California allows electronic proof of car insurance

John Egan

California has entered the high-tech era when it comes to proving you've got car insurance.

On Sept. 7, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that lets drivers show proof of insurance on smartphones and other portable electronic devices. California now is the seventh state to allow drivers to give proof of insurance using mobile devices. Under the California law, electronic proof of insurance isn't required; motorists still can use proof-of-insurance cards that they keep in their wallets or glove compartments.

"Electronic proof of coverage is the wave of the future, given how prevalent smartphones have become. Policyholders want to go 'green,' but without a change in the law, insurers are still required to send paper ID cards to each customer," Alex Hageli, director of personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America trade group, says in a news release.

Other states that have authorized electronic proof of insurance are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana and Minnesota. In March 2012, Idaho became the first state to allow electronic proof of insurance.

"Several insurers already offer apps or will email copies of policies to consumers. Hopefully more states will follow in California's footsteps in 2013 and modernize their proof-of-coverage laws," Hageli says.

The California bill was authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Los Angeles Democrat.

“This legislation falls into the category of making people’s lives easier by embracing technology in order to eliminate one of life’s small hassles," Gatto says in a news release, "and it brings laws dealing with possessing and presenting proof of auto insurance into the electronic age.”

Kelly Campbell, vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, says that without electronic proof-of-coverage laws, insurers are required to send paper ID cards.

“Paper cards are not always what consumers want. More policyholders want a truly paperless policy,” Campbell says.

 

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