Tesla has decided to go into the auto insurance business

Tesla Model S
Tesla just opened a new profit center. Because the configuration and upgrade complexities of Tesla’s all-electric vehicles don’t seem to fit conventional insurance plans, Tesla has now entered the car insurance business, according to Electrek.

The InsureMyTesla program will be available for Tesla vehicles only. At first, the insurance is going to be offered to Tesla owners in Australia and Hong Kong. In each country, Tesla is partnering with larger, traditional insurance companies that will underwrite the InsureMyTesla policies. In Australia, Tesla is partnering with QBE Insurance and in Hong Kong the underwriter is AXA General Insurance.

In the past, Tesla owners who have checked their policies have at times discovered they were being charged for vehicles with power and trim levels that differed from what they actually owned. Owners charged for greater levels would be paying too much money, while those charged for incorrectly lower levels wouldn’t have the coverage they needed.

Tesla’s software-upgradeable features also apparently don’t fit into current insurance templates. For example, if you buy a Tesla Model S 60 with a 60kWh battery, the actual battery capacity in the car is 75kWh but it’s not accessible without an upgrade. You can turn it on by paying $9,000 for an upgrade, but a conventional insurer would have no way of knowing about the change. Autopilot can also be turned on at a later time by paying for an upgrade, which some insurers might view either more or less favorably depending on their understanding, experience, and underwriting policies for driver assistance features.

The InsureMyTesla plan has several unique features. If a totaled vehicle is less than 36 months old, insured owners would get a new vehicle of the same model and series. Tesla Home Wall connector damage is covered. Owners can choose any authorized Tesla repair facility for fix damaged vehicles. The car is also insured for any driver.

According to Electrek, Australia Tesla owners have been offered InsureMyTesla plans priced starting at $900 a year.

The insurance industry in general, government regulators, and the automotive industry all expect that once self-driving cars become common the numbers of crashes and fatalities will be slashed. Driver error figures in 90 percent of all accidents today, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

We’re a few years off from seeing level 4 (mostly self-driving) and level 5 (totally self-driving) vehicles, but when they become common, insurance companies will need to make many adjustments. It makes sense for Tesla to get involved with car insurance as it strives to be a total mobility and energy solution.

Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: S10 rumors, computer shoes, and the best products of 2018

On episode 35 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Nick Mokey discuss the revival of Puma's computer shoe, the possibility of a Tesla Truck, and DT's favorite products of the year.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.