It's In The Cards: Why You Still Need Paper Insurance Cards

If you're thinking of making the move to electronic insurance cards that live on your smartphone instead of in your wallet, think again. Yes, the electronic cards have some definite advantages, but they also have enough disadvantages that you really do have to keep the paper cards around. Here's a look at why paper still rules.

State Laws

Your state might be considering allowing electronic insurance cards, but that doesn't mean you can start using your phone to prove you have auto insurance. And even if your state is one of the ones that allows the use of smartphone insurance cards, the surrounding states might not allow it. That means you need the paper card to legally drive in those states, such as when you go on a road trip.

You can receive heavy fines for not having acceptable proof of insurance. "My state allows electronic cards" isn't a good enough excuse to let you avoid fines. Even if you're in electronic-card heaven, have paper copies stored away as back-ups. Then you'll be able to drive anywhere without worrying that you've violated the laws regarding proof of insurance.

Phone Faults

Even if your state and every state around you accept the use of smartphone insurance cards, your phone isn't infallible, and neither are you. You could lose your phone, it could malfunction, or your battery could run out while you're on the road. Or you could accidentally delete the card, and that would mean you'd have to wait for your insurance company to send you a copy. That wouldn't always be instantaneous, especially on weekends. The result, if you couldn't get a copy immediately, could involve those fines.

Keeping Close

Your insurance company will send you one to two cards when you renew your insurance. Keep one in the glove compartment of your car. That's usually easier to reach than one of your pockets, should you be stopped and asked for proof of insurance.

But keep another copy in your wallet. If your car is being repaired after an accident, for example, you're not going to be able to reach the card in the car, and you'll need a copy with you in case you have to show it to repair personnel or law enforcement.

If you'd like to discuss electronic and paper cards with your insurance agency (such as Clase Agencies Inc.), give your agent a call. You can also get extra cards and adjust your policy to fit your current life.