Self-driving cars and auto insurance

Many California residents have seen one of Google's self-driving cars being tested. Autonomous cars like the one being developed by Google are often advertised as the solution to car accidents. According to the president of Volvo, the many autonomous safety features on the Swedish company's cars could make fatal crashes a thing of the past. Volvo is hoping to make an accident-proof car by 2020.

Some of the research into self-driving cars backs up the safety claims by autonomous vehicle manufacturers. For example, Tesla Motors claims that its autopilot software can reduce car accidents by 50 percent. Despite the claims by Tesla, Google, Volvo and others, some analysts say that autonomous vehicles have yet to be rigorously tested in real world situations.

There are still a lot of questions about insurance for autonomous cars, and some people have argued that autonomous cars will be so safe they will eliminate the need for auto insurance altogether. U.K.-based insurer Lloyd's has claimed that auto insurers will play a significant role in the development of risk management practices for self-driving cars. However, some autonomous car manufacturers are choosing to self-insure rather than work with third-party insurance providers.

When a self-driving car causes an accident, there are questions about who is at fault. Identifying the at-fault party in a multi-car accident can be difficult even when all of the vehicles are being driven by humans. A lawyer for an injured victim can often review the official investigation report and other evidence including eyewitness testimony in order to pinpoint who should be held responsible for the ensuing financial losses such as medical expenses and property damage.

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