3D Printing And Its Impact On Car Insurance

3D printers have opened new doors in the automotive industry. From the production of vehicles to design and parts manufacturing, the automotive industry is set to benefit from the use of 3D printing technology. In addition to that, one industry that will also be impacted is auto insurance. As 3D printing offers so much transformation with manufacturing and production, the legal implications regarding product liability are still vague. However, 3D printing could also lead to more efficient claims processes as policyholders become capable of repairing and replacing their own broken or failed auto equipment. Machine Design reported that the consumption of 3D printing materials by the automotive industry would hit $530 million by 2021. Many auto conglomerates are now trading in seemingly outdated and traditional techniques of vehicle manufacture in favor of new, faster, and more cost-effective technology. Less expensive parts, efficient production, and stronger building materials will lead to less expensive cars, and less expensive cars cost less to insure. The world's biggest titanium 3D printed part is Bugatti's brake caliper for the Chiron hypercar. It is claimed that the 3D printed caliper is 40% stronger than a regular caliper currently fitted to all Chiron models.

Cost-Effective- 3D printing enables faster production of prototypes with shorter production cycles, allowing engineers to test different features of the final product, which often results in lower costs. For example, for a single component such as an engine manifold, developing and creating the prototype usually costs about $500,000 and takes about four months. However, using 3D printing, Ford developed multiple iterations of the component in just four days at the cost of $3,000.

Reduced Risk- If car parts prove to be stronger when printed, they will be less likely to get damaged. GM created a 3D printed seat bracket in partnership with Autodesk, which supposedly is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than its conventional brackets. Less risk of damage equals lower car insurance rates.

Repair &Spare Parts- In the event of severe damages, a 3D-printed car would have fewer parts than an average vehicle, and would likely cost less to repair. Cheaper repairs equal cheaper premiums. The German carmaker AUDI, used selective laser melting to manufacture both prototypes and also spare parts on demand.

Eco-Friendly- The most significant environmental benefit of 3D printing is its ability to reduce wastage and reducing carbon emissions. For customers, this could mean further reduction on insurance premiums.

Car Restoration- Vintage cars can now be revived with the help of 3D printing. Carmaker Porsche turned to 3D printing to produce unique parts required in small quantities. Especially in the case of small batch production of unavailable parts, like the clutch release lever on the classic Porsche 959, 3D printing can be used to analyze and produce new parts to restore a car that may have not been fixable through traditional methods. With 3D printing, automakers can laser scan their entire vehicle as an insurance policy in case of damage.