4 Ways New Technology is Changing How You Drive and How You’ll Be Insured

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Technology touches every part of your life in some way and has had an impact on how you watch television, read the news, order a car to take you to the airport and even how you communicate with others. With technology constantly evolving, it should come as no surprise the impact technology has had on the auto industry. From self-driving cars to telematics devices, these are just some things that will Technology touches every part of your life in some way and has had an impact on how you watch television, read the news, order a car to take you to the airport and even how you communicate with others. With technology constantly evolving, it should come as no surprise the impact technology has had on the auto industry. From self-driving cars to telematics devices, these are just some things that will change how you drive and how you’re insured in the coming future.

Usage based car insurance

Autonomous Cars

It may be a while before you’re sharing the road with fully autonomous vehicles, but the technology is being tested and developed right now. Canada saw its first driverless car test on a public road earlier this year, and the exciting milestone was complemented by an 80 million dollar investment in autonomous technology by the Ontario government. With some experts estimating that self-driving cars could save Canadians $65 billion a year in reduced fuel costs, fewer collisions and decreased congestion, it’s no wonder that they could be the cars of the future.

With this new technology, comes new questions for insurance companies – most notably, who is responsible when a self-driving car is involved in a collision. In the U.K., a proposed vehicle technology bill suggests that the manufacturer of a self-driving car could be liable, rather than the ‘driver.’ Under the bill, insurance companies would need to offer two types of insurance for autonomous cars to account for when the car is operating on its own and when the driver takes over.

Smartphones

No doubt your smartphone makes life easier.  You can do your banking, answer your emails, look up that actor’s name that is on the tip of your tongue – all while you’re on the go. What makes your smartphone so helpful – that you can look up anything, anytime, anywhere –  is also what makes it so dangerous on the road.

When you’re behind the wheel and tempted to send a quick text message, check directions or scan your Facebook feed, you’re a much more dangerous driver. The statistics don’t lie: you’re 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision if you text while driving; you can fail to see up to 50% of the available information around you when you’re distracted; and almost 80% of collisions involve some form of driver inattention up to three seconds before the incident. Distracted driving is already changing the way Canadians are insured.

In British Columbia, distracted driving is considered a high-risk behaviour that could lead to higher insurance premiums with Driver Risk Premium charges, fees above and beyond a regular car insurance plan. On the other hand, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is investigating the feasibility of offering insurance discounts to drivers who use phone-disabling technology while driving.

Dash Cams

What could be better than having video evidence that an accident wasn’t your fault? That’s exactly what a dash cam offers drivers, and that’s why 35 percent of Canadians either already have a dash cam installed in their car, or think it’s a good idea to have one installed.

While there is no discount for having a dash cam, the potential benefits are clear when it comes to making a claim. Dash cams have the following benefits:

  • Help settle claims when it comes to your word over someone else’s
  • Provide video footage of cars that flee the scene of an accident
  • Provide footage if someone tries to vandalize or steal your car when it’s parked

Of course, dash cams can also work against you – proving you were at fault in an accident or distracted  while you were behind the wheel.

Telematics Devices

A telematics device is a system that you install in your car to record information about your driving habits. It can be used to track your acceleration and braking, how far you’re driving, and what time of the day you’re driving. With a Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) plan, this information can be sent to your insurance company to demonstrate your driving habits. In return, you could be eligible for a discount.

One study showed that most drivers who sign up for usage-based insurance see two positive results. First, many drivers, improve their habits and become safer in the process. Second, most drivers do qualify for a discount based on their habits. UBI could be particularly helpful for teenage drivers, who face higher premiums because of their lack of experience, by demonstrating that they are in fact safe on the road.

In the event that your data shows that you’re not a safe driver, insurance companies are not allowed to deny you coverage or raise your premiums based on the information they collect. Keep in mind, like dash cams, your insurance company will have hard evidence of your high speed and sudden braking if you make an insurance claim for which you were at fault.

These new technologies are either here to stay (smartphones) or are well on their way (driverless cars), so you’ll want to keep knowledgeable on how they can help you – or hurt you – while you’re behind the wheel.

Kindly contributed by Ari Rush.

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