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A smarter insurance card

Progressive is working with lawmakers and industry groups to make electronic insurance cards legal

Imagine you’re sitting in your car on the side of the road. In your rearview mirror, you see the red and blue flashing lights of the state highway patrol. (OK, I’m sure this never happens to you … but bear with me.)

The trooper steps up and asks the obligatory “do you know how fast you were going?” He answers his own question by saying what he clocked you at. (Why even ask?)

Then he asks to see your insurance card.

It’s a question that, at one time, might have meant an anxious fumbling through the glove box to hopefully find that little paper card.

But this time, you simply show him your smartphone with your insurance ID aglow on the screen.

“Was I really going that fast?” you innocently reply.

He pauses and glares silently back at you for a few seconds (but it seems like 10 minutes). Then he says, “Remain in the vehicle. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Helping lead the charge to get electronic insurance ID adopted

Electronic insurance ID on your smartphone (commonly called e-card) is now “acceptable documentation” for cars, motorcycles and RVs in a growing number of states—39, to be exact, as of this writing.

Electronic insurance ID offers a lot of benefits. Not only does it make life easier for drivers, but it cuts costs for states and municipalities. It even cuts down on fraud, as electronic information from the insurer is harder to falsify.

Progressive has been at the forefront of the legislative efforts needed to make electronic insurance ID a reality. The company’s working with the Property and Casualty Insurers of America, an industry group often involved with legislative and regulatory matters.

“We’re all about making progress, so it’s natural for Progressive to help lead this effort,” said Chris Ziance, assistant general counsel with Progressive. “The big challenge is not really the technology, but the law. Insurance laws addressing insurance documentation are at the state level. So we have to literally go state-to-state, working with insurance regulators, departments of motor vehicles and legislators, to get some of those laws changed.”

We’re working on bringing it to your state

If you’re in one of the states where electronic insurance ID is accepted by law enforcement, you can access it on your smartphone through Progressive’s app or at progressive.com. (Once the law is changed in a particular state, there’s usually a short lag time before the app is updated.)

Says Chris: “We’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished. We’ve generally gotten a positive reception from the influencers we’ve worked with. I think we can look forward to the day when drivers everywhere have the option to ditch their ‘paper’ proof and just carry their smartphone.”

Meanwhile, back at the roadside …

“Your insurance is up to date and your driving record’s clean. So I’m going to let you off with a warning this time,” says the trooper.

You see your expression of relief reflected off the mirror-polish of his sunglasses.

“But keep it under the limit from now on, and be careful out there.”

“Yes sir,” you reply, as you slip your phone back into your pocket and drive, safely, away.