New Delaware Law Turns On Electronic Proof of Car Insurance

State Farm smartphone app no textSmartphones at the ready, Delaware drivers.

The First State is the latest state in the U.S. to enact a law allowing drivers to show proof of auto insurance with an electronic device.

Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner Karen Stewart applauded the state Legislature’s bill, HB 258, which legalizes “acceptable electronic formats [that] include display of electronic images on a cellular phone or any other type of electronic device” and was signed into law last week by Gov. Jack Markell.

In other words, Delaware drivers will have more options than the hard-copy identification card from their car insurer; they can use their smartphone as proof of their Delaware car insurance. Several major insurers, like ProgressiveGEICO and State Farm, already offer a mobile app with services including an electronic ID card.

Stewart also said that she was “very pleased” with privacy-related provisions in the bill that, among other things, bars officers from searching a phone for anything unrelated to proof of auto coverage. Such provisions have been written into similar bills for several other states with electronic proof of car insurance.

According to trade group Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), Delaware is the 37th state in the nation to allow electronic proof of insurance.

“More and more people are using their mobile device to store important information and this allows insurers to keep up with consumer demands for increased electronic communication,” Oyango Snell, PCI’s regional manager, said in a statement.

Commissioner: Drivers Should Still Keep Hard-Copy ID Handy

Drivers, especially those who travel between states, shouldn’t change gears too quickly, according to Stewart.

With nearby states like New Jersey, New York and West Virginia still without a law allowing electronic proof of insurance, Stewart said that drivers “don’t want to be caught without the proper proof of insurance when traveling.”

“All drivers [should] still keep a physical copy of their current insurance ID card in their vehicle in case,” Stewart said in a statement.

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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