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Report predicts gradual effect of driverless cars on insurance

West Virginia residents may be familiar with some of the predictions that have been made about the future of auto insurance in an age of driverless cars. A 2016 Morgan Stanley report predicts a sudden decline for the industry, estimating that by 2040, it will contract to 20 percent of its current size. However, new research predicts a different outcome.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has published a report stating that while the nature of insurance premiums may change, driverless cars will actually open up sources of revenue for those companies that are quick to adapt. Individual drivers may not need insurance, but technologies companies and manufacturers probably will. Insurers could even provide cyber insurance to protect against cars getting hacked.

The recent string of fatal accidents involving semi-autonomous vehicles shows that insurance won't be going away. In addition, the costly nature of autonomous vehicle technology, which includes things like sensors and cameras, will raise the average cost of accidents.

Drivers may also choose to use autonomous features part of the time, such as when parking or driving in traffic. This creates a space where insurance companies can offer policies for both drivers and vehicles. It can be difficult, though, for companies to offer both.

People who cause an accident out of negligence may still be liable for the other person's medical expenses, vehicle damage, emotional trauma and other losses. Victims can file insurance claims and strive for a reasonable settlement covering these losses.

Victims may benefit from hiring a lawyer, as he or she could utilize a network of professionals to gather the necessary proof of negligence, including the police report, cell phone records and any eyewitness testimony. The lawyer might handle all negotiations as well, preventing the aggressive tactics of the insurance company from making the victim back down.

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