You’ve just been pulled over and now you are frantically searching your car for the insurance piece of paper. You have been telling yourself for weeks that you needed to take out that piece of paper from your apartment and put it into your car.  Or, someone else has been telling you.  The police officer walks up and you look up at him with disbelief. You can’t find your insurance card anywhere.

Lawmakers around the country are considering allowing you to use your smartphone and show the application or app from your insurance company in order to show your proof on insurance. It appears that there are already several insurance companies that have a similar app available.

What a great selling point and a way to make consumers interested in your company. Smartphone apps have helped in so many other areas as well. Why not use them to ensure you don’t get a ticket. Nothing can take the place of that piece of paper and who would solely want to rely on an app on a phone that could break down or be lost at anytime. But it should be viewed as a secondary option. 

Currently such a bill is being considered in California. Legislation is also looking at this in Arizona. The law would allow the consumer to show the app instead of forcing them to carry a hard copy of their insurance in their cars.

This isn’t only a good thing for those who have been pulled over for a driving violation. But exchanging information during an accident can be twice as fast and verification is that much easier.

Giving consumers the option of presenting proof via a smartphone gets rid of “one of the small hassles in life,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto, the author of the California bill, in a prepared statement.

It may not stop with proof of insurance. Other things like vehicle registration and other important documents.  This could help with ensuring drivers know when their registration expires and where they can go to update or renew registration. Others believe that an appointment, using an app, could help improve time at the DMV or when registering.

States like Arizona and California have so far allowed police to write a citation if a driver is unable to present the necessary documents.  Granted, for the most part, these citations are thrown out if they can prove they indeed have the necessary items.

Opponents try to point out that having a hard copy is far safer and is far less likely to be a fake. Apps can easily be manipulated.  But insurance companies are not buying it.

One such opponent tried to point out that it could turn into a slippery slope, where would we stop.   Would we make driver’s licences on an app that could be called up at any time?

The funny thing is that Rep. Jeff Dial of Arizona has also introduced a bill that would, if passed, allow for all the documentation required, including driver’s licences to be electronic. Arguments for becoming  paperless and improving the ease where things are stored and available are at center stage.

He does admit that this may be a little to early to set this into motion. Electronic licenses are not currently available but the technology is there.

Overall, either driver’s licences, proof of insurance, or vehicle registration has been lost or misplaced in almost every household where someone drives. This is not an uncommon thing. It would be very helpful to have this available in a pinch. I doubt we will go entirely without hard copies. It would end up being a choice for the consumer. If you didn’t want it, you could choose to go without.

In my opinnion, a rather neat concept.

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