In an age when debit cards trump carrying cash and your smartphone houses your address book, email, daily news and photo album, having anything on paper is nearly obsolete. So it’s not surprising that insurance providers are jumping on the paperless bandwagon.
When a police officer pulls you over about that burned out headlight in almost any state, you’re able to show electronic proof of insurance, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
What is electronic proof of insurance?
When an officer approaches your car and says, “I need to see your license, registration and proof of insurance,” you can hand over paper copies of the first two and use your phone to provide the third. You can provide this electronic proof of insurance in a number of ways, including via screenshot, downloaded PDF or your insurance provider’s smartphone app.
Just five years ago, showing proof of insurance digitally wasn’t allowed in any state, according to the PCI. Now, when you see red and blue flashing lights in your rearview, you don’t have to wonder if you remembered to switch out your old insurance cards with the new. Having them on your phone means always having them at your fingertips.
What if I can’t provide proof of insurance?
Failing to provide proof of insurance isn’t a crime in the same vein as driving without insurance. If you possess but fail to provide proof of insurance , typically you’ll be issued a ticket that may get dismissed when you appear in court and show your proof to the judge. However, driving sans insurance or proof of financial responsibility is punishable by fine, suspension of your license and/or car’s registration and/or jail time, depending on the state where you’re driving.
And if you think you can fake proof of insurance by doctoring a card or policy, think again. The act is a crime resulting in hefty fines and/or time behind bars, contingent upon your home state.
Get ahead of the curve
Talk to your insurance agent about getting your policy on your phone to avoid the headache of getting pulled over either with an outdated insurance card or without one altogether, which could lead to a ticket and trip to the courthouse.
These days, no one goes anywhere without their phones, so having electronic proof of insurance will mean that it’s always in your back pocket.
And as always, if you have your phone in the car with you, absolutely no texting while driving!