Being pulled over by the police for a moving violation is no fun, period. Being pulled over by the police and being unable to find proper proof of auto insurance is an even more miserable – and costly – experience.
On September 7, 2012, California drivers caught a break from this annoying situation when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1708 into law. AB 1708, brainchild of Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) allows drivers to use modern technology, such as smart phones or notebooks to show proof of auto insurance in lieu of the physical card issued by the insurance provider.
The law gives insurance providers the green light to send state-mandated proof of insurance in an electronic form if that is how customers prefer to receive it. Customers may also opt to receive their proof of insurance in paper form.
The law also instructs police that electronic proof of insurance is just as valid under the law as a paper document.
Gatto stated that the bill uses technology to make people’s lives a little easier. He pointed out that smart phones or notebooks are usually less difficult to locate than a small scrap of paper issues by the insurance company five or six months over. He said that the bill will spare many motorists who are pulled over the additional cost of citations for not being able to present proof of insurance.
Gatto also noted that it was fitting for this pioneering piece of legislation to originate in the state where the first iPad was designed.
As of September, 2012, California is the only state accepting electronic proof of insurance, but if the experiment works as well as they hope, other states are bound to follow in their footsteps.
This means that auto insurance companies throughout the United States should keep an eye on the benefits and costs of this legislation and work to bring their own technology up to speed so that they will be able to provide electronic proof of insurance.
If the laws in the other states change, a large number of customers, especially younger customers who have grown up with smart phones and other types of electronics, will most likely request that their proof of insurance be delivered electronically. When that happens, you want to be sure you have the capability to handle these requests.