sharing is increasing...That is shifting auto insurance from an individual to a corporation...
 

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I think it would make the car insurers more profitable if we don't complain about the increased safety... Too early to tell yet if it indeed it will increase safety especially with many dorks around unwilling to embrace new technology even after they die.
 

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and some people will still want to "manual drive" and it will COST THEM A FORTUNE in insurance to do so.

I have no doubt that something will come up with A/V that people will feel the need to insure against.
 

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An AV car costs around double what a standard EV costs and around 4x what a normal ICE car costs. Insurance is not only based on safety but costs to repair as well. Remember 5mph bumpers? Huge expense if you hit something at 6mph.
 

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and some people will still want to "manual drive" and it will COST THEM A FORTUNE in insurance to do so.

I have no doubt that something will come up with A/V that people will feel the need to insure against.
Think of it like herd immunity. If all the autonomous cars are good at avoiding idiots, the idiots will have fewer collisions.

But the biggest thing would be that (assuming reasonable system cost) autonomous vehicles would provide much cheaper flexible mobility, and that would take uninsured, under-insured and bad drivers out of the drivers' seat. It would move them into large taxi companies that would be able to self-insure.

And of course cheap flexible mobility via autonomous taxis would make government more willing to make it harder for people to obtain licenses and to remove licenses from offenders.
 

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If (or when) AV's are proven to be significantly safer by the number crunchers, insurance on people who drive themselves may rise as they will be riskier than AV's. After all, insurance companies will be looking for any way to offset reduced revenue. At some point, when AV is considered extremely safe and reliable, perhaps only the very wealthy will be able to afford to drive manually.

But I expect hacking and or software glitches will mar the rosy scenario and delay that day.
 

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When I watch the AV's out on the road, two things come to mind. First is the space shuttle and all of the billions of dollars of research and the redundant safety systems. I seem to recall that not one of the first 100 space shuttle flights launched as scheduled. I remember visiting the launch site to see one go up and then was told a computer program shut down the launch with less than a minute on the clock. Not to mention two of the flights that ended in explosion and disintegration during re-entry. My point being, NASA can request another few billion dollars to fix the problem and try again. When AV's take out a family, the lawyers will come from far and wide to cash in. How deep are the pockets of AV makers?

The second thing that crossed my mind was what I see each and every day living and driving in a big city. Aggressive drivers. If you are driving a mere 10mph over the posted limit, they will run you off the road. Every morning we watch the news to see where all the crashes are and what parts of the interstate are backed up. I'm guessing it's that 25% of drivers that are compulsive speeders, who cut in and out of traffic. They even drive like that on Sundays. They can't help themselves. The most noticeable are the men in their lifted 4x4 trucks. Part of that macho look is driving around everyone else, no matter if it is rush hour. these types of people will not get into an AV if it drives the speed limit. Not ever. They would rather drive uninsured than drive the speed limit. It is a lifestyle choice for them. The AV's will one day be met with a hail of gun fire from these angry drivers.

I have not read a lot about AV's just yet. I try to picture them on snow and ice and driving through thunderstorms, and reacting to blow-outs or being side-swiped by another vehicle. I really believe lawyers are going to make a comfortable living filing lawsuits against owners and makers of AV's when things don't go as planned.
 
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