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How is your insurance handling "autonomy"?

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,728
Seattle, WA
I was looking at my insurance documents today, and it includes this interesting line:

We don’t cover any vehicle, other than an auto shown on the declarations , while it’s being operated in autonomous or self-driving mode. This exclusion doesn’t apply to the brief operation of active safety systems such as automatic emergency braking or adaptive cruise control.

In my case, it appears that I'm insured in a Tesla that I own and insure, but this appears I would not be covered if I rented or borrowed a vehicle (including a Tesla loaner vehicle) with an "autonomous" system while using that system. This of course leaves some question to what my company would consider "autonomy." The fact that they call out AEB and TACC as examples that are included means that I think there could be some question about L2 systems like AP or City Streets Beta and if they are excluded. I'm sure using a mode called "Full Self Driving" will be an interesting discussion with an adjuster.

Anyone else have interesting autonomy language in their policies?
 

EVRider-FL

Member
Aug 18, 2015
670
383
South Florida
My Amica policy makes no mention of autonomous driving. As you said initially, it isn't clear what "operated in autonomous or self-driving mode" really means. I guess if you rent a Tesla and plan to use AP, you should spring for the extra rental insurance. 🙂
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,623
6,394
Snohomish, WA
I think most insurance companies have gotten in front of the autonomous driving by clearly stating they don't cover it during moments of L3/L4/L5 autonomous driving.

The fact there will be confusion is why I really like Tesla's approach with Tesla insurance. So it won't really matter which mode its in.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,623
6,394
Snohomish, WA
My Amica policy makes no mention of autonomous driving. As you said initially, it isn't clear what "operated in autonomous or self-driving mode" really means. I guess if you rent a Tesla and plan to use AP, you should spring for the extra rental insurance. 🙂
AP in its current state is not autonomous.

Even FSD Beta is still not autonomous.

As long as you're the responsible person then your insurance has to cover it. Unless you do something explicitly disallowed like racing it on a track, and crashing or something like that.
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,728
Seattle, WA
Most likely the Manufacture would be on the hook if there was an accident in autonomous mode.
In North Carolina, they already have specific laws for autonomous vehicles. It specifically makes the owner of the vehicle liable, not the manufacturer.

I think most insurance companies have gotten in front of the autonomous driving by clearly stating they don't cover it during moments of L3/L4/L5 autonomous driving.

The fact there will be confusion is why I really like Tesla's approach with Tesla insurance. So it won't really matter which mode its in.
The issue I see with Tesla insurance is that it's single source, from the same company that sells you the car. If nobody else is willing to insure you, and the manufacturer of the car can just cancel you any day, or set your rates to whatever they want, that's a pretty precarious position to be in as a car owner. They could even say "your car needs a HW upgrade or we won't insure it". We really need the industry as a whole to support it. Plus, Tesla insurance is CA only and has been for years.

I don't think "most companies" have gotten in front of it. Nobody else here quoted a policy that mentioned it, and my insurance sure didn't call out L2/L3/L4

AP in its current state is not autonomous.

Even FSD Beta is still not autonomous.

L1-L5 are literally SAE "levels of autonomy". Everyone agrees AP/FSD is L2. My insurance says I'm not covered when the vehicle is in an autonomous mode, and does not set this to L3+. I'm not sure I'd like to end up fighting that with them after my L2 Tesla impacts a trailer with AP engaged. "But it is only L2!" "You mean it only has L2 AUTONOMOUS modes? Denied."

We know how insurance hates to pay out. That's why I was interested what other policies said.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,128
7,840
Visalia, CA
...The fact that they call out AEB and TACC as examples that are included means that I think there could be some question about L2 systems like AP or City Streets Beta and if they are excluded...

That's the same way I read. We can argue that Autopilot is not autonomous but what counts is the insurance policy and how it defines what to cover.

For its definition, the only covered automation tasks are AEB and TACC.

That means other tasks are not such as:

Auto Lane Change
Autosteer
(Navigation, City Streets include those above too so they definitely not covered)
Simple Summon (in and out of your garage)
Smart Summon
Autopark...

That policy is too restrictive. I would get another one that covers everything even with those above tasks.
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
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Seattle, WA
That policy is too restrictive. I would get another one that covers everything even with those above tasks.
In my case, declared cars are covered, just not ones I drive that are not declared (loaners, rentals, friends, etc). So it's not a big deal yet.
Made me wonder if anyone has a more restrictive policy however.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,788
5,699
That's the same way I read. We can argue that Autopilot is not autonomous but what counts is the insurance policy and how it defines what to cover.

For its definition, the only covered automation tasks are AEB and TACC.

That means other tasks are not such as:

Auto Lane Change
Autosteer
(Navigation, City Streets include those above too so they definitely not covered)
Simple Summon (in and out of your garage)
Smart Summon
Autopark...

That policy is too restrictive. I would get another one that covers everything even with those above tasks.
That list may not be exhaustive though, but rather to give some examples (but not all). Instead of talking about marketing names, it's easy to point out other common ADAS features (not only limited to Tesla), like Lane Keep Assist and Electronic Stability Control. Hard to imagine those are excluded.
 
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S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,623
6,394
Snohomish, WA
L1-L5 are literally SAE "levels of autonomy". Everyone agrees AP/FSD is L2. My insurance says I'm not covered when the vehicle is in an autonomous mode, and does not set this to L3+. I'm not sure I'd like to end up fighting that with them after my L2 Tesla impacts a trailer with AP engaged. "But it is only L2!" "You mean it only has L2 AUTONOMOUS modes? Denied."

No, the SAE Levels clearly spell out who is responsible/liable.

Whether a car is autonomous or not is a very binary thing.

We don't actually really need SAE levels to know who has liability.

L1 - Always the driver
L2 - Always the driver
L3 - Just a bad idea
L4 - Always the car in this mode
L5 - Always the car in this mode

I don't actually agree with this binary liability approach, but that's how it is. I personally would have preferred some level of responsibility for advanced L2 systems because I feel like systems like NoA or FSD Beta put way too much responsibility on the driver in situations where they can't possibility be expected to react fast enough. Hence all the curbing of rims with FSD beta.

I've never seen an insurance claim denied because autopilot, supercruise, drivepilot or whatever was engaged. They can't because the driver is the responsible party. There are a ton of lane steering systems on the market.

What I have seen is language that says "autonomous mode", but there is no autonomous mode until at least Level 3, and no one sells a production car (with production quantities) that is level 3 capable.

But, as soon as that happens insurance companies are going to make it crystal clear that their insurance doesn't cover it during those modes. Now I do agree with you in that there is a bad side to manufacture based insurance (Tesla insurance, Rivian insurance, etc). But, I don't see anyway around that when one moment the car could be an L4 mode, and the next moment the driver could take over when the driver got enjoyable. Basically that's how I used AP yesterday where I used in during the boring bits, and then took over when the curves demanded sporty driving over driving miss daisy AP driving.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
12,769
18,820
NC
No, the SAE Levels clearly spell out who is responsible/liable.

Nope.

Those are 2 entirely different things.

Who is "responsible" at a given level for a driving task during operation is defined by the SAE.

Who is "legally liable[/B] for an accident is not because the SAE has no control or say over that.

One has nothing to do with the other.

No insurance company is required to consider SAEs levels at all unless they specifically wish to include them in writing in the terms of their policies.


In some places insurance policies are including some language around automated driving (hence the original post)- in some states the STATE is setting rules on who is considered responsible for insurance/liability purposes too (again not bound to SAE definitions).

In places that take too long for either to come into play the courts will have to sort it out.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,623
6,394
Snohomish, WA
One has nothing to do with the other.

I agree that the SAE only defines the responsibility, and that insurance rules are state driven.

But, obviously if I'm in an L4 vehicle that's doing the driving that I can't be held liable for the accident. So I'm not sure where one wouldn't simply the follow the other unless it was a special case situation.

Every single L2 vehicle requires the driver to be responsible for the drive. I know when I drive that regardless of TACC/AP/FSD that I'm 100% responsible for the driving, and I'm 100% liable for an accident if I screw up and I cause one.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,623
6,394
Snohomish, WA
I'd switch to an insurer that has fewer ways to weasel out.
I don't think they're weaseling out.

Its a non-conclusive list where too much is being made of it. It's so small that they left off features like lane keeping that have been demonstrated to reduce accidents.

If the OP is really concerned he's better off contacting them to get clarification on coverage of L2 features within the State of WA. Plus I'm lazy so I'm not going to do it. :)
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
12,769
18,820
NC
I agree that the SAE only defines the responsibility, and that insurance rules are state driven.

But, obviously if I'm in an L4 vehicle that's doing the driving that I can't be held liable for the accident.

That's not obvious at all.

It's not even necessarily true.

In some states the the automated driving system, when engaged, is legally the operator.

In some states the owner is legally responsible for any legal violations of the vehicle, even on an L4 or L5 vehicle. (Even if he's not in the car BTW).

In some states the owner (or his agent) is legally responsible for SOME things in an accident (like reporting if they hit an unattended vehicle) and on the hook legally if they fail to, though not necessarily the accident itself.

In some states they appear to just entirely YOLO it by including language like

"LIABILITY FOR A CRASH INVOLVING AN AUTOMATED DRIVING
SYSTEM DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS NOT UNDER HUMAN CONTROL
IS DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE STATE LAW, FEDERAL
LAW, OR COMMON LAW. "


And then not actually including any state law to govern the situation at all liability-wise.
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,728
Seattle, WA
I was really hoping some other people would look at their policies and see if they mention autonomy at all instead of just telling me to get "a better insurer." Pemco is considerd one of the most consumer friendly insurers around.

This is in the future for all insurers, they can't insure software errors that they can't analyze and can change with a single update. How would you set your rates for a human if they could suddenly have their brain replaced with that of a 16 year old kid?

Open your policy and do a search. Does yours mention autonomy or self driving at all?
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,623
6,394
Snohomish, WA
I was really hoping some other people would look at their policies and see if they mention autonomy at all instead of just telling me to get "a better insurer." Pemco is considerd one of the most consumer friendly insurers around.

This is in the future for all insurers, they can't insure software errors that they can't analyze and can change with a single update. How would you set your rates for a human if they could suddenly have their brain replaced with that of a 16 year old kid?

Open your policy and do a search. Does yours mention autonomy or self driving at all?

Have you actually called them?

I highly doubt they really consider any L2 driver assistant function as automated driving.

Like ask them if they cover lane keeping safety technologies being engaged.

I think your insurance is just fine.
 
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