Senate Bill 1040 (SB 1040), a new Pennsylvania statute in the works, may profoundly change how drivers receive auto insurance coverage throughout the state. SB 1040 has been receiving growing support among the state’s lawmakers, and if approved, will enable Pennsylvania drivers to receive their proof of auto insurance electronically.
The legislation would allow insurance companies to deliver financial responsibility cards electronically, enabling drivers to display proof of insurance from their mobile devices – as long as both the insurance carrier and driver agree to the arrangement. Pennsylvania follows a nationwide trend – as of this writing, a total of 29 states have adopted e-card laws and/or regulations that permit drivers to display evidence of insurance coverage with their smart phone during a traffic stop.
According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the 29 states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Deductible policies may go the way of dinosaurs
In addition to allowing drivers to receive their proof of auto insurance electronically, the law will also make it possible for drivers to sign up for collision coverage – without a minimum deductible. At the present time, state law requires that all drivers have coverage with a minimum $100 deductible in order to cope with the costs related to collision coverage.
Legislation attracts strong support
If signed into law, the requirements of the bill will be applied within 60 days, but will not affect insurance policies until they are up for renewal with their carrier. Thanks to the support of various auto insurance companies, the bill is expected to sail through without the usual long, drawn-out debates.
Stiff Penalties for Losing Insurance Coverage
Like all other states, Pennsylvania law requires all Pennsylvania motor vehicle owners to maintain vehicle liability insurance on a currently registered vehicle. To be in compliance you must have liability insurance in the following amounts:
- $15,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
- $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
- $5,000 for damage to property of another person
Failure to carry liability insurance could result in the following penalties:
- A minimum of $300 fine for driving uninsured
- A three-month suspension of your vehicle registration
- A three-month suspension of your driver’s license
- $50 restoration fee to restore your vehicle registration
- $50 restoration fee to restore your driver’s license
- That vehicle may not be driven by anyone while the registration is suspended
Note: If you don’t currently have insurance and surrender your registration plate immediately, nothing happens. Otherwise, a lapse of insurance coverage results in the suspension of your vehicle registration privilege for three months, unless:
- the lapse of insurance was for a period of less than 31 days and,
- the owner or registrant proves to PennDOT that the vehicle was not operated during this short lapse in coverage.
The adoption of SB 1040 will help motorists have ready access to important insurance information when needed.
Have you used a digital automobile insurance card at a traffic stop? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!