Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart is alerting drivers in Delaware that as of June 25, 2014, state law enforcement officials can accept proof of auto insurance (insurance ID card) in either physical or electronic format.
Delaware House Bill 258 w/HA 1, which was signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday, states that law-enforcement will 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, Commissioner Stewart recommends that drivers continue to keep a current physical copy of their insurance ID card in their vehicle at all times.
“I applaud the Delaware legislature and Gov. Markell for passing and enacting this legislation that will now allow for electronic proof of auto insurance,” Commissioner Stewart said.
Commissioner Stewart said Delaware is now the 37th state to allow this proof of insurance coverage. “However,” she added, “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,” Commissioner Stewart said.
If the insured’s insurance company offers an app for the smartphone or tablet, it is probably helpful to download the app, Commissioner Stewart said. An app can usually make accessing one’s insurance ID card much easier than logging in to a website which may or may not be mobile-friendly, she said. Apps often don’t require the user to log-in, whereas a website will usually require the user to enter the username and password.
Two additional items in the bill (HB 258) should also be noted, the commissioner said. 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.”
Commissioner Stewart added, “I’m very pleased that the state legislature inserted language in to this bill to protect the privacy of consumers.”