Coughlin Bill to Allow for Display of e-Car Insurance Gets Green Light from Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Craig Coughlin that would bring motor vehicle insurance requirements in line with 21st century technology was advanced by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

Specifically, the bill (A-3905) would allow operators of motor vehicles to provide proof of insurance electronically.

“Nowadays, nearly everything is being accepted in electronic format, from airplane boarding passes and concert tickets to more and more insurance companies now providing electronic copies of car insurance,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Making e-copies a valid form of proof of insurance is a natural and appropriate progression to make life more convenient for motorists. For families especially, where multiple people might share the same car, this should make life easier not having to worry about having a paper insurance card every time someone takes the car out.”

Under current law, an operator of a motor vehicle who is asked to provide proof of insurance may display to a police officer or judge only an insurance identification card in traditional, paper form. This bill would allow drivers to provide an insurance identification card in either paper or electronic form.

Under the bill, “electronic form” means the display of images on an electronic device, such as a cellular telephone, tablet, or computer, which must conform with the regulations prescribed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance.

The bill specifies that the use of an electronic device to display proof of insurance does not constitute consent for a police officer or judge to access any other contents on the device. Further, the bill provides that any police officer or judge presented with an electronic device pursuant to the bill’s provisions shall be immune from any liability resulting from damage to the device.

The measure was approved by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.