See, while around 20 states are looking at legislation that would allow these electronic insurance cards to be used by drivers, the large majority of states have not yet given the go-ahead to flashing your phone to prove you have car insurance.
According to the folks at Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 11 states now have laws or regulations on the books that allow for electronic insurance cards to be used for both vehicle registration and when being pulled over by the police — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia, and Wyoming.
In Colorado, drivers can use the e-cards for registration, but will not for police pull-overs.
PCIAA says that the governors of Kansas and Indiana are expected to sign legislation in their states, while several other states — Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin — have pending legislation on the matter.
So while it seems like state governments and regulators are catching on to this technological advance in insurance cards, it never hurts to have your actual insurance card handy just in case.
“If a pig driving a convertible hands me a smartphone with his proof of insurance, I will accept it as legal,” a good-humored State Police officer in New Jersey, which does not yet accept e-cards, tells KYW News Radio. “Unfortunately, everybody else is going to be out of luck.”
There are some valid concerns about e-cards. For example, what privacy rights are you handing over when you allow someone — let alone a police officer — to look at your phone to view your insurance card? While some states have put limits on what can be viewed — Arizona, for example, specifically says that showing an e-card does not imply consent to view other items on a wireless device — many have no such language.
Regardless of whether your state allows for electronic insurance cards, you should probably have the paper version as a backup just in case something happens to your phone.
For those of you who actually want to look at that stupid GEICO pig, you can watch it on YouTube because I’m not embedding video of that thing until they do an ad where he’s turned into the tasty part of a BLT.