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When Pulled Over, Can You Use a Digital Form of Proof of Insurance?

One resident wonders if you can use a proof of insurance located on a smartphone when pulled over by a police officer.

A co-worker posed an interesting question to me the other day about proof of auto insurance. Would a digital copy of your proof of insurance be adequate if you get pulled over or are in an accident and you do not have your paper copy in the car?

Say for instance I forgot to put my latest proof of insurance in my vehicle, yet, when shopping for insurance prices recently, I realized I had a digital copy in my email that I had sent to the agent. Would the officer let me use my phone or iPad to open the email that contains the document and accept it as adequate proof, or would I still receive a ticket for not having the paper copy in the car?

Thank you,

Beth Stevenson

Chief Edward Harris: Ms. Stevenson, this is a very good question. However, I do not have a solid answer for you. I contacted a traffic expert with the Michigan State Police Legal Division, and the answer was that it appears to ultimately be up to the individual officer whether or not to accept a digital copy of an insurance certificate.

The motor vehicle code requires an insurance company to provide two (hard) copies of the insurance certificate to the vehicle owner. The motor vehicle code also requires a driver to produce “evidence” of insurance when requested. It appears that it would be up to an officer to determine whether a digital copy would satisfy the “evidence” requirement.

I would recommend that a hard copy of the proof of insurance be carried. Thank you.

If you have a question you'd like Chief Edward Harris to answer here, email AsktheChiefWhiteLake@gmail.com.

marydwelch June 07, 2011 at 05:06 AM
Companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for a number of years. look line for "Auto Insurance Clearance" on the web

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