Car Industry

Survey: 40 percent would switch car insurance for 'autonomous discount'

People are less loyal to their auto insurance companies than you might think, according to a J.D. Power survey.

Mike Cutler/MHCPhotography

The advent of self-driving cars is something that gets a lot of ink here at Roadshow. It's become an increasingly important area of development for most manufacturers, and most new cars have at least one or two advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) features that stem (at least in part) from that research. What we don't often talk about is how self-driving cars could affect the auto insurance industry.

The advent of self-driving cars will likely have a profound effect on the insurance industry, but what does that mean for consumers?

Mike Cutler/MHCPhotography

Market research company J.D. Power was curious about how ADAS and autonomous car technology could affect insurance premiums, and specifically, how consumers feel about the subject, so it launched one of its Power Pulse surveys to investigate. The results of that survey are interesting. For example, while 22 percent of those surveyed say they will consider a "highly automated" vehicle for their next purchase, 40 percent of those polled would switch car insurance companies if those companies offered an "autonomous discount."

Further, while insurance isn't people's primary reason for wanting to switch to a car with more ADAS features, it does rank as third in the reasons people gave, with the other two being a lower risk of accidents and reduced driving stress.

What the survey doesn't talk about is the possible effect that autonomous cars would have on prices for insurance for non-autonomous vehicles. Will the widespread adoption of self-driving cars drive insurance premiums on old-fashioned vehicles like motorcycles or classic cars through the roof, essentially killing them off? 

We sure hope not.