These days you can transfer and receive thousands of dollars by online banking, order a car to be delivered to front door or pick grocery. These are only few samples of personal transactions that have been digitized. Postal systems are facing near bankruptcy due to e-mail deliveries. It is therefore not surprising to see that state authorities are moving to digital checking or proof of car insurance, rather than printed version.
It is about time considering the fact that policies can now be applied for, paid and bought, by purely electronic means, with little or no need for printing. Carrying a piece of paper is becoming redundant and an unnecessary inconvenience for the smartphone-toting, Internet-connected generation.
What Are e-cards?
They are digitized proof of insurance and can be stored electronically and displayed on a cell phone, laptop, or any other digital device with storage and display capabilities. Now, this is the official way of proving that you have coverage in majority of the states. Many others quickly followed the pioneering states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, and Minnesota. Most major and regional carriers issue them.
How Do Digital Proofs Work?
In the old days (even the 1990’s are ‘old days’ in today’s fast changing world), authorities have issued exact specifications regarding what format the policyholders’ proof of vehicle insurance must be. Companies were legally required to supply them on paper in the exact format.
The old way of doing things was radically changed when Colorado became the pioneer state allowing drivers to use laptops and other devices to show this when asked. It was quickly apparent that there was no need to insist on one way of doing it. Now, it takes only a minute to check a car’s insurance status anyway that they don’t really have to rely on motorists providing anything anymore.
Insurers that make use of e-cards usually provide an app, which is used to view policy information. The link is dynamic and always updated, and this of course requires Internet connection. But the schedule page can be stored and retrieved offline.
Advantages of e-cards
As described above, they are very portable and could be accessed easily from a cell phone. There is no need to carry a paper proof, which is prone to be lost or misplaced. Also this information is always up to date since it is live and synced.
Policyholders also tend to leave this piece of paper at homes, only to rummage glove compartment frantically and unsuccessfully at the time they are pulled over. In contrast, it is nowadays unimaginable not to carry a cell phone at all times. This is an advantage even when using a rental car.
Despite the advantages, authorities are still having second thoughts about the technology. For example, they are raising the issue of liability when an officer accidentally damages the phone, or when online data is needed but there is bad connection.
Notwithstanding these concerns, it seems e-cards are the way to go. Considering that people are used to getting quotes, registering and paying online it is only natural that they wouldn’t feel the need to print anything. Actually, they don’t even need to download anymore since they can access their accounts anytime, make changes or submit claims.