Nov 11, 2018

For today's cars, more safety means higher insurance costs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Normally, making something safer means reducing the amount of money you need to pay to insure it. But that's not the case with today's autos.

The big picture: As cars evolve from being mostly mechanical to being computers on wheels, they become increasingly fragile, especially around the periphery. A CPU can sit safely in the center of the vehicle, but the sensors can't.

  • Chips and dents aren't cosmetic any more. They can easily push sensors out of alignment, or even break them entirely.
  • Repair bills have doubled as a result, according to AAA.
  • A windshield is no longer just a windshield. Today, it can house sensors for automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems. That's h0w a $200 windshield repair becomes $1,500 or more.
  • In the age of distracted driving, the most common collision is when the car behind you hits your rear bumper at low speed. That could cost $3,500 to repair if the ultrasonic system for parking assistance is damaged as well as rear radar sensors used for blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alerting. And that's if you can find a mechanic qualified to make such repairs.

The bottom line: Modern cars, equipped with modern electronics, are genuinely safer. They save lives and could prevent millions of injuries. But insurance doesn't just cover damage to humans. It covers damage to cars, too, and those costs are only going up.

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House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health