Electronic Car Insurance Proof Bill Advances in California

Unanimous approval last week from lawmakers in a California committee advanced a bill to allow electronic copies of insurance cards displayed on smartphones to be accepted as proof of coverage, as the Golden State gears up to be the next in a long line of states allowing electronic means of proving financial responsibility.

The proposal from Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), titled AB 1708, was sent by a 13-0 vote in the Assembly Insurance Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

With most insurers now providing proof of coverage through mobile-phone-compatible and commonly used formats like PDF when consumers buy cheap insurance in California, legislators said they want all drivers to have a way to show authorities evidence of a policy.

“[T]his measure would provide greater convenience to motorists by adapting the law to the increasingly common use of cell phones in business transactions and everyday life,” legislators stated in the bill’s legislative summary, highlighting the “developing trend” in other states.

In late March, Idaho became the first state to enact a law allowing mobile phones to be used as way to prove coverage after Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter approved a bill that moved easily through the state Legislature. That same day, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer put her signature on a similar bill there.

Other pieces of legislation enabling electronic means of proof are already on the books in other states while others are considering bills that would do so:

– Alabama: Starting January 2013, motorists will be able to display electronic proof during both traffic stops and the vehicle registration process.

– Colorado: Motorists can already show electronic proof of a policy during the vehicle registration process.

– Louisiana: Representatives in the state House are scheduled to consider HB 1130 this week.

The bill would also establish legitimacy for electronic registration documents, which would cut state administrative costs, according to Gatto.

“[A]nybody under the age of 60 would probably opt into this—and that could save the DMV a significant amount of money when it comes to both printing and mailing registration forms,” Gatto said last week in an interview with Capital Public Radio.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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