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Tokio Marine to cover accidents in self-driving cars

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance will provide free coverage for accidents involving self-driving cars.

TOKYO -- Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance will become the first Japanese company to provide insurance against auto accidents involving self-driving vehicles, aiming to avoid long waits for compensation as well as tackle a looming market shift.

Self-driving technology is categorized in levels, with level 1 encompassing automated systems controlling acceleration, deceleration or steering and level 2 involving two or three of such operations, as with Nissan Motor's Serena Minivan and Tesla Motors' Model S. While level 3 vehicles -- which require driver input only in emergencies -- are not on the market yet, the Tokio Marine Holdings unit plans to offer insurance up to this point. Policyholders will receive the coverage free of charge starting next April.

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