Use Your Smartphone to Show Proof of Insurance

My parents have told me to always carry my automobile insurance card with me, but one of my friends told me that I really do not need to, and not to sweat it if I lose the card. I can always get another one, or I could show the police officer (or whomever) something on the internet. Who is right? Ashley, AZ

Actually, both your parents and your friend are correct. A handful of states allow automobile drivers to show proof of their auto insurance coverage via a mobile electronic device, such as a smartphone. Currently, those states include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, and (as of January 1, 2013), California.

Insurance companies may decide whether to provide policy holders in those states with paper insurance identification cards, or electronic versions.

The insurance companies that currently provide Andriod (or smartphone) based apps that allow you to access and show proof of your auto insurance policy include: AAA, Allstate Insurance Company, Esurance, Farmers Insurance Group, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, MetLife Inc, Nationwide, Progressive, Shelter Mutual Insurance, The General Insurance and USAA.

Since you indicate that you live in Arizona, electronic proof of your insurance is permitted. However, it may still be wise to heed your parent's advice. If traveling out of state, you may find yourself driving in a state that does not allow drivers to show proof of their automobile insurance coverage via their smart phone. Or, there may come a time when (gasp) you don't have your smart phone with you, or its battery is dead. In that case, a good old-fashioned paper backup would be good to have.

This article is approved for informational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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