Smart to use phone for proof of insurance

September 4, 2013

Electronic images of ID cards for Missouri drivers now being accepted

  POSTAGE  by Rob Stamp

Now that proof of car insurance can be produced electronically, it seems now that taking care of your business in the bathroom is the last thing not to have gone paperless.

Missourians can now go paperless when showing proof that they have auto insurance under a law that took effect Aug. 28. Consumers now have the choice to display their insurance identification card in a paper or electronic format, such as on a smartphone or other portable electronic device.

“Consumers are becoming more dependent on storing their important information on their smartphones or tablets for easier access,” said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. “This law gives consumers the choice of utilizing today’s technology when showing proof of auto insurance.”

Insurance companies across the country have been providing their policyholders with smartphone apps for nearly four years. Prior to the bill’s signing, Missourians had to keep paper auto insurance cards to show proof of insurance when registering their motor vehicles or when stopped by law enforcement officials. Now, a driver only has to flash the cellphone they had their nose stuck in while waiting in line that whole time at the DMV.

Missouri becomes one of more than two dozen states that have passed similar legislation. California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Alabama and Arizona passed laws in 2012 for electronically showing proof of auto insurance. If the digital age was unable to bypass Louisiana and Alabama, then it sure wasn’t going to leave behind the Show-Me State.

House Bill 322, which was signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon, also gives Missouri consumers the choice to have insurance policies sent to them electronically. That could prove pretty useful later and may be a lot easier to retrieve than a paper booklet stored away in some dark corner of a basement.

Huff said consumers will benefit from having electronic copies of their policies that can be easily saved and maintained on a computer flash drive or electronic device. Paper policies still can be mailed to consumers at no extra cost and all but a few of them still are. More and more insurance companies offer the electronic option that may make those reading glasses or magnifying glass become obsolete when combing through all that fine print.

It isn’t often when the insurance industry seems to be in synch with the times. Keep a picture of your ID card on your phone to help celebrate the occasion.