Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart is alerting drivers in Delaware that Delaware law-enforcement officials now accept proof of auto insurance (insurance ID card) in physical or electronic format. House Bill 258 w/HA 1 states that law-enforcement will now accept electronic proof of insurance on “a cellular phone or any type of portable electronic device.”
While this bill will make it easier for drivers in Delaware to prove that they have the proper insurance coverage Stewart recommends that drivers continue to keep a current physical copy of their insurance ID card in their vehicle at all times.
Stewart noted, “I applaud the Delaware legislature and Gov. Jack Markell for passing and enacting this legislation that will now allow for electronic proof of auto insurance. Delaware is now the 37th state to allow this proof of insurance coverage. However, I suggest that all drivers still keep a physical copy of their current insurance ID card in their vehicle in case your cell phone [or other portable electronic device] has a dead battery or can’t get a signal when you need to show your proof of coverage. Additionally, not all of the states in the region accept electronic proof of auto insurance, including New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. You don’t want to be caught without the proper proof of insurance when traveling.”
If an insurance company offers an app for a smartphone or tablet it is probably helpful to download the app. An app can usually make accessing the insurance ID card much easier than logging in to a website which may or may not be ‘mobile-friendly’. Apps often don’t require someone to log-in, whereas a website will usually require entering a username and password which someone might forget if they don’t access that site often. Ultimately, consumers should do what works best for them.
Two additional items in the bill, HB 258, should also be noted: First, the bill states that “Presentation of proof of insurance in electronic format shall not constitute consent for law enforcement, justice of the peace, or other state officials to access other contents of the cellular phone or other portable electronic device, and shall not expand or restrict authority to conduct a search or investigation.”
Additionally, the bill states, “Law enforcement officers, justice of the peace, and other state officials shall not be liable for any damage to a cellular phone or portable electronic device resulting from its use to present satisfactory proof of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage.”
To read the complete bill go to www.legis.delaware.gov, click on “Bill Tracking” and select “House Bill” and enter “258” in to the search field.
For more information about automobile insurance visit www.delawareinsurance.gov or call the Delaware Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 1-800-282-8611.