Tesla heads down new road with car insurance in California

Michael Liedtke and Tom Krisher, The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla owners in California can now buy insurance from the electric car company in what may be the first step toward the unconventional automaker providing coverage for a fleet of driverless taxis.

The expansion announced Wednesday comes four months after Tesla CEO Elon Musk told analysts the company would branch into insuring its own cars for people who buy or lease them.

Musk believes Tesla has learned so much about its cars that it will be able to offer rates 20% to 30% below those offered by traditional insurers. That will likely to appeal to Tesla owners who have been complaining about being charged too much for coverage.

Although the insurance is only being sold in California to start, Tesla plans to offer coverage throughout the U.S. at a later undisclosed state.

The policies will only be for personal usage of the Tesla cars, but the Palo Alto, California, company also wants to eventually offer commercial policies.

It’s a move Tesla may have to take if Musk is to deliver on his promise to begin selling Tesla vehicles capable of navigating roads without a driver behind the wheel within the next 16 months. Self-driving car experts believe that is unlikely to happen, but Musk has promised to have a fleet of robotic Teslas operating as part of a ride-hailing service by the end of next year.

To make that vision a reality, the driverless cars will need commercial insurance — something no company but Tesla may be willing to provide, given it probably will be exploring uncharted territory if it’s able to dispatch fully autonomous vehicles to pick up passengers.

Selling insurance will also provide Tesla with another source of revenue as it tries to prove it can consistently make money. The company was profitable during the last half of last year — the longest stretch of prosperity in its history — but has lost another $1.1 billion during the first half of this year. Those losses could rise even higher if Tesla miscalculates the risks of selling auto insurance.

Tesla’s disappointing financial performance and escalating doubts about its future prospects have caused its stock to plunge 35% so far this year.

Tesla believes it has learned so much about the technology, safety and repair costs of its cars that it will be able to figure out the proper prices to charge for each policy. Its electric cars are equipped with so many sensors that the company could theoretically monitor whether the drivers are prone to chronic speeding or habitually engaging in other risky behaviour, but Tesla says it won’t do that.

ICBC: Last long weekend of summer could spell 2,200 crashes on B.C. roads

ICBC: Last long weekend of summer could spell 2,200 crashes on B.C. roads

Whether you’ll be driving a car or riding a motorcycle over the long weekend, ICBC is asking you to share the road and do your part to drive smart.

Every Labour Day long weekend, approximately five people die and 610 people are injured in 2,200 crashes across the province.*

On highways, expect to see many RVs, motorcyclists and trucks. If you’re staying in town, expect more pedestrians and cyclists on the road. The key to sharing the road safely is to stay focused on driving and look out for the road users around you. Avoid distractions which will take your eyes off the road and your mind off driving.

ICBC’s drive smart tips for sharing the road:

  • You can only see motorcycles when you really look for them so make a game of it. Ask every passenger to guess how many motorcycles you’ll see during the drive and then count them as you travel. Leave plenty of space when passing a motorcycle and allow at least three seconds of following distance.

  • Crashes with trucks and RVs are usually much more serious due to their sheer size and weight. Keep clear of their blind spots – when following, you should be able to see both mirrors of the RV or truck in front of you. If you’re behind a slow moving RV or truck climbing up a hill, leave extra space and be patient as they’re probably trying their best to keep up with the flow of traffic.

  • Most crashes with cyclists and pedestrians happen at intersections so always look for them – especially before turning. Make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.

  • Check road conditions at drivebc.ca before you leave. Be realistic about travel times and accept delays that may arise. Don’t rush to make up time – slow down to reduce your risk of crashing and arrive at your destination safely. You also save fuel by driving at a safe and steady speed.

Statistics:

  • Over Labour Day weekend, on Vancouver Island, on average, 71 people are injured in 320 crashes every year.

  • Over Labour Day weekend, in the Southern Interior, on average, 77 people are injured in 330 crashes every year.

  • Over Labour Day weekend, in the North Central region, on average, 19 people are injured in 120 crashes every year.

  • Over Labour Day weekend, in the Lower Mainland, on average, 440 people are injured in 1,400 crashes every year.

*Based on five-year averages. Crash and injury data is based on ICBC data (2014 to 2018). Fatal data is based on police data (2013 to 2017). Labour Day long weekend is calculated from 18:00 hours the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

Big, possibly expensive, changes to ICBC coming in September

The excerpted article was written by Rob Munro | info news.ca

You’re going to want to look closely at your auto insurance before Sept. 1 — changes at ICBC could mean much higher rates or possibly lower.

The provincial auto insurer is bringing in what it calls a ‘new culture’ of rates but if you have young drivers or people with a checkered driving history it might be worth cancelling your insurance and re-upping before Sept. 1.

One tipster to iNFOnews.ca said her family saved more than $800 insuring an underage driver with a clean driving record by avoiding a renewal due after the Sept. 1 changes. They cancelled their insurance and got a new agreement under the current scheme.

ICBC couldn’t explain that exact situation but said changes are coming. It all depends not only on your driving record but also on the records of all other regular drivers of your car – meaning they drive it 12 days a year or more.

“One of the big cultural changes here is that we’re asking customers to list drivers so that, on many policies, there will be many drivers,” Tyler McGilvery, Business Process Advisor for ICBC explained to iNFOnews.ca. “When you list additional drivers, 75 per cent of the premium calculation is going to be based on the driving record of the principal driver. Then, out of the drivers that are listed, the other driver that’s considered the highest risk would represent the other 25 per cent of that calculation.”

If you have a new driver, someone who has caused accidents or received tickets who will regularly drive your car, you will likely pay significantly more for insurance this year.

One way to avoid that hit would be to renew your insurance before Sept. 1 under the current system.

If your policy expires after Sept. 1, you could cancel it and renew under the old system, but you would be gambling that the fees charged for doing that – including having to buy a new licence plate – would be more than eating the higher premium.

And there is no way to calculate what the saving will be if your insurance doesn’t expire until mid-October.

ICBC sends out renewal notices 44 days before a policy expires. Until that happens, the new rates are not accessible by insurance agents so you can’t compare rates in advance. Your only option would be to cancel and renew your existig policy and hope it will save you money over the new rates.

There are a number of changes in the “culture” of how rates are calculated.

Not only will all regular drivers have to be listed, but there is no easy way to calculate how much a new driver will cost you each year.

Currently, vehicle insurance goes down five per cent for each year of driving to a maximum of 43 per cent.

Now, McGilvery said, the rates will take 40 years to go down that low but there is no set scale so no easy way to determine how much less a young driver will cost each year.

While the focus will be on insuring the driver, not the vehicle, there are also discounts for vehicles that are driven less than 5,000 km per year and/or have special braking systems.

Also new for this year is the fact that the premium is not going to be listed on the renewal form that’s mailed out. That can’t be calculated until the list of drivers is submitted. In future years, the premium will be included on the renewal form based on the previous year’s list.

People can be added or subtracted from that list at any time and at no cost.

So far, 55 per cent of those renewing early and paying the new rates have saved an average of $200 over last year’s rates, despite a 6.3 per cent increase going into effect in April, McGilvery said.

Another 15 per cent have increases of less than 6.3 per cent while the rest (30 per cent) have seen increases averaging $200 per year.

The idea is for bad drivers to pay more for the crashes they cause, McGilvery said.

Source: info news.ca

Ontario: Overview Of The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund

Article by Gabriel Lessard

A person injured in a motor vehicle collision in Ontario can submit a claim for accident benefits, Ontario’s system of no-fault insurance, and, if the collision is someone else’s fault, can sue the other driver for negligence (a tort claim). In both circumstances, the injured victim will primarily be dealing with insurance companies who are obligated to respond to the claims on behalf of their policyholders.

Sometimes it can be confusing to know whose insurance company is responsible for responding to an injured person’s accident benefits claim or tort claim. In Ontario, all licensed vehicles require insurance, so the majority of car accident victims will have some source of insurance either from their own insurance company or the other driver’s.

Typically, an injured victim will turn to their own car insurance policy for accident benefits (if they have one) and pursue the at-fault driver’s insurance for their tort claim. However, many potential factors can impact which insurance company will respond.

Certain circumstances arise where there is no insurance company to respond to a claim. A common example is a pedestrian or cyclist who is involved in a hit and run or struck by an uninsured vehicle.

In a situation where there is no insurance company to respond to an accident benefits claim or a tort claim, injured parties can turn to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). The MVACF was set up by the Ontario Government, as a safety net for victims in need of treatment and compensations for their injuries. The MVACF is considered the payor of last resort, which means that the individual must have exhausted all other potential sources of insurance before the MVACF will consider responding to their claims.

When must the MVACF respond in an Accident Benefits Claim

Section 268 (2) of Ontario’sInsurance Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. I.8) outlines the priority list of insurance companies who must respond to an accident benefits claim before the MVAC. A summary of the priority list for accident benefits claims is:

  1. The insurance company that insures the victim;
  2. The insurance company of the vehicle that the victim was in or was struck by;
  3. Any other vehicle involved in the incident; or
  4. The MVACF

With respect to number 1, it does not matter if the victim was not in their own vehicle when the accident occurred. Furthermore, number 1 may be the priority insurer if the victim is married to, lives with, or is financially dependent on someone with car insurance, even if the victim does not have their own policy.

As the MVACF is last on the list, the victim must exhaust all other options before they can expect the MVACF to respond to their claim for accident benefits.

When must the MVACF respond in a Tort Claim?

If the at-fault party does not have liability insurance, then an injured victim may be able to turn to their own car insurance policy for compensation prior to pursuing MVACF. This is because most car insurance policies have uninsured and underinsured coverage which protect their own insureds (the victim) in circumstances where the at-fault driver’s policy limits are too low to provide the victim with adequate compensation, the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance or the identity of the at-fault driver is unknown.

The MVACF will respond to a tort claim on behalf of the at-fault party if there are no other insurance companies required to respond to the victim’s claim which includes their own insurance company. The maximum amount that the MVACF can pay out in a tort claim is $200,000.

Residency Requirement

Section 25 of theMotor Vehicle Accident Claims Act(R.S.O. 1990, c. M.41) outlines the requirement that an individual must be a resident of Ontario to benefit from the Fund. The act states:

The Minister shall not pay out of the Fund any amount in favour of a person who ordinarily resides in a jurisdiction outside Ontario unless that jurisdiction provides persons who ordinarily reside in Ontario with recourse of a substantially similar character to that provided by this Act.”

This requirement is particularly relevant to tourists travelling in Ontario who have not purchased any car insurance. The exception is that the MVACF may still respond if the jurisdiction where the individual resides (such as another province, state, or country), has a similar system to the MVACF.

Conclusion

Knowing which insurance company is responsible for responding to your claim can be confusing. If you were uninsured or hit by an unidentified driver, you may be able to pursue a claim through the MVACF. It is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible to help you understand your rights.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

New local agency offers more choice, savings and a better insurance experience

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A dashcam can offer an ‘unbiased witness’ in traffic-accident disputes

In a video taken through the windshield of Dung Le’s 15-year-old Toyota Echo, an oncoming car breaks the monotony of a wide, nearly empty street on a quiet August morning in a sprawling residential Edmonton neighbourhood.

As it approaches, the car leaves its lane as though turning into a driveway, then straightens and aims head-on at Le’s car. There’s a crashing noise, the dashcam is jolted upward to focus on empty blue sky and a man’s voice is heard saying, “What happened? What happened?”

Le, who is originally from Vietnam, said the footage from his dashcam made it easy when downloaded later on to show exactly what had just happened.

“Lucky I had the dashcam camera when that lady went from the other side into my lane and hit my car. My car is a total writeoff,” the 52-year-old man said in an interview.

“My shoulder and my neck are in pain, sore.”

Dashboard cameras, commonly used in police cars and other emergency vehicles, are increasingly being installed in personal vehicles by motorists who want to bring along an impartial witness when they hit the road.

Camera sales and installations at AutoTemp’s south Calgary vehicle accessories shop are equally split these days between business vehicles and personal cars, said manager Tim Bruce.

“For a category that didn’t exist 10 years ago, it’s becoming more and more popular,” he said.

The units sell for between $200 and $500, he said. Installation, which involves running wires to the camera for power and fixing it in place, takes two to four hours.

Generally, the more expensive units have the most options, Bruce said, including a second camera for the back window, higher resolution picture quality, larger storage cards, GPS for estimating speed and Wifi connectivity so that the video can be downloaded to a cellphone.

The cameras start operating automatically when the car starts and run continuously but some are also activated when the engine is off if they detect motion or an impact, such as when the car is struck by a vandal or another vehicle, he said.

The memory cards are overwritten as they fill, so the owner has to save a file separately if he or she wants to keep it.

Customers buy cameras for old and news cars alike but Bruce said many come in after they’ve been involved in an accident or an insurance dispute where they wish they had dashcam video.

Insurance companies in Canada don’t offer premium discounts for dashcams yet, said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for Ontario for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, but they might in future if they find the cameras reduce the risk of having to pay out a claim.

“Dashcams may, like GPS devices, be a distraction if they’re not properly used. So there’s that to be aware of and be concerned about,” he pointed out.

“On the other side of the coin, if someone is involved in a crash or they witness something, the good thing about having dashcam video is it really is an impartial and unbiased witness to the events.”

He recalled a case involving a collision on Highway 401 near Toronto where a vehicle stopped and then suddenly backed up and struck a following car. Typically, the driver of the following car would have been assumed to be at fault in what appeared to be a rear-end collision, but the dashcam video proved it was, in fact, a case of attempted fraud.

Le’s dashcam footage will make a huge difference in settling insurance and legal questions related to the case, said Edmonton personal injury lawyer Norm Assiff, who is representing Le.

Without the video, the other driver could claim Le was at fault, he said. An accident reconstruction after the fact might conclude both parties were somehow at fault and split liability.

In either case, his client could be on the hook for damages and face potential insurance rate hikes, Assiff said.

“In an injury case, which is my expertise, there are always two issues,” the lawyer said.

“The first issue is liability, who’s at fault? The second issue is quantum of damages, how much is the case worth, and causation, did the accident cause the injuries?”

From a legal perspective, there’s no privacy issue because the roadway is considered a public place, he said, adding courts typically consider dashcam video to be admissible as evidence.

Protection from dishonesty is the reason Dung Le bought his dashcam for about $69 from an Internet website about five years ago.

A friend of his who had been involved in an accident was confident the other party would be found liable, but a key witness then gave inaccurate testimony that led to the case going against him.

“A dashcam makes a lot more reliable witness,” Le summed up.

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