Idaho and Arizona are the first states to let drivers use smartphone technology to show proof of car insurance coverage when pulled over for traffic stops.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer each signed bills into law March 27. Motorists can use a smartphone application or a PDF copy saved on a phone to show proof of coverage, or they can show the traditional hard copy proof-of-insurance card.
The new laws help drivers who misplace their insurance cards avoid getting stuck with court dates or fix-it tickets.
All states except New Hampshire and Tennessee require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover other drivers in an accident, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
"We hope Arizona and Idaho are the beginning of a trend across the country so that more states will allow the choice to use electronic proof of coverage," said Kelly Campbell, PCI vice president, in a press statement. "Without these new laws, insurers will still be required to send paper ID cards. Paper cards are not always what consumers want. More policyholders want a truly paperless policy."
Other states are considering similar legislation:
- Alabama will soon publish a regulation that lets motorists electronically display proof of insurance at registration and during traffic stops starting Jan. 1, 2013.
- California Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced a bill allowing insurers to provide proof of insurance to a mobile electronic device.
- Colorado already lets motorists show proof of coverage electronically when they register their vehicles.
- Mississippi and Maryland might also consider legislation to allow electronic proof of coverage, according to PCI.