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UK car insurer becomes first to offer driverless cover

Tue 7 Jun 2016

Driverless car

Auto insurer Adrian Flux has become the first to offer driverless car cover for its UK customers.

The firm explained in today’s release that the insurance policy has been designed for those consumers who may already have driverless features in their vehicles, such as self-parking and ABS, or are considering purchasing a new car with self-driving capabilities.

‘As the UK continues to invest in driverless research in preparation for the growing market for autonomous vehicles in the near future, we wanted to help provide confidence and clarity around the ongoing debate of ‘who is liable?’ said Flux general manager Gerry Bucke.

He added: ‘We understand this driverless policy to be the first of its kind in the UK – and possibly the world. It’s a fantastic starting point for the insurance industry and the policy, like any other, will be updated as both the liability debate and driverless technology evolve.’

Flux’s policy lists a number of special features only applicable in driverless scenarios. These include covering customers for loss or damage; if updates or security patches haven’t been installed successfully, if there is a failure or outage, or if the vehicle gets hacked.

Bucke explained that over half of new cars sold since 2015 feature autonomous technology which make decisions on behalf of the driver.  ‘And it’s only going to continue,’ he said. ‘Driverless technology will become increasingly common in our cars over the next few years. Policy needs to reflect this transition and evolution.’

Welcomed by the insurance industry, the UK’s Modern Transport Bill, proposed in the Queen’s Speech last month, will extend compulsory cover to accidents where the car is at fault, as opposed to the driver.

A speech delivered by Andrew Jones, the UK’s Road Minister, a week later confirmed the proposal: ‘Compulsory motor insurance will be retained, but it will be extended to cover product liability, so that when a motorist has handed control to their vehicle, they can be reassured that their insurance will be there if anything goes wrong,’

Jones pointed out that ‘…in the event of a serious collision when in driverless mode, it would be the vehicle at fault, instead of the human driver.’

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