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The impact of new automotive technologies like autonomous driving are beginning to show in the insurance industry.
Britain’s largest motor insurer Direct Line told Reuters it is offering Tesla drivers in Britain a 5 percent discount for using Autopilot.
“At present the driver is firmly in charge so it’s just like insuring other cars, but it does offer Direct Line a great opportunity to learn and prepare for the future,” said Dan Freedman, Head of Motor Development at Direct Line.
A U.S.-based start-up insurance company called Root announced a similar offer this year. A company blog post in March said:
Why a discount for Tesla cars? It’s simple: they crash less. According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the crash rate of Tesla vehicles plummeted almost 40% after Autosteer (Tesla’s “self-driving” software) became available.
A 40% decrease. That’s significant. Root believes that falling crash rates means the car insurance industry should adjust rates in response.
A study earlier this year suggested that Tesla owners pay higher than average premiums due to high-than-average claim rates and repair costs. Tesla challenged the study’s accuracy. Still, CEO Elon Musk has said insurers need to provide more incentives for Tesla owners. To that end, Tesla has launched its own branded insurance programs, underwritten by insurers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.