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Electronic Proof of Insurance Law Goes to Governor

The Michigan legislature recently approved a bill that would allow drivers to provide electronic proof of insurance at a traffic stop. The law would make it easier for drivers to stay up to date and avoid traffic citations.

On September 30, 2015, the Michigan House of Representatives approved House Bill 4193 for immediate effect. The bill modifies the state law requiring Michigan residents to carry proof of no-fault auto insurance. Once Governor Rick Snyder signs it into law, residents will be allowed to provide electronic proof of insurance using their smartphones.

Michigan requires all drivers to obtain no-fault auto insurance. Failing to do so is a criminal offense. To make sure drivers follow this law, police officers request proof of insurance at traffic stops. During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Michigan police wrote 110,000 tickets for “No Proof of Insurance.”

However, paper proofs of insurance pose many problems to both drivers and police. Often, a proof of insurance is out-of-date, even when the driver has renewed his or her policy. Other times, drivers without insurance can provide fake papers in an effort to fool the officer.

The new law attempts to address these problems while balancing officer safety, credibility, and motorists privacy. Here’s how it works.

  • Drivers can carry electronic proof of insurance and display it on their phones or tablets during a traffic stop.
  • Police officers requesting proof of insurance can only view the certificate and ask drivers to forward the information for verification.
  • A driver using a smartphone to display electronic proof of insurance does not consent to a search of the phone.
  • Once the information is forwarded, police can review the information from a safe location, such as inside their patrol cars to make sure the insurance is valid and accurate.
  • Drivers choosing to display electronic proof of insurance can’t sue if their smartphones are damaged or lost in the process of providing that proof.

Republican Rep. Aric Nesbitt, of Lawton, Michigan, introduced the bill earlier this year, telling M-Live:

“It’s time for us to move from the 1960s paper world into the electronics world. . . . So much of this, of our nation, of our economy, has moved into the computer world. It’s time to update some of our insurance laws here in the state.”

Electronic proof of insurance, particularly through auto insurance company mobile apps will also make it easier to properly document accidents, receive provider information from other drivers, and get timely compensation.

Drivers should beware that statements made in that initial report could be used to deny claims for injuries that don’t arise until later. The auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law can help car crash victims make the best use of their electronic auto insurance programs to protect themselves and their claims. The team can help file your claim and fight back against any denial of benefits. If you or someone you love has been in an auto accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.