Unless you’re one of few people who don’t own a smartphone, you no longer have to worry for not finding your proof of insurance card in Texas. Getting pulled over by a state trooper or local law enforcement can normally be a nerve rattling experience under any circumstance, made even more so, if you’ve ever been caught without your precious paper policy card showing you really do have auto insurance.
Convincing the trooper without proof can be a waste of time. No matter how many excuses you can come up with, he’s still going to cite you for the driving infraction he originally stopped you for, as well as your inability to show you can legally operate a vehicle on Texas highways.
However, thanks to legislation making Texas currently one of the 24 states in the U.S. to permit drivers to use their smartphones to display electronic proof, you now have it all at your fingertips. Although traffic stops will continue to function as they have previously, the new law merely allows the driver the options of presenting the paper version of their proof of insurance card or simply turning on their smartphone with the correct downloaded application software for their insurer, and displaying a digital version of the card upon request by a police officer.
This can greatly reduce tension for the motorist if he is unable to locate his card or has somehow neglected to switch the expired one with the new one. Word of caution: always inform the officer you’re reaching for your smartphone rather than make any unnecessary sudden movements that could create a dangerous situation for both of you.
By law, Texas drivers are required to carry auto insurance coverage at all times. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, drivers should carry as much coverage as possible, but the requirements are for only a set minimum of liability coverage. At present, those are:
• $30,000 per injured person
• $60,000 for everyone injured in an accident
• $25,000 for property damage
o This basic coverage is referred to as 30/60/25 coverage
Remember, this is for anyone with the intention to drive on Texas roads, including if you’re from out of state and just passing through. State law doesn’t require that drivers carry additional personal injury protection PIP) or, for that matter, any other kind of insurance coverage beyond the minimum. As always, the ultimate cost of auto insurance depends on a number of factors; therefore, coverage rates can vary a great deal from one insurer and driver to the next. That’s why you should consult an insurance agent to get a quote you can live with.
The reason stated by the Insurance Council of Texas for proposing the new policy card legislation, known as Senate Bill 181, passed during the 83rd legislative session, was to take an important step to bring Texas into the technological age in which smartphones have become an increasingly integral part of communication.
So, whether you’re old school and prefer to carry the paper proof of insurance card or would rather use your smartphone to provide electronic proof – don’t worry – either one will be accepted the next time you get pulled over by a state trooper or local police officer.
Have you ever been stopped without your proof of insurance card? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.