Voyage Auto Insurance Review (2020)
Voyage is a young company with bold practices, currently only operating in Florida and California. LinkedIn rated them the #35 Top Start-up in 2019.
Autonomous cars are a thing of the future to many, a dream of sitting in a car on the way to work, reading a book while a car does its own thing.
However, there is one company that is already making this dream a reality. It’s called Voyage.
Voyage is a little bit of a newcomer to the block. Having been around only two years with a small amount of funding compared to others, it would be easy to dismiss it.
But it is making strides in an area that even the heavyweights are not. Who is this company and what do you need to know about them?
You may have found in your research about autonomous cars that there is a lot of information. From news articles to listicles, writers cover all aspects of autonomous cars, and it can be overwhelming.
You may not know which information to turn to, given the thousands of articles to choose from. It may give you a headache. We understand and have got you covered. We know this is a fascinating subject and if you’re on this page, you want to learn more.
In this guide, you’ll learn about Voyage’s ratings, its history, what its employees think about it, and what kind of car insurance these self-driving cars need.
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Voyage Auto Insurance Rates
We know Voyage isn’t a car insurance company. So why are we talking about insurance, then?
It’s simple. Although Voyage itself doesn’t sell car insurance, car insurance plays an important role in Voyage’s products, as it does for all autonomous vehicles.
After all, what happens if an autonomous car breaks down? Worse, if it crashes and someone gets injured?
While the law is a little fuzzy and constantly evolving in these regards, there are some specifics in the states and situations where Voyage operates.
Sometimes, deals had to be cut and the states’ legal requirements always have to be met. For a quick glimpse into insurance for Voyage, let’s take a look at California auto insurance and Florida auto insurance, the two states in which Voyage operates.
Voyage Availability & Rates by State
As of this writing, Voyage operates solely in Florida and California in two retirement communities, one of which is one of the largest in the world, according to VentureBeat.
Those are The Villages, San Jose, and The Villages, Florida. In each of The Villages, Voyages provides a fleet of vehicles to take retirees from place to place.
Some of these were Ford Fusions, but upon feedback from residents, some were upgraded to the larger Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.
The change might be related to its size and the need to fulfill the demands of customers, like wanting to bring more passengers along or have room for equipment like golf clubs.
According to GPS World, Justin Erlich, the vice president of strategy, policy, and legal for Voyage, said retirement communities were a great fit for autonomous vehicles.
“Autonomous vehicles are a great fit for any community where the environment is well-understood, less complex than dense urban areas, and the transportation demand is high. Retirement communities satisfy all of these characteristics.”
Retirement communities offer a more controlled environment, particularly where speeds are low. And as a former board president of The Villages, San Jose, Bill Devincenzi said to the New York Times, “The driverless car would be far less risky than the drivers that we currently have.”
But, even within controlled environments, there is still the possibility of accidents.
In that case, who is responsible, and for how much? The answer might seem like Voyage on the surface, but Voyage doesn’t write insurance. In the case of this issue, it ran into a hurdle.
After being turned down by many of the major insurance companies in America, it turned to German insurer Munich Re, which agreed to write Voyage’s insurance policies, but not without a caveat.
It wanted Voyage’s data. Voyage agreed.
So, how much are the insurance policies for? It’s not public knowledge, though The Villages, San Jose, wanted 50 percent more than the general state requirements for commercial liability.
Using this as an example, we can take a look at the commercial liability requirements in both California and Florida to come up with a general gist of the coverage limits on those policies.
In both cases, it appears that Voyage’s vehicles would be categorized as commercial vehicles under the California and Florida codes. Each would have been transporting less than seven passengers.
In California, the different types of auto insurance coverage such as bodily and property damage liability insurance would need to be at least $750,000. Because The Villages, San Jose, wanted 50 percent more than that, the coverage would have been $1,125,000.
In Florida, the bodily and property damage liability insurance coverage limits are much lower. The basic limits for commercial vehicles are $100,000/$300,000/$50,000.
That is $100,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $300,000 for the bodily injury or death per accident, and $50,000 for property damage per accident.
If The Villages, Florida, wanted 50 percent more insurance like The Villages, San Jose, Voyage would have needed coverage limits of $150,000, $450,000, and $75,000.
Those are the basic commercial coverage limits, though they may vary, as insuring for commercial vehicles might be less than insuring for autonomous vehicles, even if there is a safety driver inside.
When it comes to insurance, Voyage is thinking bigger. Voyage is partnered with Intact Financial, the largest property-casualty insurance company in Canada. The goal is to create a new kind of insurance for self-driving vehicles.
The general gist so far is to have insurance that changes depending on the context. On its blog, MacCallister Higgins of Voyage writes, “What if insurance premiums could be adjusted in real-time as we drove, taking into account environmental factors? Insurance premiums could be adjusted dynamically — automatically lowering when driving in an empty parking lot, and readjusting on a busy street with pedestrians.”
The idea is to use machine learning to calculate risks in the environment and raise or lower premiums accordingly.
The invention of self-driving cars will be the largest car insurance industry disrupter in some time, according to KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms. And some states allow them, while others don’t.
Voyage’s Rating Agency
Ratings are important for a company. The right rating can boost a company’s stature in an industry, give it more credibility, and give it more leverage for funding purposes.
So what are Voyage’s ratings?
There are no financial ratings available for Voyage, likely because it is such a small company and fairly new. However, it is ranked on one list, one for companies making self-driving cars.
That list comes from Navigant Research, which has done, at least since 2015, a list for the best companies chasing that elusive dream for autonomous vehicles.
It ranks the companies on the list using 10 criteria.
- Go-to market strategy
- Production strategy
- Marketing and distribution
- Product capability
- Product quality and reliability
- Product portfolio
- Staying power
Voyage ranks 18th in a group of challengers that include Tesla and Apple. Some outlets say that Voyage is gunning for Uber, which has a strong presence in one of the markets Voyage is pursuing.
Overall, not bad for a company that is just two years old and new to the game.
It started with a bunch of autonomous vehicle programmers in an elite school called Udacity. Udacity was (and still is) a bit of a training ground where programmers of self-driving cars can learn more about the craft.
Six months into the school’s opening and part of the way into 2017, a group of programmers led by Udacity Vice President Oliver Cameron spun off to create their own company.
That’s how Voyage was born.
That was during the summer of 2017. Since then, it has grown from a starting team of programmers to about 55 employees, including branches of legal policy and communications.
It has made big moves in development and hiring,
Voyage has brought in Drew Gray as Chief Technology Officer and David Bacchet as the new Director of Autonomy, according to FreightWaves. Both have experience with major autonomous vehicle companies like Uber, Tesla, and Apple SPG.
Its growth and progress have been large. But what is its position for the future? And what do its employees think about it?
Voyage’s Position for the Future
Autonomous vehicle companies thrive off three things.
- Development of technology
In this case, we’ll start with funding.
According to The Robot Report, Voyage raised $31 million in Series B funding for their autonomous vehicles. This brings its overall total to $51.2 million.
The Robot Report writes, “Franklin Templeton Investments led the round, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Jaguar Land-Rover’s InMotion Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures…”
This may seem like a lot. However, Uber, a main competitor of Voyage, announced in April that it had raised $1 billion for its driverless car business.
This kind of funding gap can be seen in terms of the number of employees, the funding for more research, and more technical advancements. Voyage’s market position may suffer from that.
The development of technology can be seen in terms of the advancement of cars. Voyage Auto lists three components of advancement in the technology section of its website.
- 360-degree vision
- Predictive models
- Safety features
While it’s certain that other companies use real-world situations to develop the algorithms and predictive models, Voyage has the advantage (as we’ll see) of actually having cars in the field.
Because Voyage is already using its vehicles to serve a customer base, the company, through its cars, can develop and glean issues in real-life situations.
According to Allied Market Research, the autonomous car industry is worth $54 billion in 2019 and is projected to become a $557 billion industry by 2026.
It makes sense that as the closer we get to a breakthrough, the more money would pour in, as it’s a race to get the first autonomous car out there.
Will Voyage be the one? With technology, there’s no certainty. There are some positive signs, but that funding gap will make things difficult, at least for the moment.
Voyage’s Online Presence
Voyage, like other companies, has social media accounts and a website to promote itself.
It doesn’t have a YouTube channel, which is somewhat surprising given its subject matter.
Voyage doesn’t have any commercials, though there are some videos about it, including its technology and a video of a talk from its CEO.
Oliver Cameron talk:
Often, the culture of a company helps determine whether you want to go with them. This is the case with products like clothes, food, cell phones, or car insurance companies. Voyage has won one award as of this date, with its role as a start-up.
|Year of Award||Award|
|2019||LinkedIn's Top Start-Ups (#35 out of 50)|
LinkedIn writes about Voyage, “Self-driving startup Voyage has recruited some of the industry’s brightest, many who have tackled similar problems at companies such as Apple, Uber, Cruise, NIO, and Tesla.”
There were 13 reviews of Voyage on Glassdoor.
|Recommend to a Friend||70%|
|Approve of CEO||70%|
One reviewer wrote they’d been there for a year “and it’s been a refreshing opportunity with tons of growth ever since I joined.”
Another reviewer writes, “The company values career development. Managers know the employee’s career goals and help them achieve these goals. I’ve seen a few meaningful promotions in my time here.”
Overall, very high marks.
Design of Website
Voyage is a company of programmers and tech-people, so it’d make sense that its website would be clean, and it does not disappoint. It’s a new-wave website with more sections during the scroll down.
The images are high quality and the text is pleasing. The sections inform customers or the public of what it does.
Let’s take a tour.
When you type in voyage.auto, the website address, it pulls up this screen.
Clean font, good color pattern, and a picture of (assuming) one of its retirement communities.
Click on the technology heading and this is what pulls up.
If you pull it down, it reveals more categories (there are four in all).
Next, if you click on its communities heading, it brings up the two communities in which Voyage deploys cars.
Lastly, clicking on the careers page pulls up their pitch to developers and programmers to apply for open positions with Voyage.
How easily can you find answers?
There’s not a search bar, but the categories have plenty of information, with pages and sub-pages linking to technological data, communities, or careers.
It’s a small company but it has plenty of information out there.
Is the design a plus or minus?
Overall, it’s a very pleasing design, with good colors and font, and it’s easy to navigate as well. It’s a new-wave site, which means the scroll down features reveal new categories that stretch across the page.
Pros & Cons
|May have flexibility due to its small size||Limited programming research due to small size|
|Workers have plenty of experience through Udacity||Still a very young company|
|Was named a Challenger in Navigant Research's rankings||Funding is very far behind compared to the Ubers and Teslas|
The Bottom Line
Voyage is a young company. It was founded in 2017, spun off from a driverless car programming school in Audacity. It has some heavy hitters in terms of programmers and some backing from companies.
It also is one of the few autonomous car companies to put its work into the field. Its experience in the two retirement homes gives it feedback that can be used to quickly develop better models and algorithms.
However, it is well behind in funding compared to Uber and Tesla and others. This can pose a challenge when it comes to hiring new programmers or staff members.
Ultimately, it is a good company with bolder business practices than some others, but it lacks the funding to currently challenge some of the top or mid-level companies.
Maybe that will change.
Voyage General FAQs
How much funding has this organization raised over time?
$51.2 million in two rounds of funding. Its second round (Series B) funding had heavy hitters like Franklin Templeton, Khosla Ventures, Jaguar, and Chevron.
Which funding types have raised the most money?
So far, Voyage has had two rounds of funding. Series A raised about $20 million and Series B has raised around $31 million. There’s no information available as to whether Voyage received angel funding.
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