Land, Sea, or Sky: Car Insurance is a Must

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Various models of amphibious vehicles exist and require car insurance
  • Flying cars may become a reality soon and will require even more challenging coverage
  • International companies are competing to develop a car powered by a compressed air system

Creative minds in the auto industry have been reaching into the deepest recesses of their imaginations ever since the first car was born. They are always searching for a new design that can revolutionize human transportation.

One of the areas these imaginative minds have been developing is a multi-use vehicle for more than one medium, whether water or land.

Car insurance, however, remains a requirement.

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Out of Thin Air: Car Insurance for the Water

Insurance companies used to write one policy for your car and a separate policy for your boat. But the introduction of Hanns Trippel’s Amphicar to the American market in the 1960s changed all that.

The Amphicar was the first civilian amphibious vehicle that could be driven down the beach, across the lake, and back out the other side.

Out of thin air, car insurance companies now had to produce a new kind of policy for an area that had previously been uncharted waters. Was it a car? Yes. Was it a boat? Yes. It was an Amphicar that had to be insured as both vehicles.

The Amphicar was by no means the first amphibious vehicle. In fact, designs for such vehicles had been in the works since the early 1900s. Amphibious vehicles were used extensively during WWI as well.

But prior to the post-war era, none of these vehicles were used outside of military service, so insurance policies were not necessary. The Amphicar changed that.

Although the hopes of an amphibious vehicle craze never came to fruition, various models of these cars are still in production. And though insurance companies are no longer pulling policies out of thin air, car insurance for amphibious vehicles still needs to be creative.

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In the Air: Car Insurance Covers a New Breed of Vehicle

The phrase “air car” conjures up images of George Jetson flying off to work every day in his bubble-shaped vehicle. An air car is a vehicle that can both fly through the air and drive on the land.

While this idea seems far-fetched, eccentric inventors have been working on this for decades. Milner Motors is just one company on the verge of making the dream of a flying car a reality.

Insuring one of these vehicles may be even more challenging than insuring the Amphicar.

While personal aircraft is a lot safer than it used to be, altitude and speed still make accidents more serious. Car insurance companies are probably terrified of the risk potential at the thought of drivers being able to launch off into the air.

Powered by Air: Car Insurance Covers a New Street Vehicle

asphalt road in Tuscany, Italy

Milner’s flying car aside, there is another kind of air car already turning heads on European streets. It is a vehicle powered by a combination of compressed air and combustible fuel. The engine itself runs totally on air while bio or fossil fuels run a compressor at higher speeds to boost performance and recharge the air tanks.

MDI of France earned certification from the European Union in 2010 to bring their air cars to market.

Insurance for MDI cars and those of similar manufacturers like India’s Tata Motors, Spain’s Air Car Factories SA, and Australia’s Engineair shouldn’t be all that different than what’s provided for a gasoline powered auto.

Whether a motor is powered by gas or air, car insurance is designed to cover the damage resulting from an accident.

There’s nothing inherently more dangerous about the air car that would make it more complicated to insure than a regular car.

Air car insurance may end up being a bit more costly, though. In order to maximize efficiency, these cars are being built with lightweight materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber materials.

They are more costly to repair and offer less protection than steel — two factors that play a huge role in determining insurance rates.

While none of the air car makers are yet in commercial production, they are slowly but surely silencing the critics who claimed a compressed air car is not practically feasible.

While it’s true that MDI’s compressed air engine has some efficiency barriers to overcome, Australian company Engineair seems to have solved those issues with a new and patented engine design.

They are already producing their engine for limited commercial applications and may be the first to actually get a car to market.

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