Across the country, many states are adopting laws allowing for drivers to show proof of auto insurance on their cell phone, computer, or tablet. The New Jersey Assembly was set to vote on the issue on December 15, 2014, but the bill was pulled from the agenda without explanation.
The proposed bill would allow drivers in New Jersey to prove they have auto insurance during traffic stops with an electronic device. This would allow motorists to drive without a paper copy of proof of coverage, but paper copies would still be permissible. The measure also stated that the use of an electronic format does not mean the user consents to a police search of the device.
Although thirty seven states allow state law enforcement officials to accept proof of auto insurance via electronic format, travelers are encouraged to keep a paper form in their car in case they cross into a state that does not accept an electronic proof of insurance. For example, although Delaware accepts proof of insurance in electronic format, New York, West Virginia, and New Jersey do not.
Many automobile insurance providers now offer a smartphone app that makes it extremely easy to pull up proof of insurance, even without entering a password. The move that states are making to allow drivers to show proof of insurance in electronic format shows that lawmakers are acknowledging the benefits of having insurance and other information electronically available to consumers. In 2011, no states allowed drivers to use their cell phone to show proof of insurance in a traffic stop. However, current enacted and proposed legislation shows a trend of states modernizing their insurance laws to keep up with technology.
It is unclear when the New Jersey Assembly will revisit the issue, or why the bill was pulled from the agenda.
PIB Law represents national banks, retailers, reinsurers, insurers, mortgage lenders and financial services companies from its offices in New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, San Antonio, and Chicago. For more information on reinsurance and insurance issues, contact PIB Law at 908-725-9700.