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There will be an app for your auto insurance

Do you frequently forget to put your proof of insurance in your car and/or your wallet? The Lege has provided a solution for you.

Thanks to a law passed during the 83rd legislative session, motorists will be able to pull up proof of insurance on their phones to show officers.

Lawmakers and insurance industry professionals say that Senate Bill 181 helps Texas keep up with the times.

“This bill just seemed like the common-sense thing to do,” said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, who co-authored the legislation. “It came to us through a recommendation and provided an opportunity to make use of technology to make life a little simpler for many Texas motorists.”

Traffic stops will occur the same as before, but instead of the driver handing the officer a paper copy of the insurance card, the officer can note the pertinent data off of the mobile device.

[...]

The impact of the new law on Texas drivers and law enforcement is convenience and efficiency, said Beaman Floyd, executive director of the Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions.

“If you are involved in a traffic stop, then you are going to be able to demonstrate what you are going to need to demonstrate faster,” Floyd said. “And that means that for law enforcement officers, it’s less time standing out there by the side of the road while you are searching through your glove box.”

Concerns were raised about the ease of counterfeiting an electronic insurance card, but it is just as easy to forge a paper copy, Floyd said.

Whether the insurance is presented on paper or electronically, the officer takes the information and runs it through a verification database.

“If somebody actually tried to counterfeit an electronic proof of insurance, they will be subject to that verification and they will still be caught,” Floyd said.

I wrote about this during the session when there were a couple of House bills to accomplish this working their way through the system. I lost track of it from there, thanks in part I’m sure to some of the more distracting issues that came up, so I’m glad to hear that a version of this passed. Speaking as someone who is one of those people that loses track of his proof of insurance card, I’ll be downloading an app for my smartphone as soon as I hear one is available from my insurance company.

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5 Comments

  1. Logan Ratner says:

    So, does it have to be an app? I’ve got a PDF copy of my insurance card in my phone right now. It’s produces an easily readable screen image.

  2. Logan – The bill text specifies “an image displayed on a wireless communication device that includes the information required”, so I take that to mean that your PDF copy is sufficient. (Standard disclaimer: I Am Not A Lawyer. I’m just guessing.) I presume that insurance companies will begin to provide apps, since that would be less hassle for the average user, and good branding for the insurance company.

  3. OTOH, potentially at least, who knows if this doesn’t give the gummint just another way to electronically track me?

  4. Robert says:

    I think Charles is right. Since this method of proof is likely to become more acceptable or widespread, auto insurers will be developing apps already. The free app notion will become a marketing tool to join the other gimmicks that insurers use to sell auto insurance policies.

  5. Anjo DMV says:

    This is great. I hope the apps doesn’t affect the price of your auto insurance. On the other hand, this will surely help drivers not get a violation. Kudos!

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