Did YOU Know about Driverless Cars?

auto-insurance-TMIBLadies and Gentleman, the future is here.

In September 2012, Governor Brown signed into law a bill that would legalize driverless cars. The Google driverless vehicle, which was first created in the mid-2000s, has been on the streets since 2011 and is already legal to operate in Nevada and Florida.

While driverless cars might conjure up images of a bright new future with human error removed from the driving experience, they also mean massive changes to current legislation pertaining to motor vehicles. For example,

Who will be allowed to operate these vehicles? 

  • Children under the age of 16?
  • Individuals with challenges that currently preclude driving?

Auto insurance

Some of the biggest changes will occur in the insurance realm.  The legislation and insurance industry will have many things to consider once these vehicles hit the road in California.

  • How will rates be determined?
  • Current car insurance rates are determined by a variety of factors, including age, experience, and other personal information (including grade point average for students). Because the driverless car is controlled by a robotic device with no accumulated experience or age, insurance companies will have to change the way rates are determined.
  • How will liability be determined if there is an accident?
    • Currently, drivers who are at fault in an accident are held liable for damages. With driverless cars, who will be held accountable? Because the driver does not control the vehicle, the vehicle will be “at-fault” in the accident. However, insurance companies cannot increase the rates for these driverless cars because the car is a machine that is expected to occasionally malfunction.


  • Driverless cars save information as they drive, potentially compiling copious data about a customer’s personal life, including schedule, favorite restaurants, etc. How will this information be saved, and how accessible will it be to the car’s manufacturer and third parties?

Continue to follow TMIB’s blog to see how these items develop.  We will keep you posted as we learn more information in the coming months and years.  If you have any questions regarding your own insurance, please do not hesitate to call us at 310-828-9662.

The information provided in our blogs are very brief overviews that do not provide complete descriptions of any coverage described nor do they list all of the important factors one should evaluate before deciding on a policy. Please speak to your broker at TMIB about your specific insurance needs and for more detailed information about types of coverage.