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Insurance policies should cover manual and automated driving, say ABI and Thatcham

Drivers should be able to buy a single motor insurance policy to cover both manual and automated driving when the first automated cars arrive.

Driverless car

The joint paper from the ABI and Thatcham says drivers should continue to buy a single motor insurance policy to cover both manual and automated driving

That’s the view of a joint paper from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and industry body Thatcham Research

Published today (9 September) in response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on how to support developing automated vehicle technologies, the paper outlines the ABI’s view that making drivers arrange a separate product liability policy for the times they are using automated driving modes would be too complicated and risk leaving road accident victims without enough cover.

The paper also says that insurers should have a new legal right to recovery, allowing them to get costs back from motor manufacturers, software companies or other parties in cases where the vehicle or technology was found to have been at fault.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: “When an automated vehicle or piece of software causes an accident it is important insurers can recover costs from the companies involved so that vehicle owners are protected from any upward pressure on the cost of motor premiums.”

The paper also argues that strict rules on what people can and cannot do behind the wheel need to be maintained and drivers will need absolute certainty about when they can safely allow the car to drive autonomously.

It also points out that good procedures for collecting and sharing data need to be agreed so people involved in accidents get compensation and help without delay. The UK Government is currently involved in international negotiations related to this at a UN level.

Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said: “Building driver confidence is at the heart of this consultation paper, so keeping things simple and clear is paramount. Similarly, there is still much work to be done by legislators and the automotive industry to give drivers absolute clarity and confidence around what automated driving systems are capable of doing and under what circumstances they can be used.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.