No paper required; digital car insurance proof law takes effect Thursday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Proof of insurance will no longer be required on paper during traffic stops and trips to the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

On Thursday, a new law allowing for digital proof of vehicle insurance on a wireless communication device will take effect in West Virginia.

Del. Steve Westfall (R-Jackson, 12)

“It’s exactly the same looking as a paper certificate. It’s the exact same thing. All the numbers are there, everything you need to get your license or to show the officer you do have insurance,” said Delegate Steve Westfall (R-Jackson, 12).

These days, many of the best auto insurance companies offer insurance documents through apps on mobile phones or other devices.

Westfall said such options are convenient for insured drivers who may misplace their paper documents.

“They’ve got to go to the magistrate’s office, they’ve got to show proof of insurance. It takes time out of their work schedule and it takes time for the local magistrates’ offices to dismiss these tickets,” Westfall said. “That will eliminate that problem.”

The Legislature approved SB 373 during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session.

More than 30 other states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky, have adopted similar state laws allowing for electronic proof of insurance. West Virginia is #35.

“Overall, this will ease the burden on consumers in West Virginia as well as the members of law enforcement. With this law going into effect it will reduce the strain on the court system and will be a direct benefit to our local magistrates,” Westfall said.

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