A transportation bill under consideration in the U.K. Parliament would require insurers to offer a single product that covers collision-damaged vehicles when the motorist is driving and when the vehicle is in driverless mode.
Lawmakers behind the Vehicle Transportation and Aviation Bill want to ensure that “innocent victims involved in a collision with an automated vehicle will have quick and easy access to compensation,” the U.K. Department for Transport said.
However, the bill would make vehicle owners liable for collision damage if they make unauthorized changes to the car’s software or fail to install required software updates.
Under the terms of the bill, the U.K. Secretary of State would have the power to determine which vehicles fall under the new insurance requirement.
“This is a positive step forward that provides clarity to insurers to ensure we design our products appropriately,” said David Williams, head of underwriting at the insurance firm AXA UK. “It keeps protection of the general public at its heart, which we hope will encourage early adoption of some really impressive technology.
“The vast majority of accidents are caused by human error and we see automated vehicles having a massive impact, reducing the number and severity of accidents. As well as making our roads safer, insurance premiums are based on the cost of claims, and therefore we expect substantially reduced premiums to follow.”