The first insurance for self-driving cars is available, but it is only available to riders in Waymo’s autonomous vehicles. Passengers in Waymo vehicles will be covered by a company called Trov.
Trov’s policy is unique because it covers the passenger and not the vehicle or its’ owner unlike traditional auto insurance, Gizmodo reported. People who ride in Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans will automatically be covered by a Trov policy.
The passengers will not even know that Trov is covering them. Trov offers what it calls on-demand insurance for your things. Interestingly enough, policyholders are able to turn Trov insurance on and off when they want. That is they can cancel coverage or restart it at any time.
Trov currently protects stuff like smartphones, appliances, video games, and musical instruments. The Waymo deal is apparently Trov’s first foray into liability coverage.
Driverless Autonomous Vehicles on the Road
Waymo is the self-driving vehicle startup owned by Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG).
Waymo needs insurance because it is testing fully autonomous vehicles in Phoenix without a safety driver, Gizmodo reported. Waymo is apparently planning to launch a taxi service using Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Phoenix.
It goes without saying that there is a huge potential market for such insurance coverage. In addition to autonomous vehicles, there will be a demand for such policies from ridesharing drivers and companies.
Potential customer’s for Trov’s passenger insurance include Uber, Lyft, BMW’s Reach Now Ride, General Motors’ Maven, car-rental companies, shuttle-bus operators, bus companies, and transit agencies.
Another fascinating market for passenger insurance would be the general public. Trov might sell such insurance directly to people leery of ridesharing and for employers to insure business travelers. An even more lucrative solution might be package insurance for delivery drivers or online retailers.
Expect to see the major auto insurance companies like Allstate (NYSE: ALL), Berkshire Hathaway’s GEICO, and Progressive enter this market soon. It might be more lucrative and far easier to manage than their current mass-market consumer products.